Lord of Hosts
We need to view ourselves hosts, rather than guests in the House of God. Do you know the difference? We must comprehend the majesty of what God has done in our hearts and take responsibility.
A Kingdom of Priests
The actual dynamics of how the Church is meant to function, both now and since the beginning of time, is as a Kingdom of Priests. Both Biblically and by the Spirit’s leading, we are meant to be that Kingdom of priests, not clergy/laity. God has deposited something inside of all those who are His. No matter how good the teaching is, whether it’s about holiness, wineskins, gifts or any other sort of thing, somehow or another we have to break through, both individually and together, and build in such a way so that God can get the best out of each of us. When that happens, all of our gifts together become the embodiment, the body, of Christ. Perhaps we think of the phrase “body of Christ” so much it’s become a cliché. How about the “embodiment of Christ”? It’s really the same word. But doesn’t “the embodiment of Christ” paint a very clear picture? That’s what the church was always meant to be. Not something to attend, not a discussion forum about various subjects, not a bunch of heroes educating the foolish masses, but the church is to be the EMBODIMENT of CHRIST.
Part of this recognition goes back to understanding that there is “a treasure in our soul that far outshines the brightest gold.” It’s important that we understand that if we are really going to be the embodiment of Christ and if the gift that is in you and me is going to shine forth—we each have a part to play in loving each other, encouraging one another, and being called alongside one another daily so that none are hardened and deceived by sin as long as it is called today (Heb. 3:13). The process of being THAT stuck together, THAT called alongside, is that it breaks the bondage of sin and delusion. If we will be called alongside one another daily as the embodiment of the gift that Jesus has deposited in each of us, it will break the yoke and the bondage of sin in our lives, allowing Jesus to shine forth in our lives all the more. The more we can break the bondage and deception, and the foolishness of guilt, fear and sin, the more that Jesus shines forth and the more we can be of assistance to others in this city and other cities. Then, Jesus can be embodied in the world! This process goes all the way down to the narrowest place of us being committed one to another, not just some “group setting” twice a week, but being committed every day to letting our gift shine forth, to being called alongside. This is a decision we make daily—a decision we make to give our hearts away and to be who Jesus called us to be. This is an attitude we have to cultivate based on the teachings and the life of Jesus.
Hosts and Hostesses
One analogy that comes to mind about the attitude we need to have individually about using the life of Jesus that has been put inside of us (in spite of our fumblings and failures at times) is that of being hosts and hostesses. It is a dynamic that you can see at work in a business meeting when there are a large number of people present. There is an attitude of a host, and there is an attitude of a guest. I also see this in people’s homes. I see the responsibility you take for your home when it’s your home and it’s mealtime, and you have to make decisions about how and when and various other things related to that. I see a man in his own home rising up to be a priest over that home. I see him taking responsibility in many instances.
And yet, perhaps as a guest in someone else’s home, he might just back away and watch and see what happens. If something doesn’t really go right, he kind of lets it happen that way and doesn’t want to interfere. He doesn’t want to get involved or be pushy. All these imaginations come up when we are guests that don’t come up when we are hosts. I want to bring that analogy to you as it relates to the spiritual life that God has deposited in you. If you view yourself as laity, if you view yourself as a guest everywhere you go, then you are going to lose what God has done. And everyone around you is going to lose as well. There are no “guests” in the house of God. We are all hosts of the Lord Jesus Christ who is living and reigning inside. The thing that you have is unique and real. He has called you to be “called alongside” that you might encourage/admonish (however you want to translate that word in Hebrews 3) one another daily, and that takes an attitude of “I’m not a guest. I’m a host.” This is the same attitude that you have in your home where you push yourself forward and decide to be someone who is responsible, who has ownership.
Picture yourself in a room full of 50 people you don’t know. Think of the tendency there would be to be sheepish, a little backward and fearful, a little afraid to look people in the eye. “How do I strike up a conversation with someone?” “I don’t know anybody here.” “What are they thinking of me?” Now, what if that were your room and those 50 people were visiting you? You would be out there! You would be trying to introduce yourself, trying to introduce other people, making sure everyone is comfortable, making sure everyone feels like they are in the right place. Do you know what else you would do? You would go after the lonely people in the corners—you would take responsibility. You would feel some courage and some light and some heart that you wouldn’t feel if you were just a guest there who didn’t know anyone.
Get Outside Yourself
When you see what Jesus has done in you and there is a genuine gratitude for it, then you will get outside of yourself. When there is a genuine appreciation in faith that God has done what He said He’s done in depositing something of Himself inside you that is unique, special, and needed in the body of Christ, you will decide in your heart to go out and be there and stick that hand out and express yourself. When you comprehend that you are now a host of Jesus rather than a guest, then you will be outside of yourself and will speak and do what you need to do to be a host in the Kingdom of God.
