By George Bowers
As our new sanctuary at Antioch nears completion, the attention of the contractors turns to the renovation of the older building. Part of this involves converting an office, nursery, and bathrooms into a new kitchen! That's the exciting part. The less exciting part is that when tests were conducted last fall, asbestos was found in the drywall compound that had been used years ago.
Previous generations considered asbestos not only a versatile and beneficial building material, but very safe as well. Research since then indicates its connection to certain types of cancer, which necessitates elaborate (and expensive) removal techniques. What they thought was good has turned out to be toxic. Asbestos wasn't best.
So, too, we sometimes unknowingly input items into our lives that harm us spiritually. At the time, we may even consider them to be beneficial. Entertainment, images, substances, and habits that destroy us and that are detestable to God are readily available in our society today and we frequently incorporate these without even thinking, only to see problems develop from them later.
Twenty seven hundred years ago in Jerusalem, the priests and Levites found many harmful things in God's temple that didn't belong there, including idols. They immediately removed these items and threw them into their landfill, the Kidron Valley. This was necessary to prepare the temple for proper worship.
These items were removed because, like asbestos which causes physical illness, they caused serious spiritual disease that would lead to eternal death. Their complete and total removal was necessary to restore worship that was pleasing to God and healthy for his people.
Paul tells us in the New Testament that the body of every Christian is a temple for God and that as such; it is our responsibility to keep ourselves pure and holy.
We must be careful not to carry anything into the temples of our lives or bodies that dishonors God, and to remove anything that is already present that is doing so. If we could somehow realize that the spiritual consequences of such sinful impurities are even more serious and deadly than the physical ones caused by asbestos, we would be quick to completely remove them and dispose of such toxic garbage.
Let's invite the Lord to test all the aspects of our lives for any such items and to help us remove them as well.
See you at Kidron, George
George Bowers is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, "Wit and Wisdom of the Woods." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.