The entire Bible speaks of life and building: God is life, He gives Himself to man as life in the form of food (the tree of life) and drink (the living water) so that man would enjoy God, be filled with God, and be built up as the house of God, God’s building.
In our study of the book of Exodus we realize that the goal of all that God did for His people – delivering them from Egypt, getting them across the Red Sea, feeding them in the wilderness, leading them to His mountain, and unveiling Himself to them, is for Him to gain a tabernacle, a dwelling place among His people, which is His building.
It is interesting, however, to notice that, as Exodus 27 speaks of the tabernacle, it continues in speaking about the priesthood; the tabernacle is God’s building, His dwelling place, and the priesthood is His serving ones, His people.
In God’s eyes His building and the priesthood are one and the same, and the Apostle Peter later put them both into the same verse saying, You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5).
As believers in Christ, we are God’s spiritual people who are being built up as God’s spiritual house to be a holy priesthood. This means that we need to be built up together as God’s spiritual house so that we may be the priesthood; the basic and most important requirement for us to serve God as priests is to be built up.
In the Old Testament no priest served by himself according to his own idea and opinion; there was an arrangement for the priests, each one had his own function and portion, and they all functioned together, with none of them standing out.
As believers in Christ we are priests to God, serving ones; we need to be built up together in spirit through much fellowship and coordination so that we may be the priesthood, the building of God, His dwelling place.
The Emphasis in the Bible is on God’s Building; our Unique Need is to be Built Up
Other believers desire to be holy: they want to be separated from this world with its defilement and be sanctified unto God so that they would be useful to Him. Others still seek to be victorious: they want to experience Christ’s overcoming life so that they may not fail but triumph over sin, the flesh, the world, and Satan.
All these are good things, and there are many places in the Bible where we are encouraged to practice such things. However, the emphasis in the Bible is NOT on how to be holy or spiritual or victorious, neither is it merely on having a good church life, sound doctrines, and good behavior; the emphasis in the Bible is on God’s building.
Because God’s emphasis and goal is to have a building, our unique need is to be built up. Our experience confirms that, if we pursue holiness, spirituality, victory, and power, we will experience these to a certain extent but we become more individualistic and independent.
True spirituality is a matter of the building; without being built up in the Body of Christ we do not have real spirituality, neither do we have real power and sanctification. It is not the spiritual life in an individualistic way that the Lord desires but it is the corporate life, the building up of the Body, that the Lord seeks.
God wants a spiritual house, not a spiritual “you”; He wants a holy priesthood and not a singular spiritual and overcoming priest.
We need to seek genuine spirituality in God’s house by learning from the psalmists; again and again, their questions, victories, failures, and experiences led them to the house of God, where they found the answer, were at peace, and were satisfied, because it is here that God is satisfied.
The only way for us to be holy, spiritual, and powerful is to be built into God’s building. However, our self is the greatest enemy to God’s building; we may not sin or live in the flesh that much, but the self within is the archenemy of the Body of Christ.
We need to see that the emphasis in the Bible is not on individual spirituality but on God’s building, we need to realize that our unique need is to be built up, and we need to tell the Lord,
Lord, make us willing to be built into Your building! Save us from seeking spirituality apart from Your building. Cause us to realize that You do not desire the spiritual life in an individualistic way but in a corporate way. Oh Lord, our unique need is to be built up! We give ourselves to You, Lord, to be built up in spirit by You with all the saints into Your spiritual house, the church as the Body of Christ. We want to seek to be built up first, and then in the building and as the building we will serve You.
Being Built into God’s Building is the way to Deal with Peculiarity and to be Protected
As we grow in life, love the Lord, pursue Him, and meet with the saints we will realize that we have a big problem: we have a lot of opinions and our whole being is full of peculiarities – it’s in our temper, our disposition, our very being.
The Lord is faithful to shine on our disposition and temper, and our peculiarity is exposed; however, no matter how much we exercise ourselves to solve the problems of opinion and peculiarity, we fail again and again unless we are built up into God’s building.
Only when we are built up together can our opinion and peculiarity be dealt with. Without being built up we may think we are improving and we’re not that bad, but there’s no sanctification, spirituality, or spiritual power without the building.
If we are not built into God’s building, our apparent spiritual wealth will become spiritual bankruptcy. The more we use our own effort to extricate ourselves from our peculiarity, disposition, and opinions, the more it won’t work.
We simply need to seek to be built up, and in the building of God these things will be dealt with and removed. The building is our salvation; it is our rescue and deliverance. We need to drop our self, die to the self, stand against and even reject the self, and allow the Lord to do a work within us to build us up with the other saints into God’s building.
The building is our protection: just as the many stones and materials for building are covered and protected when they are built together (but are prone to damage from the weather and rain when not built up), so we are protected from storms and problems when we are built up together with the saints.
If we want to be protected, covered, and secure, we need to be built into God’s building. Our protection is not our spirituality, spiritual knowledge, or love for the Lord; our protection is the building. Without the building we are uncovered and unprotected, exposed; but when we hide in the building of God, He Himself is our covering and protection.
When we read the biography of some spiritual men who served God and did great works for Him, we may be inspired to live a holy and spiritual life like them; however, we need to realize that they also had shortcomings (many of which were not published in their biography), most of which were due to the fact that they were not built up.
The way God wrote David’s biography is by recording not only his purity and love for God, his success in battles, and him being blessed by God, but also his failures; it is the same with Abraham and Moses.
Even with the most spiritual men there are a number of shortcomings, and most of them are due to the lack of being built up. Many may talk about spirituality, but are they built up into God’s building to be a corporate priesthood to serve God, or do they live an individualistic spiritual life?
May we see our need to be built up and may we give ourselves to the Lord to be built into God’s building so that we may be saved from our peculiarities, dealt with in our opinions, deny the self, be protected and covered, and have our shortcomings removed.
Lord Jesus, we give ourselves to You to be built into Your building. We take the building as our covering and protection. Save us from seeking spirituality, holiness, victory, or anything else apart from the building of God. We open to You, Lord, for You to do a work within us to build us up with the other saints into Your building. Build us, Lord, with other saints – independence never allow, but according to Your plan, fitly frame and build us together into Your building for Your glorious expression!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Minoru C. for this week, and Life-study of Exodus, pp. 1335-1337 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), week 41 / msg. 5, The Tabernacle and the Priesthood.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Lord, grant me a heavenly, corporate view; / That all of my growth and prayers to You, / Little by little, day by day, / Would cause building up into You. (Song on a corporate view of Christian life)
# Limit, Lord, my independence, / Let me to Thy Body turn; / Not just seeking light from heaven, / But the church’s sense to learn. / May we be the stones for building / Not the formless, useless clay, / Gain in us Thy heart’s desire / Corporately Thyself display. (Hymns #1225)
# Build me, Lord, with other saints, / Independence ne’er allow, / But according to Thy plan / Fitly frame and join me now. / In experience not my boast, / Nor in gifts would be my pride; / For Thy building I give all, / That Thou may be glorified. (Hymns #839)
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