Wise Building

June 29, 2019

 

Imagine you were to build a house. Hopefully, you would first think it out. Then you would set a foundation and erect the building. When you were done you would have an empty building with rooms or chambers inside. Next, you would fill those rooms.

 

“Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Proverb 24:3-4)

 

Our foundation as Christians is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It is VERY important that our foundation be Jesus and nothing else. I know that when I was born again the faith of the man who led me to Him basically became my own faith. Or, better put, my brand new faith was overlain with his faith – a sort of foundation set upon the real foundation.

 

This is a natural thing. After all, I was lost and had absolutely no spiritual discernment. I took my friend’s truth and I unwittingly added it to Jesus, THE Truth.

 

The same thing can happen with denominations, various styles of institutional Christianity, preferences for Bible translations, and even opinions about assorted man-made doctrines. In fact, religion ALWAYS attempts to place another foundation on top of the true (Jesus) foundation. The often unspoken and unrealized belief is that Jesus plus something else will be enough.

 

As a result, everything built upon the secondary foundations will be subject to shifting under stress. All other things constructed attached to the untrustworthy false foundations will be at risk. Sooner or later we will experience spiritual anxiety and will either repent and begin to trust only Jesus…or we will try to survive on our own, always being anxious and uncertain…like the false foundation.

 

Sadly, most Christians live the latter lifestyle.

 

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11)

 

Did you lay your own foundation for your life in Christ? No. No Christian does. The Lord laid that foundation and that foundation was Jesus.

 

By the same token, everything in the building set on that foundation - the walls, ceilings, various rooms and chambers…even down to the furnishings must be done with wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

 

Laurie and I spent a beautiful day this past Sunday in New Mexico with an amazing couple, John and Katherine. Katherine is an artist and, while that’s not all she is, her artistry characterizes her. John is a computer learning and performance professional. Like Katherine, what he does day to day doesn’t define him. Yet, in both cases God has put gifts into them that have led them to their occupations.

 

These figure heavily into how they approach the world and into how their home came to be like it is.

 

We had never visited their house before, which is the only one like it on the earth. They had decided that when it was time to build this house she would design it and contract out its building. However, since they had trouble finding reliable builders, she ended up designing AND building it completely. As a result, the entire house is a reflection of them.

 

As a strong married couple, John and Katherine functioned as one as designers. John researched building techniques, studied the architectural ideas they meant to use, and voiced his desires in how he wanted the kitchen to be. He wanted a commercial kitchen. (Oh, as one who cooks, how I loved being in THAT room!)

 

They lined up all the materials, jumped through all the bureaucratic hoops necessary to get building permits, and readied the land for building. They decided how to site the house, taking full advantage of the gorgeous views, slope of the land, and positions of the sun in various seasons of the year so as to allow God’s design of the earth to help heat and cool their future home.

 

“Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Proverb 24:3-4)

 

Most of all, Katherine prayed, sought the input of God and obeyed Him as He led her. She built wisely with much understanding and knowledge.

 

Katherine set the foundation, helped by people handpicked by her, she then set the walls on that foundation. Beams were set on top of those and so on. They worked through snow and rain to meet deadlines.

 

In much the same way, we get to decide what goes on the foundation that was laid (Jesus) the moment we were saved. As Katherine and John walked us through their home she spoke of how she set in place each part and why she decided to do it that way.

 

It quickly became evident that nothing had been left to chance. She was VERY intentional and purposeful about every decision and everything she did. The end result is that this is a one-of-a-kind house which reflects her uniqueness.

 

It seems that far too few of us work with the Lord to build us into the unique houses He has in mind for our lives. We tend to careen about (often in slow motion) trying to survive and not living intentionally in the least.

 

The result is that sometimes our lives look as if we were constructed in a drunken stupor, built of scraps of wood and tin, decorated with things discarded by other people. While we WILL have unique lives, they will not reflect God’s intentions for our lives and we will not look like He wishes.

 

John and Katherine moved into the house in the winter when much of the internal work was incomplete. They lived in the home and continued to build it out as they went.

 

Our personal lives are like that. We are always under construction – works in progress all the time. In the years that have passed since the initial construction was completed things were either created by Katherine or purchased that continued to add character to the home.

 

In the same way, God continues to refine us and enhance us. He is intentional and purposeful in how He does this.

 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

 

It seems God is always at work in us, not tinkering or puttering about aimlessly; rather, He INTENTIONALLY adjusts aspects of our lives, fine-tunes us, and makes each of us distinctive. He is VERY creative.

