It is said that cleanliness is next to godliness. That statement is biblically incorrect. Cleanliness has no correlation to godliness. Are there not countless number of people who observe marvellous standards of cleanliness and personal hygeine but are far from godliness-holiness-as used in Scripture? Now, though that statement has no biblical truth in it, I wish to carefully draw an analogy from it to point to how to keep the temple of God–our body. Indeed, if we are believers, we must strive to live lives of excellence which might include personal hygiene and cleanliness of our environment. At least, in the sense that, if the earth belongs to our God and all that dwell in it, we must be stewards of it.
I remember when we were moving from a previous accommodation, the landlord came in to inspect the state of his facilities. He was grateful and thanked us for keeping his facilities clean. He said “most tenants when they leave a facility leave it in a worse and deplorable state”. You see, when we first moved into that property, to us, that was going to be our home for the period of our tenancy agreement, so we kept it as we will keep our own. We vowed to be good stewards of another man’s property.
I believe keeping our environment tidy, is paramount to many people. In fact, many of us practice a level of cleanliness in our homes, offices and environment. We sweep compounds. We mop floors. We remove cobwebs etc. This is because we reside in there. When receiving visitors, a thorough cleaning is done.
Now, imagine the President of the land is paying you a visit in your home.
God tells believers our body is His sanctuary. It is His temple. It is His dwelling place. When we become born again, when the Holy Spirit regenerates our hearts and quickens our mortal body, He takes residence in us. What this means is that God owns us. We belong to Him. He has control over our body. The huge edifices, cathedrals and temples put up by “human hands” are not God’s dwelling; our body is, through the Holy Spirit and the word “: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man” (Acts 17:24).
If our body belongs to God and His Spirit dwells in us, then God calls us to holiness: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”(1Thessalonians 4:3). God calls us to moral cleanliness and purity. He commands us not to defile His temple which is our body. If we will take pains to clean our homes and environment, then we must, as a command make our body a worthy dwelling place for God. Not necessarily in personal hygiene(though it matters), but in purity and holiness.
Our body is not ours but God’s, He must be glorified in us.
For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body(1Corinthians 6:20).