This morning, we continue our new message series entitled, “Habits.” Through this message series, we’re learning about how to do small things consistently, which ultimately leads to an abundant life of integrity.
Small habits lead to big change!
So far, we’ve been encouraged to develop the habit of seeking God and the habit of reconciliation. Last week, we learned that since we are creatures of habit, God set us up for success! Opposition only makes us stronger if we choose to rise up to meet it and not shy away from it.
This week, we’re being encouraged to make a habit of building.
Now if you’re like me, getting into a huge building project doesn’t sound all that exciting, it sounds stressful. When it comes to carpentry, I know enough to make something functional that gets the job done. Some people out there have incredible skill and talent when it comes to the work of carpentry, though. My table is some 2×4’s with a sheet of plywood on top. It gets used for a while, then gets disassembles for another purpose. Their table is a carved, oak work of art that will likely be passed down through generations to sit around and enjoy.
Interestingly enough, the very first time that God chose to fill someone with the Holy Spirit was to give them these exact gifts and skills!
30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.
God is a master craftsman when it comes to building. He has an eye for beauty. He’s a creative Creator as we can obviously see from the work of His hands all around us. You, yourself are included in that artisanship, too!
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You are God’s handiwork. Sure, you might still be a little rough around the edges in some areas, but that’s OK. He’s just not finished yet!
Not only are you God’s handiwork, but He created you for a specific purpose, too. You were created as a good work to do a good work.
You were hand-crafted with the intent that in return, you would become a tool to be used by God to continue the building process. Like Bezalel and Oholiab, God has filled us with the Holy Spirit for many reasons, but also for the purpose of teaching and training others and to build them up.
God has given us gifts and skills to be used to do all kinds of good works. Although we all are uniquely designed with unique purposes, we also work together to build something incredible.
You may or may not be skilled when it comes to the area of carpentry, but regardless, you have exactly what it takes to get the job done that God has created you for.
Let’s team up with God and develop the habit of building:
Yes, that’s right. God wants you to work on you. God wants to build you up and shape your life until you reach your full potential. No, it’s not out of a selfish or prideful motive, though. It’s a motive of our lives best glorifying God and showing off His work and also so that we can more effectively serve others. Sure, a shovel can move some dirt, but a dozer can do far more work far better and with far less effort!
20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
God paid a high price to construct and pave a way for us to have a right relationship with Him. He did this so that instead of resisting and opposing Him, we could begin cooperating with Him as He builds us up to be better people.
He gave us His word as a blueprint to live by and as code to debug our lives and rewrite them to be better, stronger, and healthier than we could ever be on our own.
Although this process is a work of the Holy Spirit, we do our part to follow His lead and build ourselves up. The better, stronger, and healthier our lives are, the better equipped we will be to lead others to also let Jesus do His work in their lives.
Also, the more that we build up our lives, the more likely people will be to want to follow our lead and the more likely they will be to notice the work that God is doing in us and actually want Him to do the same in our lives. As the Bible says, they should be asking us about the hope within us.
I know that it’s hard to believe, but not a single person who has seen my 2×4 and plywood tables has ever asked me to build them one or teach them how to build one for themselves. Not even once! On the other hand, those skilled in these crafts are never without work to do and word spreads fast and far about their ability as well.
Read, study, and meditate on the building codes of God’s word. Communicate with the foreman often by continuous prayer. Take a step back and admire the fruits of your labor and let others see them, too.
Let’s be honest here. In today’s world, there is simply no excuse for us not to be building ourselves up. We resources available to us today unlike ever before. We can sit under the teaching of countless pastors and teachers and theologians. There are countless podcasts released from churches all over the globe. There are books containing knowledge and wisdom for anything we could ever face and we don’t even have to read them; someone else reads them to us! There are thousands of Bible reading plans for any subject or circumstance.
The key is simply us choosing to take a hold of those resources and applying them to our lives to build ourselves up. Don’t wait on someone else to do it, God entrusted your life to you and to no one else. You are accountable to Him for your own life and no one else. Oh yeah, and don’t ever let anyone else tear down the hard work that you’ve done in building yourself up!
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Be a good work of God for all to see His handiwork and craftsmanship. Jesus said:
…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Develop the habit of building yourself!
Next, we should develop the habit of building others.
Be good and do good. As God builds us into the new creation that He created us to be, we also have the privilege of cooperating with God to build up others. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth:
1 Corinthians 3:9-15
9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
A rich reward is awaiting those who choose to rise up in the strength and confidence of Jesus, our builder, and work to build up others.
Let’s not be like ones escaping Hell by the skin of our teeth, but ones who confidently enter Heaven eagerly looking forward to the day when our builder becomes our inspector. Let’s be ones who have no fear or anxiety when it comes to that day of judgment as Jesus inspects our work by living and building with integrity now. That day, we should expect to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
We build up others by speaking words of encouragement and serving their needs. As we follow the example of Jesus, our builder, we look not only to our own needs, but also to the needs of those all around us. We build up others as He builds up us.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of
doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
It may seem obvious, but this truth is fading in our current culture. To build up others, it’s necessary to actually be around others. I know, people can be difficult and we may like our time alone. That’s OK ,but we also need to intentionally meet with one another in order to spur one another onto good works and to encourage one another. Find a few good builders out there and let them do a work in your life.
Develop the habit of building yourself.
Develop the habit of building others!
As we consistently do these two, we develop the habit of building something else together; God’s Kingdom.
3. God’s Kingdom
…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to
serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
God intentionally chose you and I to be his coworkers. He builds us, we build each other, and as a result, God’s kingdom is built as well.
Consider this truth. We are continuing the building projects of Noah and Abraham and Moses and Joshua and Elijah and Jesus and Peter and John and every believer since the beginning of time! We are also building a work for our future generations to build upon! God’s kingdom is vastly larger than we realize!
We get so easily overwhelmed with our immediate circumstances, that we often fail to take a step back and see the tremendously huge picture from where God sits. He is weaving a tapestry and building a temple far greater than that found and described in the Old Testament. Your challenges and disappointments and failures and strengths and successes are all being worked together to build something greater than yourself.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but
two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
God, you, and I; a triple-braided cord not easily broken!
God is waiting for us to join together and begin cooperating with Him to build His kingdom. It’s his finest masterpiece and one that He has been working on for millennia; literally since the beginning of time!
The Kingdom of Heaven is a physical place being built for you and I to enter into when the current order of things passes away and the current earth is destroyed. The members of God’s Kingdom will enter it when God decides that it is time, but the Kingdom of God exists here and now and you and I are a part of it and are working to build it!
Luke 17:20-21 (NLT)
20 One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?”
Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. 21 You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”
As you and I reach out to the lost with the good news of the gospel and lead them to Jesus, we are building His Kingdom! When we love and serve those around us with the gifts that God has given us, we are building His Kingdom! When we build up ourselves and others, we are building His Kingdom!
Let’s be a good work and do a good work together! Let’s develop the habit of building ourselves, others, and God’s Kingdom!