Some have heard me say in response to the statement “it is all in God’s hands” that, “It is in God’s hands…but He just put it in yours!” Now this may disturb your theology, but let me show you a section of Scripture that effectively says the same thing. This part of Zachariah, in context, is referring to the re-building of the Temple. In our modern context, it is symbolic of rebuilding the Church.
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’
Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
‘The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;
His hands shall also finish it,
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.’” Zachariah 4:6-7 (emphasis mine)
As we can see here, God’s Spirit is credited with the leveling of the obstacles (mountain), but God uses the hands of Zerubbabel to rebuild! So for us to sit back and watch God work and not be concerned with the outcome is quite frankly…unbiblical. For too long, the church has not concerned itself with the rebuilding of our broken condition because we assume that “it is in God’s hands” or we have been convinced that “Jesus is coming at any moment, so I’ll just wait here at the bus stop”…He would disagree with you and point you to every instance in the Bible where His work is done, He would show us that it always requires (by His design) a person willing to make a choice. Do you really think that the “bride” is ready for the “catching away”? Do we really look like the picture of what Christ Himself describes as “His adorned bride”? He will not make us do anything for Him, for that would go against free-will! Abraham had to make a choice, Moses had to make a choice, David had to make a choice, all of the prophets had to make a choice, and even Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane had to make a choice…”Nevertheless, not My will but Your will be done”. So I pose this question to you: What choice will you make today? Remember it is a daily issue; it is not a once-in-a-lifetime decision, a once a week decision, a once a month decision, but rather a daily decision to crucify the flesh. God uses people to carry out His plans; we can either join Him in His work or refuse to do so! For too long we have tried to fit God into our little lives and He is imploring us to fit our lives into His!
So today we are being asked by the Lord of hosts to be a willing vessel, to offer up our hands and feet and heart to Him, and to be willing to be an ambassador for Christ. Again, it is your choice. The Lord asks, “Who will go for Me?”, and we can either ignore the call or say, “Here am I; send ME!”
We all live in a world desperate for change; each of us individually long for change, a closer more authentic walk with God. But we must come to grips with the clear mandate that change necessarily starts with the person in the mirror. When Jesus walked the earth, His ministry was to the sinners and the rejects of society, to the people locked into a prison of bondage to self and spiritual forces of evil. He did not parade around, He did not come to set up an earthly kingdom, He didn’t go around complaining about the Romans, He did not expect people to come to Him, but on the contrary, He went to them and met them where they were. He did not set up an ivory tower and send out a call for all to come and hear Him preach; He moved from town to town, from person to person, and from suffering to suffering. One day the King will rule here on earth, but until that time comes, He gave us a clear message on how the kingdom of God is preached and how the power of the kingdom is manifested: by going, by doing, and most of all by loving in action; Paul tells us that “the kingdom of God is NOT in word, but in POWER.” Nothing is more powerful than love; it is the currency of faith.
Jesus gave us a model of what a true leader looks like. A true leader is a servant, a person willing to wash the feet of others, a person who does not judge people but only loves them, and a person willing to lay their own life down for the people He loves. Those people whom God loves are you and I, those people are the drug addicts, the prisoners, the prostitutes, the unlovable, the wretched, the hypocrites, the rich man, the poor man, the proud, the ugly, the lovely, the religious, the pagan, the liberal, the conservative, the Republican, the Democrat, the free, and the slave. Jesus made no distinction of whom He would extend His very life for; Jesus used the eternal force of love to change the people around Him.
Today, we as Christian ministers of fire have cheapened His call, bastardized the gospel, and laid to waste the kingdom built on love. We have decided to revert back to a comfort level of self-perceived holiness, a spirit of apathetic religiosity. The Bible warns us of this! The cure for a carnal mindset is, and always will be, love. Some Christians view carnality as lust, perversion, murder, and the like; Christ wants to remind us that a carnal mind includes also pride, division, dissention, and all paradigms built by man. The same theme is echoed in Paul’s letters as he literally begs and pleads with the church to stop being divided and choose to walk in the Spirit. When we rely on religion, we are relying on the flesh.
We first must understand in our spirit just how much Christ loves us, and that love will change us glory to glory; the next step is to share that love and pour our lives into others without prejudice. If we want people to change, then we need to love them back to change. Notice when the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus as the crowd seethed in anger to stone her, Jesus did not judge her. He knew that people could not change without first coming into contact with His love. But once the woman met Jesus, He told her to sin no more. Why? Because she now knew where the power “not to sin” came from …love. We obey because we love our Abba Father, we choose to follow Him because He has made us joint heirs in the kingdom, and we drop everything we are doing because nothing is more valuable and precious than the promise of eternal and infinite love from the One that proved His love by laying His life down while we were yet sinners! This message simply cannot be kept hidden under a layer of fear, a cover of hypocrisy, or an illusion of “live and let live”.
So our job is to introduce people to Jesus by introducing them to His love. The Bible tells us that if we truly love God, then the proof of that love is in loving our fellow-man regardless of their condition. The book of 1 John also tells us that if we say we love God but do not love our neighbor, then we are liars! Ouch. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I cannot in and of myself love my neighbor, let alone my enemy. But the love of God in me, the love of God “downloaded” in me in His presence, the love that is poured out by the Holy Spirit, can and will empower me to love. So all our ability to affect change in the world starts with finding His love; He beckons us to find our true spiritual nature in His presence, and to find the person in the mirror who God loves so dearly. You don’t deserve it, none of us do! Are we willing today to “take up our cross” and crucify our selfish, carnal nature and stand before God as salt and light in the world? Are we willing to let God love us back to health so we can love others back to health? If not, then we cannot expect real change to happen in our lives, our families, our communities, or our nation.
So I come full circle here. God chooses to do His work through us. Could He do it another way? I guess He could, but that is not the way He set up the kingdom. So when someone laments over the defeats in life, the condition of our church, the backsliding of our nation, and sighs an excuse of, “Well, it’s all in God’s hands”, remind them that indeed it is in God’s hands but He just put it in yours! If you want to see things change, then in the Name above all names and in the power of the Holy Spirit, get on your knees and pray for repentance and get ready to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. If that seems harsh, I apologize; but we need you…furthermore, God needs you! A precious woman of God I know once said something prophetic; she said, “Well, the way I see it is that God can either work through you or go around you!” I decided years ago that I was “all in”, that I was going for broke, and that I would never look back. Are you with me? Believe it or not, there are dangerously few that are willing to put their hand to the plow and not look back; like the rich, young ruler they walk away saddened that they simply cannot or will not give up the comforts of life to pursue the only thing actually worth pursuing…this is profoundly sad…
Wake up oh church! You are a royal priesthood, you are ministers of fire, you are high priests, and you have been called out to be God’s elect. So act like it! Rule in His kingdom in love, for love is the most powerful force in the universe. If we operate in any other construct than love, then it is not of God. For God IS love. You see, my brothers and sisters, the real beauty of love is the choice to love. We have a choice to make: choose our feeble little kingdoms, our feeble little lives, our pitiful paradigms of what defines a life or choose Christ; choose religion or choose the radical life in the Spirit, choose judgment or choose mercy, choose to let God use your hands and feet or continue to ignore the Creator. We pray for God to move, but He is waiting for US to move!
May you take this message to heart and let it change you. Be bold, be courageous, and be beautiful,