This is true in any environment you want to be in. You can look around and take responsibility to see what is happening, to see who is sitting by themselves. Paul had that attitude while he was prisoner on a ship. He was the host. “Glad you could join us. Thanks for being aboard.” The ship was ready to sink—and Paul was taking responsibility for those on that ship. He was the captain of that ship.
Jesus did that His whole life. He was the odd man out right from the day He was born to an unwed mother—but he never acted like that. He was always a host of the human race. “Hi! Glad you could be here!” He just walked through crowds of people stopping and talking and seeing their needs…caring about them, feeling what they felt, having compassion on the masses. He was a host because he knew where he was coming from and he knew where he was going (John 13).
If we are going to be mashed potatoes, it’s not just a matter of hanging around together a lot. It’s a matter of loving one another enough, and believing God enough, that in any environment we are in, we comprehend the majesty of what God has done in our hearts and lives. With deep gratitude we take on the position of host in order to see, care, love, and take responsibility. As hosts we express what God has done in us without fear and without being so concerned about this, that, and the other. As hosts, we do not shrink back as if we are just a “guest” in a room full of people we don’t know.
Hosts—Called Alongside One Another Daily
I want you to see and feel the difference between being a host and a guest. Comprehend how God desires that we would all be hosts…that we would all come forward with the Life of God to care and love and have the courage to be called alongside daily. As we are called alongside one another daily we can help set captives free and the captives in us can be set free. The Life of God can be set free and the bondage to sin can be choked off. As we all express that life together, Jesus is embodied more and more. Not potatoes mashed simply because of proximity (of being jammed close together and hanging around doing a lot of stuff together), but the heart and the life of believing God and loving one another. That’s the “mashed potatoes” that allows the Glory of God to be manifest.
Look inside of your own heart and mind right now and see to it that you position yourself as a priest and a king of the Most High God—and not as a layperson. Forget that junk! The religious world did not invent clergy/laity. The sinful, selfish heart invented clergy/laity, and we just all went along with it! It wasn’t something that was pushed on us. We all do it to ourselves. It’s always been that way. It’s not just the religious system. The religious system is a reflection of hearts that don’t really believe God, don’t really love one another the way they could. It just shows up in that form. We want to have a “king to rule over us like the other nations” because we don’t want to be a kingly priesthood. In truth we do, but we are just afraid.
Let me encourage you to examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith…to see whether you are living and breathing the faith…drinking in the faith of understanding and allowing the majestic life of God in you to stick that hand out in courage, to be there, outside of yourself.
There are usually two or three different spheres each day where you can be a captain instead of a passenger or captive in chains. God is the Lord of Hosts!
Father, I wanted to specifically ask You that You would please be very involved in our day-to-day lives. Show us the things that stand in the way of truly loving each other and treating each other with a constant devotion, a constant commitment, and a constant loving care as we are in each other’s homes. Please be very involved with teaching us about being a host. Teach us about being a giver, being a participant with You in all the things that you want for each of us.
Father, please show us individually, and help us show each other, what the things are that keep the Glory that You have deposited inside of us from shining forth. I pray that You would honor the slightest bit of faith in turning towards You…that You would shine forth the Glory and Treasure that is in each one of our souls…that you would be Glorified and Honored as a result of our trust and faith in you. We ask God that you would be true to your Word. And because we have positioned ourselves in such a way to encourage each other daily, I ask that you would not let us have any rest until we are truly functioning and walking in this with one another in a real way—expressing your Word and your Life and your Glory to each other so that you might be honored and the chains of sin might be broken. We want to help each other get past the things that have bound us. I really want to ask you for your specific involvement. Please touch each one of our hearts in a special way. Show us your love and how worthy, good, and great You are—that we would be drawn up into the vision of Your Life, Your Kingdom, Your Church, Your Destiny, and the way that you want to prepare a Bride for your Son.
We ask, God, that you please supernaturally lift us and draw us towards Yourself to allow us to see those things. Give us paths to run on, tools in our hands, and a way to go that we would be able to see these specific things in ourselves and in each other. Please Father, we ask that You teach us to love each other and have the loyalty to one another that Your Son had to You, and You had to Your Son, and that You have so deeply for us. We beg You for those things because we know that nothing will happen apart from Your hand and Your work in our lives. We trust you for it in advance. We ask you to please be involved and allow the words that we have read to come to pass in our lives. Don’t let us have any rest as a people until the things that are not like you are shaken, and we really are walking in all that you have for us. Please, let it be so…for your name and for the Glory and for the Honor of your Son…for His name’s sake, for Your name’s sake, and for all that You are. Let it be so…that we may be a light to the world around us and a pleasure to you…to bring a smile to your face. Please, let it be so.