As you read through the final chapters of Exodus, you will find God’s very particular blue print for His worship place. From the material, design, usage, accents and construction — each aspect of the Holy dwelling was unique and intricate. After reading such detailed instructions, you might say, “Geez, God! You have pretty picky expectations!”
We are the New Testament Temple, and I want to say that God is just as picky about you (His chosen one) today as He was about His chosen people back then. You are His worship place; He dwells in you, and He has a plan for the temple He has given you.
If you daily seek God, you will find that He will give you detailed instructions. Some instructions are lasting, some are seasonal and some are for the moment; but He has a design, a purpose and a bunch of awe-inspiring accents that He wants to carve into your life. But, you have to be obedient and let Him wield the hammer.
In my life, God has given me finite laws that go beyond the 10 Commandments. The 10 commandments are the basic moral foundation for all humanity; however, God’s children have very explicit commandments. These laws shape our temples and make us a unique and fruitful creation fashioned by God: “A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree” (Proverbs 11.28 MSG).
I’ve come to realize that a God-shaped life is a very disciplined life. I have a list of things that I can’t do. I sacrifice those things for God because I know that He has amazing blessings for me that far outweigh what I have given up for Him. I also have a list of things that I must do, but I have found joy that is not based on my circumstances. I now enjoy doing tasks that I once deemed as boring, difficult or trivial. I trust God, and I want Him to mold me; otherwise, I’ll be molded by the world or the insignificance of my own understanding.
So my encouragement to you when God tells you to give up something or to do something is that there is a purpose. God has a plan, and He has to make a particular pattern in your life because He is creating your temple to hold the beauty and power of His glory. And realize that your pattern will be different from other people; but don’t worry, they’re getting shaped in other ways.
Do you want your life to be filled with God’s glory? Do you want to be more than a stubby “stump” stuck in the trappings of this world? Then forget about what everyone else is doing and live within the parameters that God has tailored to your life. Stay focused on how the Holy Spirit is leading you this day and stay obedient to where He is directing the fullness of your life. Walk in discipline; and at the end of your days on earth, your life will be a gorgeous, fruit-filled tree.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12.11 NIV).