The Lord’s House – Part 1
We read in Ephesians 2:22 that we are being built together to be a habitation, a dwelling place, of God in the Spirit. His goal is for us to become a house for Him to stay in. We would be a welcoming place for Him all our days. Over the years this thought, this desire of the Lord, has been mentioned and expanded upon in pictures to clarify and emphasize it for us. As we press toward the unity of faith, toward being the fully mature new man (Eph 4), we hear again Jesus’ prayer that we would be one as He and the Father are one. How seemingly impossible, but with God, this is not only possible but an aspect of His ultimate desire and will. It will be accomplished.
He has called us to participate with Him in the building. First, we submit to His working on and in us. We are His workmanship, created for good works, which He planned beforehand that we should walk in them. What an awesome thought. Before the foundation of the earth, He called us to walk with Christ to fulfill His desire to have this dwelling place. We are being built together into a dwelling place of God by the Spirit. We grow in our identification with Christ, as a temple of the Holy Spirit. No institution can represent this. We do organize ministries and churches. Administration is a necessary part of our functioning. We look to keep that in the background.
Recently, a brother I met for the first time responded to a comment I made saying, we need structure. True. The human body has structure but the skeleton is on the inside. If we see the bones protruding we know something is not right. The flesh, living tissue should be healthy so that the body is seen. Too much structure and we are distracted from the face and getting to know the person. When we see that sort of thing, let’s not get critical, let’s pray for more flesh to cover the bones. Pray for the spiritual health of the place.
I am more and more unsure, uncertain how to proceed in this regard. The Lord never intended to build any organization. We all get frustrated at such a statement but it is absolutely certain. It does not mean we should never own a building or put a name on it. But we must never become attached to it. We have not here a lasting city. Organizations built by humans are like humans. The grass withers, the flower fades and we need to move on. I have participated in churches, a bible school, and Christian academic schools. They all have a temporary place in our lives. These are places where we can be offended, hurt, betrayed as well as encouraged, taught, and experience growth. Many of us have experienced unjust rejections. Hold no offense. Allow the Lord’s justice to manifest in His way, in His timing. He then has each of us in greater measure for His purpose and He receives a greater glory, more of us.
We simply need to again consider the life of Jesus. He grew up in a family. He went to synagogue school. Has anyone been touched by rejections and unjust, undeserved treatment on the extreme level that Jesus knew? The enemy’s vicious, jealous, arrogant, and blind overreach set up His total victory over his greatest weapon, fear of physical death. That weapon of death was utterly destroyed. Through the process, Jesus finished His course to fully become the chief cornerstone. As the disciples followed Him they became, as John writes in Revelation, foundation stones of the walls of the city. They are built upon that chief cornerstone.
We are His workmanship. That bears repetition. This is true individually and corporately. When we do not fit in a certain place, in certain relationships, we move. Was trouble necessary to spread the church from Jerusalem? Persecution accelerated and the diaspora came. That is the word Peter used in his letter and it was translated, “to those scattered.” They were seeds scattered. We are not meant to only stay in one place. That movement is primarily spiritual and relates to our growth, our upward climb toward His full purpose. Geographic movement is often, but not always, part of the process. I sense a personal challenge here yet not what I will or think. I want the Good Shepherd to lead; His direction and His timing bring us to His destination.
If we are paying attention, we see He is building globally. Technology has caused us to remain in meaningful, instantaneous connection all over the world. And we hear more and more stories of translations by the Spirit. God is doing more than we ask or think. I have been praying for spiritual changes. God has responded with natural manifestations. This has included earthquakes, and literal fires. I did not ask for them and they came. His building is a house of prayer. We are learning and seeing that prayers release His judgements. Also prayers bring His mercy. We all desire His rich mercy. But without justice, no true mercy will come.