Or do you not know that your body is a temple [a sanctuary] of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
–I Corinthians 6:19 NASB95
Having studied architecture during my first two years of university, I have always been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. The spaces he created still evoke emotion. His designs were purposeful without being sparse or brutal. There is a calm warmth that invades my soul whenever I see a “Wright House.”
I can’t imagine FLW designing a football stadium—but one of his students did. Back in the early ’50s, Edward L. Varney designed the football stadium for the ASU Sun Devils. Though not exactly a beacon of calm, a football stadium evokes emotion, too. Here in Alabama, a LOT of emotion! The overwhelming din of the cheering crowd is felt in the body as much as heard by the ear.
Well-planned spaces arouse emotion. Have you ever thought of yourself as one of God’s “well-planned spaces” in this world? What emotion is aroused in you as you ponder His Holy Spirit taking sanctuary in you? And more importantly, what kind of space do you want to make for the Holy Spirit living in you?
I don’t think there’s one correct answer to that question. It could range from the calm warmth of a cold evening spent by a fire, to a rip-roaring, boot-stomping, edge-of-your-seat exciting place—with endless possibilities in between. I think that the essential question is, “What is the Holy Spirit up to in me right now? And what kind of space does that necessitate?”
Now the tricky part . . . “Do you not know . . . that you are not your own?” We all tend to create spaces around us that suit our tastes, meant to facilitate our own use. We create them so that they serve us well. But creating space for the Holy Spirit is different, qualitatively different, than that. Inside our hearts and minds, we’re creating space to recognize, listen to, receive from, and join with the Holy Spirit. It’s not the physical labor of building a house or a football stadium, but it is hard work. The work we must do is the short-term setting aside of our own tastes, intentions, desires, and strategies for making this life work for us, in view of the long-term work of the Spirit to form us into the image of Christ.
ACTION: Take some time today to think about your own “body-space” the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. What do you need to set aside in order to make room for the Spirit’s work inside you? Through you? With you?