Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Some Repair and Maintenance Required

If you are a homeowner, then you know how there are always things to do to maintain and repair the house.  It seems that the list never ends.  If this work on the house stops, then it becomes obvious pretty quickly.

Recently, the Lord lead me to read 2 Chronicles 24 in which King Joash put resources in place to repair the temple of God.  Over a long period of abuse and neglect, the temple had fallen into serious disrepair.  The king was serving God by working on making His temple be what it should be, work that was long overdue.

This scripture, like all scripture, is provided to us so we will know God and what He expects of us.  This temple, the dwelling place of God, doesn't exist today, but that doesn't mean that this scripture doesn't have meaning for us today.

Performing maintenance and repair on the temple might be interpreted in 2 different ways.  In our New Testament world, the dwelling place for God is our hearts, so performing maintenance on our own lives is one way of interpreting this scripture.  Another way to look at the story is in the context of how the temple was the physical representation of the community of God's people, the Church.  I will look at each of these interpretations in turn.

When we consider our own spiritual lives, it is like a home, there is always work to be done.  Our lives in Christ are supposed to be a work-in-progress, a matter of continual growth.  For most on us, this isn't a daily, steady growth, but rather a sag here, a jump there and a flat line other times.  As with the house, if you ignore your responsibilities for maintenance very long, then things tend to fall apart.  Let me use an analogy:

The “holy grail” in the grass seed industry is to make a grass that grows up 2 inches tall, then stops, so it doesn't need mowed.  They have found that they can make grass that does that.  However, when the grass stops growing, it turns brown.

Just like that experimental grass, if we stop our spiritual growing we will wither up and die.  Spiritual growth is the minimal required maintenance for our Christian life.

Certainly there are times that we don't grow, but the longer we go without growth, the harder it is to resume our prior growth.  On our jobs, a vacation can get us back on track to actually do better, bu this isn't the way of a vacation from spiritual growth.  When we take a break from growing, then we are actually hurting our growth skill.

Our life needs to be filled with time spent seeking better alignment between our hearts and the heart of the Lord.  While we have the Holy Spirit inside us, we are really good at ignoring Him.  Seeking that “still, small voice” of God just isn't natural.  Our natural self wants to do his own thing, not be submissive to another, and when that voice is so easily ignored, that seems to be the path of least resistance.

To overcome that natural inclination requires a conscious effort.  This is where self-discipline can be so important.  When you have a scheduled time with the Lord, it is much easier to stay on track, than if you plan to spend time with the Lord when you get around to it.  

Growth time with God requires us to be submissive to the Holy Spirit in our time spent with Him.  We need to let Him control how we spend out time.  One day He may be prompting us to read something specific, or pray about a particular issue.  Whatever He has for us is far more important than any agenda we may arrive with.  We have to remain open to what He wants and not come with a plan of what we are going to accomplish.

The other interpretation of the Chronicles scripture is to maintain and repair the Church.  The Church that I am referring to is not the church building or the local congregation, it is the family of God's people.

The Church is in bad shape today.  Like the temple that Joash dealt with, our Church has suffered from attacks and a lack of maintenance.  Christ's precious church is in trouble.  There is a huge population that considers itself part of the Church, that has no concept of being led by the Spirit.  The Church is becoming worldly.  There is an epidemic of ignorance about what God's word says, which is being complicated by people claiming to be speaking God's word that are speaking words contrary to God's word (God have mercy on their souls).  We have people that worship themselves and people that worship their preachers or their local church.

The Church needs repaired.  One can imagine a total collapse of the Church if things stay on the same road.  But unlike Joash's temple repairs, our Church doesn't need masons and woodworkers, it needs Jesus.  It doesn't need some sugar-coated, easy to follow, non-controversial, domesticated fabrication called Jesus, it needs the real Jesus.  When Jesus walked on the earth, although He was loved by those that opened their heart to Him, He succeeded in making others so furious that they killed Him.  This is not the story of a person that was seeking to be liked by the world, His story is of one who wanted to honor His Father, even if that made enemies.

Each of us can play a part in the rebuilding of Christ's church.  That work starts on our knees.  We can get out and rant and rave about how things ought to be and make a fool of ourselves, or we can allow ourselves to be used by the Holy Spirit.  God wants His Church to be restored.  It is humans that got us in this shape, if we try as humans to fix it, it won't help.  The only way that the Church will be restored will be through servants of the Lord allowing His will and power to work through them.

There is nothing that God can't do.  He is all powerful.  When we do His work, then His unlimited power is behind us.  “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.“ (Philippians 4:13)  The trick to having His power behind us is just to be sure that we are doing exactly what God wants us to be doing.  God gives us all different roles that we are to be playing at different times and in different circumstances.  The right place for one person may not be God's will for the next person.  We serve a personal God and each of us must seek out the exact thing God want us to be doing for each day.  If we go off on our own plan, then we are on our own and God's power may not be with us.  We may be doing good, but if it isn't God's plan for us, then God may not be in it.  To make real changes requires God's power, to see that power work in our lives, requires submission to His perfect plan.

Our submission to His plan all comes back to maintaining the temple that is our lives.  We must each seek to align our hearts with God's heart and our lives with His instructions, then He can work on healing His Church. 

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