Does God prefer to work through one person over another? Does He get frustrated with us because our “temple,” or body is not a fit place for His Holy Spirit to dwell?
In prayer one day I asked God that question. I felt He answered it with a question. He’s good at that. Given the choice which vehicle in this scenario would you rather drive? The story kinda makes me think God has cadillac dreams for us.
Let’s say you have to drive over 2,000 miles on a road trip for your business. When you come to pick up the company vehicle there are only two left. One is a 2012 Cadillac Escalade fully equipped luxury utility vehicle in beautiful condition. The other is a 2012 Cadillac DeVille that has been driven hard and not well maintained.
The Escalade is really more than you need for the trip, but it is gorgeous and fully equipped with heated and cooled front seats. That would perfect because it’s summer and California is where you are headed. The stellar navigation system would make travel in an unfamiliar place much easier. It has very few miles on it compared to the DeVille.
The Escalade’s only been driven on in-town trips that include several people. The DeVille has seen it’s better days. Even though it’s the same year as the Escalade, it has over 200,000 miles, numerous dents, dings and chips and an air conditioner that works sometimes. This is the car driven every day for many trips both long and short. It is always on the road.
It seems the company has let this car go. No maintenance has been done on it in the last year. Seats have some tears and the engine has an interesting sound when you turn the key. You’ve heard talk the car will soon be traded in. The company is just letting it limp by for now.
Which car do you take on your trip? You like Cadillacs so both would fill the bill.
“Of course, I would take the Escalade,” I told God.
He answered, “As would I.” Immediately I understood the answer. It’s not out of frustration the choice of the Escalade was made. It was merely because it would for sure get the job done. It was maintained and ready to go. It had fewer miles. It had more features.
If we do not properly take care of our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, why would God entrust us with any kind of assignment that takes going the distance?
Several years ago I read Gracia Burnham’s In The Presence of Mine Enemies. She and her husband, both New Tribes missionaries to the Philippines, were captured by rebels. They were drug through the jungle for over a year. Martin died in the midst of their rescue attempt.
Their camps consisted of the hard ground with a rock for a pillow. Food was any edible leaf, bark or fruit they could find. They went hungry for days. Their story was in the news for the duration of their ordeal. They were well known for the kindness, mercy and grace they showed to their captors.
I read this story when I weighed 430 pounds. I realized that if that had been me, I wouldn’t have made it the first day.
I knew after reading that book, why God could not choose me for any assignment in my current condition. If in the midst of a God-assignment I had to face some great physical challenge, I wouldn’t make it. God wouldn’t place me in that kind of situation.
I was overweight, tired, fatigued. My brain was foggy. Most of the time it felt like a blanket had been thrown over it smothering out sounds, ideas and instruction I couldn’t hear. I had not taken care of my body.
God preferred to drive well-cared for Escalades. I was the DeVille with way too many hard miles, dents, tears and misuse. It felt as if the time was drawing near when this body would need to be traded in for the heavenly version.
In Corinthians, Paul says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you and Who gave you your body. “You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So must honor God with your body.”1
In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says, “Paul said, ‘I beseech you . . . that you present your bodies a living sacrifice . . ..’2 What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple. Once I agree, all the rules, regulations, and requirements of the law concerning the body are summed up for me in this revealed truth-my body is ‘the temple of the Holy Spirit.’”
In another place, Chambers adds, “Have we come to realize that our ‘body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?’ If so, we must be careful to keep it undefiled for Him.”
The question then becomes what am I doing that defiles His temple? What am I doing that precludes me from being useful for service in the kingdom?
For years I knew my body size made me unusable for many things.
I couldn’t get down on the floor with the four-year-old Sunday School class.
I couldn’t sit in a chair and read to my daughter’s fourth grade class because there was no chair there I would fit in.
I couldn’t walk any distance therefore I couldn’t go on mission trips because I would be afraid of holding people back.
I couldn’t stand and speak for an hour in front of people because my legs would not hold my body up that long.
I couldn’t focus on writing books for long periods of time because my brain would fall asleep.
I couldn’t do much else than keep body and soul together because I had no energy. Every ounce of energy went to keep my body working at a minimal level. That meant there was no energy left over to fuel my dreams. And so I stopped dreaming.
What about you? In what shape are you keeping your temple? Some of you are working on getting your temple in order. Others have a ways to go and still others need to start. Most of you know what to do, it’s just deciding to do it. Maybe it’s having someone to hold you accountable, mentor you, encourage you, inspire you.
Since losing 250 pounds, I have several resources that may help you on your journey. If you’ve not read Sweet Grace and gone through the companion workbook, Sweet Grace Study Guide, be sure to hop over to Amazon and pick up a copy.This is the memoir which tells my journey. The workbook gives you lots of how-tos.
July 1 starts our first Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching and Accountability Group. This is a monthly ongoing group, where I mentor you through the weight loss process. It gives you a safe place to ask the tough questions and hear the answers that just may get you through. You may begin at any time, but what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to sign up with the first group.
I would love for you to connect with me on my Facebook page where I post tips, encouragement and inspiration for your healthy living journey.
You only do what you believe you can. Begin dreaming you are the Escalade, not the DeVille.
In your Cadillac dream, what specifically are you doing as an “Escalade” that you can’t do now? What does your dream shape look like? What are doing in your dream?
11 Cor. 6:19-20
2 Romans 12:1-2
Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching & Accountability Group is Teresa Shields Parker’ new group on living healthy through a total renovation of body, soul and spirit. Teresa chronicles her journey in the memoir, Sweet Grace, and the practical application workbook, Sweet Grace Study Guide. Get a free chapter of her memoir at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.