I hope this blog finds all of you doing well. I am presently in Bulgaria. I will be here for the next week with various meetings, training, and one-on-ones. From here I go to Portugal for several days of meetings. I am looking forward to seeing all that God is going to do here in Bulgaria and in Portugal. May God inspire the leaders of these countries to lead in a New Covenant way!
Thank you for taking the time to view these weekly blogs. It is my desire to serve you as a resource of New Covenant life and experience. Please feel free to pass this blog on to any leaders you may know that might find it useful. They can put their email in the subscribe space if they would like to receive it weekly.
Last week I addressed the topic of leading to bring a three-fold God testimony in the body of Christ. I want to continue with this theme today and then I will move to another topic next week. I believe that our endeavors as leaders and influencers of the body of Christ have a great purpose and responsibility. We are not merely called to do good or godly works of ministry. We are called to serve God and His people in seeing His body fulfill its purpose in the earth.
There were times in the Old Testament when men or women of God presented a glimpse into the greatness of the purpose of the body of Christ. King David was one such individual. There is a great statement made by King David at the end of his life. The purpose of his life was summed up in these words:
Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it.”
All of King David’s efforts were summed up in these above words. First he wanted to build a home for the ark of the covenant of the Lord. I believe that this is a place where the manifest presence of God rests. So many times we seek to find our place of rest, but King David wanted to make a home for God to rest. I think this is the first essential key to the purpose of the body of Christ. We must lead in a way that inspires and equips the members of the body of Christ to become a place where God can rest. Since men have found favor with God they should live for His favor in all things. To be such influencers we must ourselves be individuals that God can rest in. It is not what we know about Christian ministry that will change the world. It is how we manifest the presence of God that will change the world. When God rests in our lives we then see His enemies made His footstool. Jesus is held in the heavenlies until His enemies are made His footstool (1Cor. 15:25; Heb. 10:13). When the presence of God manifests, His enemies are subdued.
I find this same truth hidden in the words of Jesus in the book of Luke. One day Jesus was walking down the road and a certain man came to Him making a typical Old Covenant statement. His statement concerned a willingness to follow Jesus, but Jesus’ answer to Him revealed that following Him is not what God desires. The New Covenant minded man, Jesus, responded to the Old Covenant minded man with the following words:
Luke 9:57, 58
As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Jesus wasn’t saying that if we follow Him we wouldn’t know where we would sleep each night. He wasn’t saying that if we follow Him we wouldn’t have any guarantees of what is next. His statement was one of “being” and “belonging”, while the statement of the man was merely one of “doing”. Jesus’ illustration of the fox and bird are quite simple and profound. The fox affects the world from beneath the ground with fox stuff, simply because he has found his place of habitation. The fox doesn’t look for a hole in the ground to find a night’s rest. He builds his home in the ground and then he lives a fine old fox fulfilled life. The bird doesn’t look for a nest to have a place to sleep. No, the bird finds a stick, then another, then another, and he builds a nest to live from. From the place of his nest the bird and all of his family affect the earth from the air living a fine old bird’s life. Jesus was simply saying to the man that He wasn’t looking for anyone to follow Him. He was first looking for a place to call His habitation. He was looking for a body! He was the Head and He was looking for a place to rest His headship. He was looking for that part of humanity that would say yes to His habitation in their lives. We must lead the body of Christ in a way that inspires men and women to find Christ as the head of their lives. God wants to rest in their lives and empower them to live out a Christ filled destiny! The first and foremost purpose of the body of Christ is to be a place for His habitation. In Him we live!
Jesus continued in His words to address the issue of “doing”. After He spoke those words of “habitation” to the one man He spoke to another concerning “following” Him.
Luke 9:59, 60
And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”
I don’t believe that Jesus was advocating never going to a funeral again. He wasn’t advocating not showing honor to the loss of our loved ones. His illustration was addressing the subject of our “doing” in Him. Our “doing” is not with an objective of being free from our past. Our “doing” is meant to be a testimony of being joined to Him in a continually unfolding future of life. Our aim in life is not to fix the things of our past, but to embrace all God has for us in Christ. Just as we live in Him, we also move in Him in all things. We must influence and lead the body of Christ in doing works that speak of their faith, not works that appease the loss of our past. Our works are from justification, not for justification. If we spend more time trying to fix things in our lives than in living for the life of others, we are missing the mark. We need a revelation of “habitation” before we can continue in any ministry of “administration”.
In this story found in the book of Luke, Jesus continued to address a third aspect of humanity. This again pertained to the issue of following God.
Luke 9:61, 62
Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In this third example, Jesus addressed the issue of fully following Him. God doesn’t just want a relationship with men whereby they do a few good things in life. He wants a relationship that empowers us to become a full testimony of Him in everything in life. We have our being in Him. In these above words Jesus wasn’t advocating cutting off relationships with friends. He was simply revealing the full reality of being friends with God. We were born for the kingdom of God. We must lead in a way that inspires the members of the body of Christ to know that the whole purpose of their lives is for the glory of God. Jesus was God born for us that we might be the body of Christ born for Him! Because we area habitation for God we can do works that speak of our faith in God. Because we have faith toward God all our lives can be lived for His glory.
We must lead and influence the body of Christ in a way that inspires them to live, move, and have their being in God. We are a place where God can rest in the earth and thus all of God’s enemies will be made His footstool in the earth.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson