Do you rent your home or own it? Are you a tenant or landlord? Though there are benefits of both, the difference between the two becomes increasingly obvious.
Searching for great tenants is a skill developed over time. Try as we might, we don’t always acquire tenants that value our property as much as we hope. We’ve repaired fixtures, removed left-behind garbage and paid bills accumulated by others,
Fortunately, many people consider tenancy a privilege. They view it with respect, thoughtfully taking care of everything. These folks are the gems we usually come to view as friends.
Tenant or Landlord
Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth of this important principle. He admonishes them to consider carefully their position as tenants, because a new Landlord had taken possession of their lives.
“Have you forgotten that your body is the sacred temple of the Spirit of holiness, who lives in you. You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary? You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Another version asks, “Do you not know?” Good question! Do I fully comprehend this truth? The word “know” includes “to perceive, be aware of, understand, remember and appreciate.”
Reading these verses again, I gained a new appreciation and understanding of their meaning.
Rights of Ownership
People often declare, “It’s my body! I’ll do what I want with it!”
Such statements verify that we’ve forgotten, failing to appreciate and recognize the complete ownership God has over us — not just the spiritual us, but ALL of us?
“Have you forgotten that your body is the sacred temple of the Spirit of holiness, who lives in you.“
1 Corinthians 6:19
Honestly, I’m no different from the Corinthians believers. I quickly forget that every part of who I am belongs to God. Too often, I stubbornly push for rights of ownership even after I have relinquished the deeds.
Attitude and actions reveal whether I live like a tenant or landlord in God’s house.
God has been challenging me over the last several months to value this body, His temple. Only by grace am I allowed to live in it. God desires that I value it as much as I want tenants to appreciate the home we lease to them.
For me, this boils down to daily struggles, like taking exercise breaks between writing spurts or ensuring I get adequate rest while juggling a busy schedule and shift work. When the temple of our bodies wear out or break down, God doesn’t provide a substitute. This is it, folks!
I don’t battle addictions or major issues, but God has led me to recognize my sweet cravings and to fast from sugars. I’ve gained increasing awareness of healthy eating choices. Though I might forget, He remembers I am spirit, soul, and body — one complete unit.
You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary?“
1 Corinthians 6:19
I hope to be here for the long haul. There is so much more I would like to accomplish for God. Every day of this life is a gift from Him — precious and valuable.
Time and Talents
God always invest wisely! He didn’t consider any of us “junk!” He paid the highest price, an unbelievably enormous price, to purchase us for Himself.
“You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God.”
1 Corinthians 6:20
We could never pay Him back for all He has done. Yet, when I experientially “know” and remember His ownership of every aspect of my life, I am able, if in a limited way, to “bring glory to” Him.
The things I consume, invest in, absorb or spend time on suddenly contain new purpose. When I know, really know, my Landlord, life holds increased potential and greater fulfillment.
Do I treat God like a tenant or Landlord within me? The answer to that question affects everything!
Set Apart for God
Earlier, Paul wrote,
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
We may falsely believe we get away with mistreating these jars of clay behind the priming and pampering, but God knows us better than we know ourselves. He calls our bodies “sacred” — set apart for Him alone. We are exclusively His.
There is comfort in being “exclusively His.” The landlord, not the tenant, pays the highest price for mortgage, taxes, upkeep, and improvements. The tenant enjoys the benefit of the landlord’s investment, living securely within.
If my tenants destroy the building they lease, I have to send them a hefty bill to cover the costs. Why would I think God would do any less with what He values highly?
The choice is mine! Will I consider God a tenant or landlord, recognizing the blessing of relinquished ownership?
It is All His
Rather than being harsh, Paul invites us to discover the peace of resting and knowing that everything belongs to God. If I follow Paul’s example and willingly surrender the keys to God, the worry vanishes. Joy replaces struggle.
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Psalm 100 1-5
Take heart! We have a wonderful Landlord.