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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Waiting On God

Revealing Christ Through Us

If we see who Christ is, we have a message. The message is Jesus. If Christ is being formed in us, the life we are living is His life, and men can see Christ before we even speak a word. But there is more, for in this hour God is using men to build His church and proclaim the truth of who He is. Yet even if we have a message and are prepared to take the message to others, for our labor to be effective and approved by God, we must still wait on God to move in union with Him in all things. We must go out in the order of God, the wisdom of God, and the timing of God. To do this, we must be led by the Spirit in all things. And to know the leading of the Spirit, we must be found continually waiting on God for direction.

Paul speaks boldly on the matter of building in God's order: "For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:9-15).

It is easy to try to build in our own wisdom. As we have mentioned, man is very capable. We can reason based on our natural ability and what we see can be done, and come up with many things that seem good. We may implement our ideas, and the results may seem good. But the question is this: What does God think? If we want to see the building stand in the time of testing, we must be doing the will of God (see Matthew 7:21-27). This is not so easy. It takes time before God to let our thoughts be tested. It takes revelation to our hearts to see the purpose of God clearly. Do we see the importance of building according to God's plan? If we do, we should also see the urgency of waiting on God in order to know with certainty that we are building on the right foundation in the order of God. We dare not miss the way, for these are eternal matters.

We do not have space here even to begin expounding on the plan of God, but if we see in some measure who Christ is, and if we are abiding in Him, we cannot help but see something of the plan of God in Christ Jesus for all of us together. Of particular note in our subject is the attitude of Paul as he lays out the plan of God to the Ephesians. Although Paul is a "wise master builder," and he sees clearly into the purpose of God in Christ Jesus, he does not depend on what he sees or on his ability to impart what he sees. We find him waiting on God in prayer for the Ephesian believers, knowing that only God can reveal the riches of His plan:

"Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:15-21).

This same attitude must be found not just in those who labor as builders in the church, but in every member and in every relationship. It is easy to learn a few truths, memorize a few Bible verses, and then try to break into people's lives with the belief that we can help them. Often we do more damage than good in our efforts to be helpful. We may see real needs, but the question is this: Do we have the wisdom of God to meet the need, and is God leading us to meet the need? We must wait on God, allowing Him to show us the root need and then His wisdom to really meet the need. This takes time before God with an ear to hear Him, and a life prepared to do the will of God.

Not only do we need the wisdom of God, we also need His timing. Naturally, we tend to want things done quickly, especially in other people's lives. But if we step back and look at history, how long did God wait before Christ came to earth? How long did Abraham have to wait until he received the son of promise? For how long did God train Moses in the wilderness? God has a perfect time for everything, and it takes God-built patience to wait for His time in all things. God is not in a hurry like we often are. He is building for eternity, and He will not fail. So how can we always move in God's timing? Only by abiding in Jesus and being led by the Spirit; only as every emotion is under His control; and only as every thought is brought captive to Christ. These are not small matters, and they can happen only as we learn what it means to wait upon God in all things.