Amos 7:12–15: Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah…there do your prophesying!”…Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs.” But the LORD took me from following the flock and the LORD said to me, “Go prophesy to My people Israel.”
Amos, a prophet of the Lord, had a menial occupation, one of working as a herdsman and grower; nevertheless, there came a day the Lord called Amos to prophesy. Likewise, most of us have occupations outside professional full-time ministry, but like Amos, the Lord compels us to speak forth words on His heart. God selected us like He did with Amos—to declare a specific message, set as a trumpet to His lips, announcing to His people in this hour. The sound of this trumpet blast is discernable to all those with ears to hear.
One thing becomes evident throughout this trumpet blast: God’s method of using the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. For it is the pleasure of God to use these unlikely candidates to accomplish His will, and the message found in these unlikely candidates is in direct opposition to those wise in their own eyes. This indeed was Amos’ situation, and we find ourselves in this situation much more often in these last days.
Temple building teaches Christians about running a race of growing to maturity. Becoming born again is the entrance into this race. Becoming a father to others is the finishing of this race. This is the core of God’s communication to His church. Therefore, God gives us the temple building message as a gift—a gift that infuses us with hope to run and finish the race set before us. As we run our race, obstacles and pitfalls hinder and halt us. Some of these obstacles and pitfalls we inevitability construct by the struggles of disobedience.
Our biggest hindrance is accepting man’s teaching, erecting obstacles that, although based on scripture, enslave us to law and death. Sometimes the offending teaching has the strategy of incrementally luring us away from the race. At some point, you could get yourself disqualified, and though you started a strong race, you do not finish well. Being a temple builder is more than just acquiring knowledge; it is a journey. Experiencing God and His way of life is a long and perilous trek that we start with great ambition but soon confronts us with a multitude of choices that discourage us. To encourage ourselves, we travel to many areas of our life that hinder further traveling—finding answers.
Our final destination in life’s journey is a mature and fruitful life that pleases Jesus, our Friend. Within every true believer this desire is born. Obstacles, however, hinder our desire to please Jesus, producing immature thinking as a by-product. Consequently, we must push on, putting our hearts on the altar, examining the immaturities that hinder us from pleasing Jesus. Self-examination leads to overcoming perils that confront us. Jesus is pleased when we think as He does; this is a sharing of His thoughts and desires. Jesus is pleased when we do as He does; this fulfills the desire of the Father—having children who learned obedience. To get there, we examine Jesus’ ways, we examine our hearts, and we imitate Christ. Take note: as we examine, we experience the art of dying.
To produce His life, this journey must also be a journey of death. And, as we receive teaching that crucifies our flesh, that teaching must end in mercy and resurrection. Mature teaching binds up the wounds of our brethren and yet brings new wounds to the part of man that brings alienation from God. God’s way is both fire and ice, both wilderness and Promised Land. This is why many of us feel it is a roller coaster ride of anticipatory ups—and heart wrenching downs. One moment we are on top of the world, the next moment we find ourselves crashing to new lows. Our total yielding to God brings us higher than we can imagine, but we find those resistant ways in us have brought us lower than we would dare to go.
As we grow, our yielding to God also creates additional valleys not experienced by immature Christians. Yet, because we know the fellowship of His sufferings and His abiding resurrection power, we are spiritually as high as the view of any eagle. Truly, it is the way of Christ to be conformed to His death, even to the lows of life, so we may find true life in Him. Accordingly, it is right to say that we experience two roller coasters: first, the one our physical life brings; second, the one our spiritual life brings. To experience a relationship with Jesus is worth forfeiting life’s highs for life’s lows, and in so doing we experience the spiritual high of seeing from the heights of where He is, living that manner of life. In our journey we must commit to be dead to life’s roller coaster, whether it is up or down; instead, we simply go up to where God is, in the highest calling He has for our life.
The high calling that God has reserved for us is not a paved road; it is a treacherous road designed for the committed. It takes all the commitment in us to decide to follow Jesus in every area of our lives. To think as He thinks when no one around us thinks as Jesus—takes great courage. As well, forfeiting our life for our brethren when they mistreat us exacts a great price from the stores of our bosom. How will we respond to that betrayal? Responding as Jesus would in every crisis and every attack requires devotion that is genuine in every aspect of our behavior. We face the present-day Caesar on one side and the present-day High Priest on the other side. The one side we expect to kill us; he uses Herod and Pilate to carry it out. The other side can catch us off guard; he uses our kissing Judases, ones we previously set free, and the crowds of fellow journeyers. How will we respond to life’s Judases?
We are in dire need of messages with His trumpet sound, carrying with each spoken word a great measure of grace and getting us through death and into resurrection. This great measure of grace causes us to respond perfectly when put to death by Caesar or by false brethren. Even though our brethren may not be thoroughly false, God uses their temporary falseness to put us to death. Our incorrect immediate responses are the barometer of how immature we really are!
This message is available in the book Temple Builders: The High Calling from Amazon