Herald Journal Columns
Dec. 8, 2003 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Take time to cleanse your temples from idols in your life

By Rev. Daniel Runke, Albion Evangelical Free Church, Cokato

Happy Hanukkah

The 19th of December the eight-day Jewish holiday called Hanukkah will begin. The New Testament calls it the "Feast of Dedication" (John 10:22).

It began in 164 BC and commemorates the cleansing of the Jewish Temple by Judas Maccabee. The temple had been defiled by Antiochus IV when he set up in the temple a statue of Jupiter and sacrificed a pig on its altar. That was the supreme insult, referred to as the abomination of desolation in Daniel 11:31.

Those were difficult days. There was a law prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion. That came about as a result of many years of secularization before Antiochus IV even came to power.

Slowly, over time, the Jews had tried to mix more of the Greek culture and its pursuit of pleasure into the Jewish faith. The worship and honoring of God was considered secondary.

Along comes Judas Maccabee considered a hero by Jews, because he refused to go along with the prevailing culture. Instead, at the risk of his life, he resumed the sacrificial system and the worship of God as primary.

It seems our culture is going through its own secularization. The pursuit of pleasure has made the honoring and worshiping of God as secondary or not at all. Advertisers gear their appeals to our pursuit of pleasure.

This secularization of culture has affected the church. Many of us struggle with putting God first in our lives.

Sunday worship is no longer considered important or necessary contrary to the command of Scripture (Hebrews 10:23-25). The secularization of our culture has also led to the break-up of the family and a general lack of morals.

What is needed today is a re-cleansing of the temple. The temple I am referring to is our body. The Bible says our bodies is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Idols that maybe in our temple are seldom wood or metal statues. Idols are anything that we place our supreme affections in other than God (Matthew 22:37-38). Idols come in different shapes for different folks.

This recleansing, the giving of our supreme affection and love to God, must be done daily, by presenting our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2).

The Apostle Paul urges us to do this because of God's mercy. God will help us, but He won't help us do something we don't want to do.

Why not wish God a Merry Christmas by giving Him a present this year and offer your body as holy and living sacrifice today?

Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

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