Constitution - What Are You Made Of?
God's House is built with wisdom! We need to build carefully and make choices as a prophetic people, every decision coming down from above. If God opened up your heart, what would be inside? Is there torment and conviction and fire and passion and energy? The key to getting there is staying close to Jesus.
If God zipped open your heart, what would He find in there? What are you made of on the inside? Is there anything being built in you that’s permanent and has some solidity to it—not just cotton candy? I don’t know what all the ingredients are and what it’s going to take for me, and for us, to have the kind of breakthroughs that need to happen. It even has to do with having enough clear-headed conviction to say what I’m trying to say right now. Paul asked, “If the trumpet sounds an uncertain call, who will get ready for the battle?” It has to do, not just with having my head clear, but having my heart clear, and having some passion and conviction and direction.
I was reading Amos and Isaiah, and most of what you find in those books doesn’t really have to do with the future so much. There will be a big section that will talk about a religious show, a religious parade (meaning hypocrisy), or a section about idolatry, or about immorality. These were things that everyone in Israel ought to have known really clearly—these things were in Leviticus. This was not new information in the sense of the prophetic. But somehow, there was something built into the inside of these men that those kinds of things just lit them on fire, it turned them, it made them burn, it made them roll over. For Jeremiah to say things like, “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed.” That’s not a theological statement. That’s a statement about what is happening on the inside of a person based on his relationship with God. “Because my people are crushed, I am crushed.”
When Lot was living in Sodom the scripture says he was “tormented in his righteous soul.” He didn’t just realize in his mind that there were some “wrong things” happening that needed to change. It went deeper than his mind. Knowing things are wrong is different than having something on the inside of you that could actually equate with torment. There is something being built. There is something with substance on the inside of us. I am convinced that whatever that is—that’s the New Covenant. And to whatever degree that’s lacking, to whatever degree that’s missing, that is the degree that I am missing the Kingdom—the Kingdom that’s within, the Kingdom that’s the New Covenant.
If I want to “seek first the Kingdom,” then I must know where that is! Jesus said the Kingdom was “within” us. So, that’s where it is and that’s where it needs to be built. That’s the thing in other people’s lives that warrants spending time with them. We walk with each other every day and blend our lives together in order to try to get at that “thing”, that “thing” that’s real on the inside and that aches and hurts and has passion and energy. That’s what we want to cultivate.
Some of the sections in Isaiah are very colorful. There is something alive in this man. To say a couple of verses about idolatry is one thing, but there is an energy behind it. Isaiah is giving examples and throwing things around. He is not just talking about generic stuff. If I were going to address those kinds of things, would I even say it that way? Is there enough word, enough clarity of thought that I could go on for 60 chapters about one thing after another, almost in poetic form, just firing it with energy and conviction? There should be!
I recently read a section out of a book by Sparks that talked about a word called “constitution.” This section of the book had to do with being overcomers. If we are going to be overcomers, it’s going to be God building something in this certain place that has nothing to do with our mind, our emotion, our talents, or our backgrounds. It has to do with who we are and what we are made of. When we unzip Joe Shmoe, what’s in there? And God is taking whatever that is, changing it, and beginning to build something there. This will determine how we face the future.
An analogy came to mind from my distant past. I used to play a lot of role-playing games growing up. I wasted a lot of time—time that could have been spent much more wisely. I almost flunked high school and college doing it. It was really goofy and idolatrous and very addicting kind of stuff. But, when you made up a character in the game, there was one category that I never really understood. It was part of the game so you had to do it. But I never really knew why. Each character (player) in the game would be assigned different physical attributes. Your character would have a certain amount of physical strength. This would determine whether you could open doors and how much you could lift. You also would have a certain level of agility to get out of jams, a certain level of intellect to solve problems, a certain level of wisdom, knowledge, dexterity and several other attributes.
There was one category called “constitution.” It never seemed to mean anything, but after reading the section out of the book by Sparks, it began to make sense in hindsight. The category “constitution” had to do with what you were made of. It was not how strong you were, not how smart you were, not how agile you were. It was not your charisma, but it was, “What did you do in the middle of a crisis? Did you panic? What did you do when you were hurt or wounded? Could you still react and think clear-headedly?” It had to do with what you were made of. And regardless of all the other character qualities you had, if that category was low, you were worthless. It didn’t matter how smart you were, how strong you were, or how agile you were; you were worthless because you had no “constitution.” You were a wimp in the inward part of who you were.
