A Place for Dwelling
To build a house is simply to construct a place for dwelling. There is a clarion call to build the house of God, to build a place where He can dwell with us. We must build a throne that He can sit on (Psalm 22:3). He has been after this reality since the fall of man in Genesis 3. Moses, David, Solomon, and now us. This is not just a personal reality, but a kingdom reality. It is about establishing the rule of God’s kingdom in the earth and seeking to save those who are lost. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and we must unseat the devil in the Church so that God can fully take His place.
The Church is entering an era where it is imperative that we learn how to host the presence of God or we are going to become obsolete to a lost and dying world. Entertainment driven church models are out. That is, church that seeks to hold the interest of its parishioners through cleverness and appeal to human psychology are going to be grossly ineffective in facilitating biblical transformation that only comes through the presence of Christ.
We must stop perpetuating a Christianity that is embracing “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). We are going to remain ineffective in advancing the gospel if we do not reclaim the power that was given to the early church (Acts 1:8). We cannot present Christianity as an objective set of moral do-good-isms without a real power encounter with the God who defines that morality to begin with. We cannot simply know the book and forsake knowing the Author of the book.
Producing more like-minded people who simply agree academically with a set of theological positions without powerful and transformative encounters with the glory of God will not produce kingdom advancing churches, but culture clubs and social organizations that promote their own brand of Christianity instead of pursuing the kingdom of God in the earth. As Moses said, it is the presence of God himself that distinguishes us from every other people on the planet (Exodus 33:15-16).
We must learn to move with the cloud and fire.
That’s the goal of this journey to build the house. The revival we want to see in the church must begin with us. We, as temples of the Holy Spirit in the new covenant, are the houses that God wants to dwell in. And we, collectively, are being built up into a spiritual house, for Him.
5 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 2:5
Building Your House(s)
According to Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27, everyone builds a house. We lay a foundation. We build walls and a roof for protection. We build doors and windows for access. We build systems for operation. We create an environment for peace and comfort. God has called us to be builders. Just like Him.
As I recently sought the Lord for what He meant when He told me to “build the house,” I realized there are at least four different “houses” that everyone must build for the kingdom of God to have its place in the earth.
- Our personal house
- Our physical house
- Our family’s house
- The house of God
The foundation for building all of these successfully is the same – it is Jesus Christ. He is the rock. More specifically in Matthew 7 Jesus says that those who do His words will be the ones who build on the rock. This is not just a foundation of agreement, but of obedience.
Jesus is the governing authority of the kingdom of God and therefore all that we build should be built under His authority and governed by His principles. Further, all that we build should be sustained and maintained by prayer, which Jesus opened for us (John 16:23) and taught us to do (Matthew 6:9-13). We want to co-labor with God to build the house (Psalm 127:1) and prayer is the connection point of heaven to earth.
On Christ as the foundation, we are to build our personal house, our physical house, our family’s house, and our spiritual house (the house of God).
Our Personal House
The promises of God begin here. And this will be the primary focus of our journey to “building a house of worship.” We were created to walk in and carry the glory and presence of God as we rule and reign over God’s creation. This was Adam’s original state. Christ died, and was resurrected to reclaim and redistribute that authority to us in His name. Adam’s sin forfeit that authority, but Jesus has returned it to us. We are not yet fully sanctified, but we are being transformed from glory to glory as we behold Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). Therefore, as we build our personal house, we are pursuing the realities that God intended for us to begin with.
Self-care is a term that has come into our culture’s vocabulary in recent years. In my opinion, this is an important point of focus for this generation. There is a place for Jesus’ call to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, but when we talk about building our own house, carrying our cross is part of that building process. Denying ourselves does not mean that we forsake everything God made us to be, but that we rightly steward it so that we will be invested as a proper part of the body of Christ. There is a part of us that needs to be denied, but that is the flesh, the old man, the sinful nature.
Therefore, building our own house includes 1) the right denial of sinful desire and 2) the right embracing and cultivating of our kingdom identity. If we build well on the foundation of Christ, then we will inevitably learn and understand how to deny ourselves and carry our cross. These two concepts of self-care and biblical self-denial are not mutually exclusive but two sides of the same coin.
You can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself. Taking care to build your personal house well is foundational to building the rest of your life. As a builder, you are called to lead someone, or at the very least to influence someone. You are the light of the world, after all. If you don’t tend to your lamp, then you won’t shine for anyone else to see.
Further, Part of the second great commandment is to love yourself (Matthew 22:38-40). Self-care is where loving others rightly starts. We must build and tend our own house first before we can build and tend others. Building our house into a house of worship is foundational to building all the other “houses.”
Our Physical House
Second, we are called to steward that which God has given us through material means, so we must build our physical house. This includes our possessions, finances, physical property, and anything else that pertains to running a household. Whether we live by ourselves or with a spouse or family, there are external things we possess that we are to properly take care of. So in the physical, external sense, we are to “build” and maintain our house.
Our Family’s House
Third, we are to build our family. Again, whether single, married, or with children, we all have a family. That family should also be founded upon the rock of Christ and sustained by prayer. Allowing our family relationships (at any level) to be governed by kingdom principles is necessary to build our family’s house. We must learn to walk in forgiveness and kindness toward one another, with patience and grace extended in hard times. We must love and understand our particular family role (father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, etc.) through the lens of scripture. God has given clear direction to singles, mothers, fathers, and children as to how they are to operate in family relationships.
The House of God
And finally, we are to build the house of God. 1 Peter 2:5 says we are being built up as living stones into a spiritual house. We’ll talk more about that later when we deal with foundations. But as believers, we are part of a bigger house of God that is being built in the Spirit. That often takes shape in our local church contexts, but we should realize that God’s “house” in this sense is much bigger than a local fellowship. Nonetheless, it is regularly played out there and we have a contribution to make in building and strengthening the body of Christ, the “house of God.”
How Do We Begin Construction?
So how then do we actually build these houses? In the grand sense of things, we labor to be doers of the word (James 1:22). We seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). We seek to govern our lives by the laws of the kingdom. Jesus demonstrated the kingdom and declared “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We are part of heaven’s kingdom and it is our job to partner with God to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth (Matthew 6:9-13). We become carriers of His glory and presence. We, as the bride of Christ, are preparing for His return and the final establishment of His eternal kingdom.
In a personal sense, we need to understand that we are building something different than what mankind has conceived for itself under Satan’s rule. Our blueprints are from heaven. We are not of this world, and the kingdom we are building is not of this world (John 18:36). We look forward to the day when heaven literally joins earth and we dwell in the everlasting glory of God forever. For now, we begin by breaking ground, laying a foundation, and building a house of worship – a place that God can dwell.
How’s Your House Coming Along?
If you’ve been hanging with me over the past couple of months, we’ve been doing the hard work of cleaning out the mess and preparing for the building project. I’m excited to get to the building phase. My goal is to help you understand how to develop a personal lifestyle of worship that ultimately becomes a seed of revival. We often pray for revival thinking that revival will come from somewhere outside of ourselves, but revival starts with us! Think of this as a journey to a personal revival that will germinate into a corporate revival!
So glad you’re here! If you are just catching on, you may want to head back and start at the beginning with A Life of Worship: God’s Intent and Our Response.
Also, I would highly recommend that you read the book Houses of Glory: Prophetic Strategies for Entering the New Era by Jeremiah Johnson for more on what God is doing in bringing His glory to the earth through the Church. Jump on my mailing list below and I’ll let you know when new posts are published!