 

In sad contrast, religion seeks to make us all look the same. Some call this “cookie cutter Christianity” in which we all start out as unique individuals and we all come out looking pretty much the same as everyone else in our subset of Christianity.

 

This is an accurate image in many ways but there is a terribly sad aspect to it as it works out in real life. When a cookie cutter is applied to a lump of dough, the excess is discarded. We discard whatever doesn’t look like the cookie WE have in mind. This is routinely done to people in Christendom as some of their uniqueness is trimmed away in the name of “we all need to be on the same page in this organization.”

 

What if God intended some of that “waste” to be who you are in Christ? What if letting religion trim away some of you thwarts the intentions of God for your life? Does God really want us all to look EXACTLY alike?

 

In a similar sense, the spirit of religion will often cause people to ADD to who God intends them to be, also to promote organizational uniformity. This, too, will rob us of our God-given individuality.

 

At one time Laurie and I lived in a subdivision in which every fifth house looked almost exactly the same. They were convenient for the developers to build that way, but the area lacked character. In theory, I suppose that at any time Katherine and John could have bowed to convention and built a house like all the other houses around them. Instead, they chose to follow God’s leading and the result is a beautiful home brimming with uniqueness and character.

 

It helps a leader to relax and take comfort from seeing uniformity among those over which he watches. For this reason it is sometimes unsettling for Christian leaders to allow people to grow at God’s individual pace for each one. When we watch over others we must always bear in mind that there is no way they can ever be what God intends them to be unless they are free to grow at His pace and His bidding.

 

Leaders need to decide if their own comfort is the priority or if it is worth it for them to be personally uncomfortable while those over whom they watch all look different as they follow Jesus as HE builds them into something of HIS choosing.

 

In other words, in the Body of Christ the term “I want us all to be on the same page” should be cast into the rubbish pit. To change metaphors for a second, there is no “same page”; if JESUS is the “book”, we are the pages, each unique yet all with the same theme: Him and His Kingdom.

 

God is always accomplishing a lot at one time. He can approach us from multiple vantage points and can use multiple metaphors if He chooses to do that.

 

The only things not included In Katherine and John’s house were things God did not lead them to have as part of the home He had in mind for them. As we walked through on our initial tour, sat at their table sharing a meal and, later, relaxed outside eating cheese and fruit while we admired the lake and the mountains they get to see every day, we could sense their satisfaction.

 

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” (1 Corinthians 3:10)

 

In this case they were the wise master builders of this home and they built on the foundation they had so lovingly laid. They were given grace to do this and they used that empowerment from God wisely. Their peace and sense of satisfaction is the natural fruit of harvesting that grace.

 

When we participate with God working in partnership with Him to build our lives we, too, can experience that sort of satisfaction.

 

Now, John and Katherine live almost 600 miles from where we live. Laurie has known John since high school. Many years ago I attended a meeting in Albuquerque and we later discovered that, although none of us realized it, John and Katherine were there too.  I met him and Katherine for the first time 7 years ago and then we visited with them last year as they traveled through Texas. John and I chat occasionally on FaceBook.

 

I mention this because, despite the short amount of time we have spent together face-to-face, we seem so connected. When we arrived at their home last week we all hugged and it felt to me as if we had just seen them. Truly we are ONE in Christ, although surely we don’t see eye to eye on every little belief we have.

 

This is important because we all, as houses being built by and with God, were never intended by Him to be stand-alone buildings. We always and forever have been intended by God to be fitted together into ONE spiritual house and this started, for us, the instant we came to Jesus.

 

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)

 

God connected us. That is a holy and intentional thing. God is still building His house and we’re it.

 

As we drove through the beautiful mountains back to where we were staying in Santa Fe Laurie and I were quiet, lost in our own thoughts. We took in the sights John and Katherine see all the time – the steep rock walls, canyons, aspen and other trees, and the rapids that line much of the road. I tried to see them with their eyes, wanting to experience more of their lives as we drove along.

 

Only God knows when we will see them again but God’s house is not bound by time and space; it’s eternal.

 

As we drove I thought about all the other people with whom God has connected us and thought, “We truly are rich.” I also thought about how tricky our Father can be. We set out to see people we like and miss. We got a tour of their home, which we weren’t sure we would ever get to see. God took that opportunity to show me about how intentional and purposeful HE is in constructing you and me. He used a couple in New Mexico to do that.

 

“Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Proverb 24:3-4)

 

I am taking away from this experience a renewed desire to pay close attention to how I partner with God to build the house that is my own life and a continued awareness of how connected are God’s people in Christ.

 

I hope it touches you in a similar way.

 

 

 

Pastor Mike McInerney       

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, TX

© June 26, 2019

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