The Bare Soul -
September 7, 2008
Temple-building, Part II
I Chronicles 29:1 - Then King David said to the entire assembly, "My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is still young and inexperienced and the work is great; for the temple is not for man, but for the LORD God."
David knew through years of acquired wisdom that building the temple would not be an easy task. Not only would it be a monumental job, but it would take a resoluteness and determination of vision that could only come by divine impartation. Most of all, he recognized the liability of youthfulness and inexperience in his son. David realized that failure was a possibility if Solomon did not have a heart of wisdom to finish the work at hand for the Lord's sake! David knew that it would be much easier to compromise the building of the temple and make it according to man's designs. However, the old king also knew that it was in the heart of God to build the temple according to the Lord Jehovah's desire. None of his father's speech and desires were lost on Solomon, for we find that he indeed sought the Lord in humility for the spirit of wisdom to lead him during his early reign (see Solomon's prayer in II Chronicles 1:8-13).
Those of us who know the Lord have a similar task at hand. We have all embarked on a similar mission of temple-building and yet, if we are honest, we are not quite certain what this temple of the Holy Ghost should look like. Many of us have been conditioned by years of teaching that a "holy" person will resemble something like this -- someone who reads their bible daily, someone that prays, someone that tithes, or someone who does lots of service work. These all can truly be aspects of someone that has allowed the Holy Spirit a place of residence in their heart, but it begs the question: Has the Holy Spirit been the "general contractor" of His dwelling place within, or have sub-contractors compromised the construction by pride and ineptitude? I hear so much chatter these days about being "spirit-filled" or "spirit-led" yet I see believer's lives devoid of the beauty of the Lord from within. There is a lack of the resplendent grandeur of the Lord's temple that shines forth in the soul of a sanctified believer that makes all their works truly faith-inspired. Instead, way too often, there is the soul-weary expression on a pilgrim's face that tells me they are "trudging along for Jesus", yet they are very much doing so in their own power. There is nothing captivating or beautiful in these type of "religious" expressions. They rather smack of self-indulgence and self-knowledge which are ultimately works of the flesh.
The apostle Paul knew and understood David's sentiments when he spoke to the Corinthians. In I Corinthians 6:19, Paul asks the church of Corinth a simplistic question that they should have realized if they were truly Christ's: ... do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? To understand that we are not our own, as Paul knew, comes from a deep sense of who we were and who we now ARE in Christ. Even as Solomon understood that he was just a mere child trying to lead the people of Israel, he knew that without God's understanding and wisdom that he would be a failure. Not only would he fail at building the temple according to the will of God, but he would fail in his commission to the kingdom of Israel. His humility and sense of his "human-ness" gave Solomon the needed understanding to fulfill all that the Lord desired. Even so with us. We must get out of the way and let Him have His way in our lives, or we will be plagued by constant disappointment and general dissatisfaction regarding what He is doing in our respective "building projects". We must understand that only as He is given full reign to do and to build as He desires, only then will we have true peace and success in this lifetime. We are not our own -- how much less everything we attempt to do for the Lord unless it is first rooted and grounded in Him? There will be no true sanctification until this happens -- only a shadow or a passing vapor of the real thing. In reality, there will be no true substance in the heart of the believer until He is given full building rights within our hearts.
I have personally visited many beautiful religious edifices in this country and also in western and eastern Europe. The cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues all have one thing in common -- they are grand expressions of man's desire to create a connecting point of beauty between earth and heaven. They desire to reconcile man's heart with the heart of God in a spacious environment allowing a close encounter of the divine kind. Often, man has sought to substitute these grand meeting places with the meeting place of the heart where God truly desires to dwell. This is not to say that one cannot experience God in one of these grand structures, but it is a pity if that is the basis of meeting Him. He desires a relationship to meet us long before we come together to meet him in a grand setting. Only as we truly give ourselves to Him, will he take ownership of the temple within and will then build to suit His desires. Only then will the true temple of the Lord be a place where He lives, He works, and He manifests Himself in all His glory through the beauty of His temple. Only when we know we are not our own and that He is the true owner, can an eternal building rise up within us. May God be glorified as the Master Builder within us all!
Lord, you are the owner of the land of our hearts. You own the building materials and all that goes in to building Your temple within. We give you full access to build as You see fit. We give you the keys to our temple and hereby give you total rights to come and go forth through us as You will. Use these temples, Lord. Sanctify them for Your glory. In Jesus Name.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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