That’s been aching in me, and it’s somehow related to Paul being in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in us. It has to do with whether in that place, that place inside of us, there is cotton candy or silly putty or rock in there. If it could never be said that there are rivers of living water gushing within you, if that is never part of your experience at all, or being tormented in your righteous soul, or in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in yourself or others around you, then it isn’t real. If there is no energy at all, no dunamas, then you are missing what the New Covenant is. There is no other New Testament Christianity other than that which is inward, that which is real. If we are going to seek first the Kingdom, that’s going to be the place that it has to come from. Where there is a hunger and a thirst for righteousness—not just to know stuff—but a hunger and thirst for righteousness, this is where we see our unrighteousness and it hurts us. The laziness and the dullness—there’s a pain inside of us that hates it. It’s a real pain and we must have enough energy and conviction to do something about it. We must fight through it, and wrestle with one another through it. If God is going to do anything in our hearts and make us a prophetic people—that’s the place where all that stuff seems to happen. It’s that inward thing that says who we are, whether we are Mickey Mouse or whether there is something else there.
May God help us out of this jam and make us into real people with backbone and spine and conviction where we are useful, and where there is fire. Jesus said, “I’ve come to bring fire on the earth and I wish it were already kindled.” I’m convinced that’s the same subject again. There is something in there that He wants to do in our lives and “fire” is the best word to describe it. Again, would you know whether that word would be characteristic of what is happening on the inside of you? Would “fire” be a word to fit? Would “rivers of living water”? Is there anything happening on the inside that has passion and direction and energy? If not, there is no Christian life at all. That IS the Christian life. That IS the Anointed Life. The Kingdom is within you, and if it’s not, it’s not anywhere else. It’s nothing you can hang around.
May God do something in all of us to not let us be wimps and just exist the rest of our lives with a shallow level of fruitfulness and effect in each other’s lives—a very dim lamp in our eyes with not much there, no real root, and worthless. In our workplaces we see things out of line, but there is never a heart of mercy that breaks for people that’s real, that really breaks. Or there’s never a heart that is tormented in our righteous soul for unrighteousness, especially with people who claim to be His followers. There are things that kind of catch our mind and we know we should probably address them, but we have no energy at all—no passion, no real conviction. God has to do that thing on the inside of us, and there is no set of things we can listen to that’s going to change that. It has to happen on the inside. God help us.
How do I get there?
So you say to yourself, “Well, I’m not there. How in the world could I ever get there?” The key is real simple. The key is staying close to Jesus. There is a decision that you make based on faith and the promises of God, a conviction and a desire to respond in obedience to God. There is a part that is within your capacity as a mortal that God has granted you. You have the capacity to hold on to Jesus as he takes you down that road and journeys with you into that place where you have never gone and you could never go. You don’t have the capacity to be that based on your willpower. But you have the capacity, granted by God, to stay very close to Jesus as He draws you to that place and takes one “created a little lower than the angels” and causes them to judge the angels. God has granted us the capacity, though created as dust, to be over the angels. He has given us that capacity. But, there is a process that only the Great Author and Pioneer and Architect and Builder of our faith and High Priest of our faith can take us through.
That’s what that the Hebrews letter is about. The word “Hebrew” allegedly or potentially means “the journey,” or the “passage beyond.” That’s what the word itself means. Our heritage is this passage beyond where we are and the Pioneer taking us there. It’s interesting that all of that description of Jesus as the Pioneer, the One who forged the path—He is the perfect Man who became like us that we could become like Him. That book (Hebrews) is called “passage beyond” because He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.
We can take that journey, and we can make it. There has to be a decision on our part. This is the thing that is within our capacity to decide for or against—to hear the Word of God, to respond to the word of God with faith and obedience. That’s our part—to stay very close to the Master Teacher. Most everyone who comes close to the Kingdom, who comes close to that which God is really calling them to—as opposed to just be-bopping around—most everyone comes in one of several different modes. One is the Gomer Pyle mode, “Shazam! This is going to be fun! I can be a Christian with a lot of other Christians!” Then there is the John Wayne guy who is going to come in and “shoot ‘em up.” He’s going to take charge and do a great work for God, and this is a perfect environment for him. You could create a lot of scenarios. Most everyone comes in with some false view of themselves, some false view of God, some false view of the church, some false view of what leadership is, and some false view of what a Christian is. Most everyone who draws near to God has misdefined almost everything and there is a process involved of dying to self and being able to see what God has written in the heavenlies. God has stamped into the very fiber of the universe who Jesus of Nazareth really is and what that means. The “glorious riches of Christ” and “the administration of the glorious riches of Christ” that Paul talked about in Ephesians 3 are both mind-boggling—way beyond our current capacity. The thing that God has given us the ability to do, is to face a scandal and to humbly and obediently pass through that scandal.
Finish the race! Finish the race! Have that sort of heart that says, “I will not quit! I will die first!” Years ago, I saw in the Olympics a wrestler. It was a tie match, 0 to 0, way into overtime. Right at a moment in time way into overtime, this guy just surged with this energy, slammed the other guy down, fought to get one point, and won, 1 to 0. It was just this battle, battle, battle, constantly fatiguing, draining battle. And he found it within himself to say, “I’m going to thrust forward.”
