Den of Thieves – Who is Responsible for the Thievery?
Why am I not experiencing joy? Why am I not at peace? Why do I not feel an overflow of love?
Have you ever asked these questions? I know I have. I think often times we are responsible for robbing ourselves from experiencing these gifts of God, these fruits of the Spirit. In Jeremiah 7:8-11, we see the prophet Jeremiah warning the people of Israel not to be fooled into thinking they will be ok just because they are in the Lord’s Temple.
8 “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Although this is a very stern warning, let’s look how this just might apply to our lives.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19, we find out that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Yes, WE in fact have the indwelling Spirit of God. Wow! What an honor! Understanding this amazing truth, let’s look at this Scripture from Jerimiah through this lens. Re-read the above scripture and let’s gain some perspective.
If our bodies are the Temple of God, why in the world would we expect to experience the best parts of life (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.), if we are not living a life that walks in the truth of God. Verse 11 really sticks out to me: “Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves?” That’s intense! Den of thieves! I wonder if we ourselves, Temples of the Holy Spirit, become a den of thieves. Do we rob ourselves from the gifts God wants to lavish on us because we are too consumed in our own worlds? We may not do something as extreme as murder, adultery, or worship false gods, but when we only live our lives with ourselves in mind and don’t live as if God is within us, we miss out on life itself.
Jesus did everything He could to show us that life is sweeter, abundant, fulfilling, captivating, exciting, harder, and yet easier, when we don’t put ourselves at the top of the priority list. Let us not go through life thinking, “Well I am fine and dandy because I am a temple of God. Everything will be ok and I can go on living how I want, with me at the top.” This will surely rob us from experiencing the life God has for us, true life. We will become a den of thieves and be solely responsible for the thievery. May we strive to live as Christ lived and experience the life He desires for us.