In my life I deem this Temple Builders message as one of the most important things I have to offer. I have the joy of writing, I have the joy of hearing testimonies from those who have read the book, and I am overjoyed God selected me for this work. However, because of the responsibility of writing this book, which took many years to write, I have experienced great fire—fire I could avoid by not writing, by not accepting the responsibility. This fire has come to me in different ways; sometimes unemployment, sometimes broken relationships with those I love, and many times with a great weight upon me to write without hypocrisy. To give the book substance, I must write and live what I write. Though God gifts me to write, though God gifts me to see, God does not gift me to live this life any easier than you must live it.
In great affliction, if I lie down, if I choose not to change my ways when revealed, then the ministry God calls me to will lack substance to penetrate your heart. This book becomes a book of tips instead of a book possessing the grace of God to change Jesus’ church unto maturity. The lessons I must learn differs little from the message you must learn. In your life—there is a call. That call will lack substance no matter what results you see with the naked eye if you do not submit to His dealings. Witnessing and missionary work will be helpful; however, obtaining true substance exercises God’s hand to extend in awesomeness, saving those we contact. Pulpit preaching may help folks; however, when it becomes true substance it moves the hand of God to rescue many from the pit. Teachings may help the body of Christ; however, with true substance it causes a growth that sets God’s people on stable ground, no longer tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
In our abounding state we must learn to cling to the cross of shame, instead of forfeiting it for the soothing solution of the world. Likewise, in abounding circums-tances, we fall into the trap of surrounding ourselves with the advantages of abounding. Therefore, to finish, God strips us again. Without the stripping we may not finish our destined course, and the work God calls us to—lacks substance.
We may have the baggage of self-indulgence and self-pleasing, surrounding ourselves with the abilities and advantages of the world instead of being the steward of what belongs to Him. For example, I have known very rich ministers who died with their riches, never distributing them to saints, their true family. One very rich minister I knew paid his workers less wages than the world paid those same workers, though he had great resources to pay them much more. He taught faith in God, and he taught that we use faith to acquire wealth yet disqualified his ministry by not stewarding properly the wealth he gained. This particular minister had many in need in his church, offering them only a message of how to acquire wealth through a faith message. Unfortunately, the message had no substance because his own faith had no works, thereby proving his faith was dead, or worse, a counterfeit. Churches have learned to distribute wealth to things, such as programs, more than to saints, Jesus’ body. God’s people are the true possessions of the kingdom, not things.
Moses was stripped of Pharaoh’s house; Moses was destined for desert life. This is God’s way to qualify us. To qualify our ministry God casts us into abandonment, bringing us to a place where we can rescue others with His methods instead of our methods. What was the outcome? God used Moses to provide wealth to His people with His method, not Moses’ method. It is easy to claim riches; it is hard to steward that which we acquire.
Have this attitude: If we are humiliated further, praise God, we are being qualified. Do not forget your past deliverances; allow God’s work to penetrate deep. Learn to abase yourself; even more, learn to abound. Do not let self-indulgence be named among you. Examine your ways when tested; it is your heart God is after in the test. Christians have progressed in their responses, but God wants more. God wants to use you—to change nations. He will not do that until He removes self from your conduct.
Another reason we go through these penetrating fires is to change our doctrine. If you are dogmatic in a lie, it must be removed, some way, somehow. Remember: Wrong doctrine is a place where you do not share Jesus’ thoughts on a matter. God must go deep to change these strong opinions. The end objective is humility, whether attitude or doctrine.
We must die for real! Consequently, we must focus on this dying for the next few chapters. The objective? To give answers to your present affliction. We must learn the responses God is looking for. We must learn what area is the topic of controversy with God today. We must have resolve within our hearts concerning God’s process of fire for this moment. Do you not feel afflicted? Then maybe you are learning to abound. A period of abounding may require more trips to a place of the altar because God confronts you with self.
Please, prayerfully follow. As we continue the hard part of our journey we encounter a place of great pain; sometimes torturously twisting us: a place of tears, a place of rejection, and even a place of tragedy for loved ones, a place where it is easy to give up, to lie down. However, if we do lie down, our ministry will lack substance. The issue here is not whether God uses us—the issue is the condition of our heart when God uses us.
An excerpt from “Temple Builders: The High Calling”
John Robert Lucas