How do we turn God’s plans into reality?
David didn’t say to Solomon, ‘Be nice and laid back,’ but rather, ‘Be strong and courageous’ (1 Chron. 22:13). The call to build is also a call to battle. The house of God will not build itself. Its construction requires courage, skill and perseverance. Rugged stones have to be fitted together, beams and pillars positioned to take stress, doors built to give access and to bar intruders, windows put in to give light.
All this has to be done in the face of opposition. The devil will brutally attack church building from the beginning, but building a house has to go ahead on wet and windy days as well as on bright and sunny ones. Your flesh doesn’t want to get up early in the morning to pray. It doesn’t want to fast. It doesn’t want to resist temptation, so you must show your flesh who’s boss! The devil will also oppose, tempt and accuse you, so if you want to build the house, you must be strong.
It’s tough to keep going, especially when progress is slow, ugly rumours circulate and your bones ache with the peculiar weariness that disappointment brings. Having your name dragged through the mud isn’t fun. You need to take to heart David’s words to Solomon, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged’ (1 Chron. 22:13). Determine in your heart to walk in integrity before God. Live to please him, regardless of what people say. Beware of the logic that whispers, ‘Better be safe than sorry.’
Some of you ministers realise that your jobs may be in jeopardy if you fully preach your vision. It would be easier for you to think, ‘I must consider my family. My house belongs to the church and I have no other profession. If I’m thrown out of my job, I don’t know how I’ll cope. Maybe I’ll preach a more palatable message.’ If you yield to that logic, the battle is lost. God needs fighters who will obey his call to be strong and courageous.
But always remember that the hostility you encounter is not of human origin – even though it comes through people. ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Eph. 6:12). Unseen forces are desperately trying to resist the great move of God in the world today. That’s why Paul echoes David’s words to Solomon, ‘Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power’ (Eph. 6:10). If you aren’t strong in faith you’ll be a loser.
‘I will build my church,’ said Jesus. God’s house is the most significant thing in the world today. Indeed, ultimately it is all that matters. World leaders are raised up or removed by God, who has said, ‘As surely as I live all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.’ Whole nations are changed, all because Jesus is building his church.
We are on the edge of God’s blessing and revival. Cry out to him, ‘I want to serve your purpose in my generation. I cannot give myself to something that is not pleasing to you. That will not stand the test of fire. I will be strong. I have only one life to live, and it will soon be over. O God, help me to give myself absolutely to building your house.’
Sunday, A.M., May 5
Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back any more.
Sunday, P.M., May 5
Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12
Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19
Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19
Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26
Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2
Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2
Preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
From his Personal Diary