There are a couple ways you can thrust forward like that spiritually, too. One way says, “I’m not going to quit. I’m going to thrust forward. This is very difficult for me, it’s killing me even, but I’m going to thrust forward and if doesn’t work out alright, then I’ll die and I’ll quit.” That sort of thing is not what God has called us to do. But there is another way to thrust forward that says, “Finish the race!” “I’m not going to try to sprint a little bit harder to keep this person from passing me, and if they pass me, well then I’ll just let up because there is no use. He’s beaten me anyway.” “No! I’m going to finish the race! I’m going to run all the way through that line no matter if it takes every ounce of courage, every ounce of strength even to the point of death itself. I’m going to finish the race. I’m going to the finish line. I don’t care what happens around me. I’m putting it all on the line.”
The one way, I might have a surge at this moment of pain in my life spiritually—this time of embarrassment, this time of failure, this time of confusion or frustration. “Okay, God I’m really going to buck up for you; I’m going to tighten my belt; I’m going to thrust forward.” And so, we surge with some bit of adrenaline and it doesn’t work out and we say, “Aw, it doesn’t work. God’s not faithful. I can’t do it. That’s for other people; it’s not for me. I tried.” That is not the unmovable kind of faith that Paul wrote about. It’s not the unmovable, unshakable, indestructible life that the Hebrews writer wrote about. Their kind of faith—the faith that showed up in Hebrews 11 that saw women’s children brought back from the dead and saw nations subdued—was the kind of faith that says, “I’m not quitting under any circumstances. This isn’t a one time surge to overcome this difficult moment and if it doesn’t work out, ‘Well, I tried and I guess this just wasn’t for me.’” This is pressing all the way to the line and finishing the race, even if it kills me. If I die, I will not turn back and I will not let up. I refuse to let up. Unshakable, unmovable, indestructible life. Nothing will stop me. If I fail 7,000 times—WATCH MY EYES—I’m going on, and you can’t stop me. Nothing—principalities, powers, the past, present, future—nothing can stop me. I will go on.
Now THAT’S within you to make that kind of choice. You can make that choice. You can’t decide how successful you are going to be or how much you will know or how fruitful you will be or how many problems you will encounter in your walk or what your temptations are going to be. Those are things you may not be able to have too much say-so about at this moment in time. But what you can do is resolve before the heavenly hosts and all demons in hell, “I’m finishing this race. I don’t care how it turns out or how many people pass me or if I fall down and bloody myself. I’m going to get up, and I’m going to finish the race. I’m going to the line and nothing can stop me.” You can have that heart. That’s within your capacity.
Choose to Believe God
God has given each of us the ability to believe Him and to stand on His Promises no matter what we see with our eyes. A quitter is the final word. The decision that everything hangs in the balance about is: believe God and press on OR back off and quit because of pain, frustration, or confusion. If everything that I ever knew that was right and good backfired and fell apart, I’ve got to have the heart that says, “Nevertheless, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and I’m going to believe on Him and I will not perish. I will not shrink back and be destroyed. I will not be amongst those that shrink back and are destroyed. I will press forward. I will do all that I possibly can, no matter who I am, no matter what I have, whatever gifts I have or don’t have. I don’t even care. I’m going to finish the race. I’m going to believe God, and I’m not going to give up on the confidence that I had at first under any circumstances, regardless of the past, present or future.”
You can walk by faith and not by sight. You can do that. If you will do that, you will experience things that are beyond anything you could ever ask or imagine. Because it’s faith that pleases God. This is the victory that overcomes and destroys and blows away the world system and any hold it could ever have on you. This is that victory, even our faith. God has given you the capacity to believe Him. If you can believe Him, all things are possible. Hold onto that. MAKE THAT CHOICE. Although you may never be able to make any other choice, make that choice and God will blow you away with His grace and His kindness and His mercy and all the things that could ever come from a life that is surrendered to Him in trust and in obedience and in love and in peace. Because we believe Him who has spoken these promises and has been resurrected from the dead and has ascended to the right hand of the Father—because in times past God spoke through men in prophetic messages and various ways, but now through his Son, through the rock of His Son, we can live and we can prosper. We can reign in life, Paul said, because we believe Him. We hold onto that no matter what. If there was any way I could inject this into you, I would. As individuals, one by one, if I could get in and stuff it into you so that you could live that way, I would do that. But it’s something that you yourself, have got to, on your knees, on your face, look towards God and say, “I believe you, no matter what, I believe you, and nothing will ever cause me to waiver from the man Jesus and His hope and His promises.”
Our Father, we know that flesh and blood can’t possibly reveal these things, but You, our Father, can open the eyes of hearts that are willingly and purposely soft before You. We declare to You that You are faithful and true. Your goodness is everlasting. Your mercy is from beginning to end. You are all that anyone could ever need—the Alpha, the Omega, the I Am. You fulfill every great and precious promise, and we cling to You, regardless of what our eyes can see, our experience, our histories, and our seeming potential. We know that all things are ours in Christ Jesus. So we look to You and pledge to You a solid, stable, unwavering walk devoted to You. We worship You, we love You, and nothing else could ever sway us from that. Amen.