Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. (Psalm 69:9 NLT)
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.” (John 2:17 ESV)
The ‘house’ of the Lord is no longer a physical building – the temple – but is now the body of Christ made up of those who have believed in Christ and have been translated from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ. The house of the Lord is the Church of God made up of individual disciples of Christ, popularly called Christians.
The question I asked myself this morning is this: Is zeal for the house of God consuming me? In other words, am I consumed by the building up of the body of Christ?
A verse of scripture easy to quote but not so easy to live out is found in Matthew 6:33 –
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The latter part of the verse is God’s responsibility and a natural result of our obeying the first part so I would like to focus on the first part that tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
I am meant to be passionate about the building of God’s kingdom – bringing myself and as many as I can under His rule as King. I like what the psalmist says about God’s kingdom –
Lord, all you have made will give thanks to you.
Your loyal followers will praise you.
They will tell how great your kingdom is.
They will tell how great you are.
So others will learn about the mighty things you do,
about the glory of your kingdom—how marvelous it is!
Your kingdom will never end,
and you will rule forever.
(Psalm 145:10-13 ERV)
In chapter 5 of the book of Daniel, a dream is received by the king that reveals this “kingdom that will continue forever. It will never be destroyed. And it will be the kind of kingdom that cannot be passed on to another group of people. This kingdom will crush all the other kingdoms. It will bring them to an end, but that kingdom itself will continue forever.” (Daniel 2:44 ERV)
This is the kingdom we the citizens are meant to be building as our #1 priority. As we build it, its impact on the world around us will be felt. Why? This is simply because the kingdom of God is a matter of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” and “righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” (Romans 14:17; Proverbs 14:34 ESV). The secular governments of this world cannot institute God’s righteousness on this Earth. They can make laws that force people to conform to certain moral standards of living but they cannot input to them the righteousness that comes as a gift from Christ Jesus.
So the question is: In seeking God’s kingdom, do we want to populate the Earth with unrighteous men (by God’s standard) who have an appearance of morality or do we want to bring more men to the saving knowledge of Christ and His righteousness? The former might make us feel like this world is becoming a more ‘Christian’ place but it is the latter that is the real establishment of God’s kingdom here on Earth. The kingdom of God is advanced as men are brought into Christ, discipled in the ways of Christ and they shine as light and give flavour as salt, drawing others in. Anything else is a waste of time as far as the kingdom of God is concerned.
We make a grave mistake when we look to men and institutions to build up the body of Christ because Jesus has made it clear that HE will build HIS church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). It is an honour and a great privilege to be partakers in the building as stewards but it is Christ who is the Master Builder and in charge, despite what we see all around us.
I fear that we have been so distracted with trying to institute righteousness by means of secular authorities that we have neglected the true means of instituting righteousness in the Earth, convert by convert, disciple by disciple. Each disciple is like a stone thrown into the water that creates a ripple effect as he lives daily in a manner that glorifies Christ and that points men to Christ; he goes about daily giving off the attractive fragrance of Christ that draws the seekers of truth closer till they themselves come in contact with the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). As a result of this contact and believing in Him, the gift of righteousness is received (Romans 5:17-19) and behold, the righteousness of God is spreading.
My clarion call for us disciples of Christ is to take our eyes off of the world and fix our gaze on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, carrying out the commission He gave us to preach the kingdom of God and make disciples of men. If we are faithful to this call, we will see righteousness established in our communities. The starting point, though, is to surrender ourselves to Jesus’ lordship in every aspect of our lives so that we might be that source of His fragrance….that signpost pointing to Him.
His kingdom; His righteousness; His way….for His glory.