—by Dr Siva Moodley
When the Apostle Paul travelled to Greece, he encountered the Corinthians (Greeks), who loved to worship their “gods” by lavishing them with expensive offerings upon the specially-built altars. Their altars, shrines, and temples were tall buildings made by the hands of men, richly decorated with exquisite designs, tall statues, engraved ceilings, marble columns, granite floors, hand-carved woodwork, gold, silver, and with burning incense filling the air. This was not a holy place, but a place of fornication, adultery, idolaters, extortionists, and the like.
We are God’s workmanship
In Ephesians 2:10, however, the Apostle Paul teaches us that we are God’s workmanship. We are His temple and His home. God is our architect and builder. We are not made with man’s hands, but by His. He is not a dead god, but the only living God. Because He lives in us, our lives have been transformed by Him. He has given us life in place of death; salvation in place of sin; healing in place of sickness and disease; and He has turned our darkness into light. His Presence in our lives brings renewed, restored, and beautiful worship unto Him. Our lives transform into an altar of incense to God when we offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him. Our worship and surrender now become the incense that rises into the nostrils of God that pleases Him. And when God is pleased, He descends upon us, releasing the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon us, as well as developing the fruit of the Holy Spirit within us.
Examples from scripture
As Moses was given specific instructions to burn incense daily upon the altar in the Tabernacle as a symbol of continuous prayer rising up to God – God wants our lives to be a sweet-smelling incense of continuous prayer before Him. Psalm 141:2 says, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
Even before the throne of God, Revelation 5:8 says, “And when He had taken the book, the 4 beasts and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.”
And, Revelation 8:3-4 says, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
What a glorious sight!
Nothing pleases God more as a Father than when we, His children, lay our lives down on His Holy altar in total surrender. When we surrender we die to ourselves, die to our will, die to our desires, and allow Him to live in us.
A covenant-keeping God
God loves it also when we worship Him with all our heart, mind, and strength. He is a covenant-making and a covenant-keeping God. His covenant (made with His own blood) is established in us when we worship Him. This is a God who desires to have a relationship with us and who wants to be the “I am who I am” to us – the Father, the Provider, the Protector, the Deliverer, the Redeemer, the Healer, the Shepherd, and so much more. Our God is a giver of good and perfect gifts to all who are in covenant with Him.
Wordly fake gods
Those who don’t know the God of Heaven (as these Greeks) worship a dead “god” with many vain repetitions and earthly riches offered on altars to “gods” who desire profanity and the defilement of their bodies, fulfilling the lusts and the desires of the flesh. They have no covenant with “their god,” only slavery to sin. Their reward is the destruction of their soul and eternal damnation.
Paul warned us
The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19 cautions us by saying, “What? Know ye not that ye are the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which you have of God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price, therefore you must glorify God with your body as well as with your spirit.”
We are not our own – we are His
God does not want us to be ignorant of the wiles of the devil, but to be spiritually educated, wise, and alert. For as long as we remain dead to sin on the altar, we are alive in Christ. Our bodies now become that altar of worship and prayer.
Siva Moodley is a pastor and author. Visit sivamoodley.com for info on daily TV programmes, upcoming conferences, prayer requests, bookshop details, and more.
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