Your Character House

Son, today I begin teaching you how to build a house.  I will teach you how to choose the timber, how to cut it and work it and how to join it so well you create a strong and lovely structure, fit for your future bride and a happy family.

It will take me years to teach you all I know, and you will learn by working alongside me, assisting me, observing what I do and listening to my instructions.

In time, you will have all the skills you need to build a fine house for the young bride of your choosing.  And, you will remodel and expand it over time, for your growing family.

With the skills I shall teach, you will be able to rebuild the whole thing if ever a disaster should destroy it or sweep it away.

Shoddy Building

You have seen the gaps in the walls and the leaks in the roof at Jake’s place.  You have seen the problems at the Garrard’s place.  Those families are cold in winter, wet in the rain, unhappy in the heat and uncomfortable most of the time.

When a house is built badly the whole family suffers.  The builder can take an easy day or get a quick fix to a problem, but the consequences will impact others and last for years to come.

I will teach you to build carefully and well.  It will take more time and it will be physically harder than a hasty job.  If you don’t do it right, you, your lovely bride and your children will live with the results of selfishness and laziness for many years to come.

I want your children to be proud of you and pleased with you.  I want them to honour you.  But first you must decide to honour them, even though you don’t know them yet, by making the right choices now.

Character

And son, the same is true of the invisible house you live in.  Every day you are building your character house.  If you build well your future will be blessed.  If you build a poor and shoddy structure, you will live with the consequences for the rest of your life.

Every day you face choices about obedience, diligence, truthfulness, repect, patience, self-sacrifice, and a host of other character issues.  When you choose wisely and stick with those choices over the weeks and years, you build a solid wall or a sturdy frame in your character house.

In years to come that sturdy character house will give you strength under trial, protection in hardship, honour from others, security for the future and peace in times of storm.

Tearing Down your House

Every time you choose to lie, be selfish, resent others, give in to anger or jealousy, speak sharply, react, steal, reject the truth, or any other thing that is against godly character, you tear timbers from your character house.

You will create gaping holes in the walls, leaks in the roof, uneven beams, teetering frame and other major problems in your house.

And, what is worse, you can never leave that house.  You take it with you wherever you go.  You take it into your future, into your marriage, into your family, into your career and into everything else you do.

You will suffer cold drafts of fear, the dampness of doubt, the aches of regret, the shame of your shoddy work and the pain of defeat.  You will feel the cramped limitations of your laziness and the smallness of the world you have built for yourself and your family.

Character Pain

You have seen how the Magrans argue, even in public.  You have seen how Rordan’s children run from his anger.  You have seen sadness in old Mrs Gray’s eyes.

People you know are trapped in painful houses they built for themselves.  They live with disappointment, limitation, agitation, loneliness, false accusations, loss of self control, foolishness, vain ideas, and so much more.

Each of them built those unhappy places for themselves.  They each now live with the hasty, selfish choices they made years ago.

Don’t be like them.

Choose Wisely

Anyone can shelter under a pile of sticks.  But no one wants to live there.  Gracious rooms filled with lovely things, are not found in a pile or rubble.  It takes time and effort to create such a home.

And while you build a family home with your hands, you build your character house with your heart.  You build it by choices.  They are often hard choices.  You build by each choice to do right and to silence the selfish, lustful and evil thoughts that lurk in your heart.

So choose wisely, my son.  Build well.  And let me guide your hands and your heart as we work together on the wonderful future God has for you.

Receiving the Prophet

If you had a tap which could pour good things into your life, would you close the tap? No-one would do that! You’d be stupid to block a pipe that brought you good things. You’d be an idiot to turn off a tap that brought liquid gold into your hands.

But people do that very thing all the time. People shut down the supply of good things God has for them, without the slightest hesitation. They even do it with arrogance of heart, feeling good about it.

Don’t look at me like that! If you’ve been reading these posts long enough you’ll know that I don’t make such assertions without a valid point behind it. So, put off your scepticism and let me poke a pointy stick at your heart.

The Spiritual Spout

God’s tap or supply line into our lives is often through an anointed person who comes as God’s agent. In fact the church is established on a set of such anointed and appointed people. The Apostle Paul listed five specific types of ministry person in the church: apostle; prophet; teacher; evangelist; and pastor. These people are described as “gifts” to the church. So individuals are picked up by God, given a specific ministry task by God, and then sent into the church world as God’s gift to the Christians.

“When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” Ephesians 4:8

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” Ephesians 4:11 [Christians refer to these as either the ‘ascension ministries’ – because verse 8 mentions Christ’s ascension – or the ‘5 Fold Ministries’, because there are five of them]

These men are simply that. They are human. Their mission is divine, but they are only human. This means they will bring their human limitations into their role and tasks. They will be subject to the same foibles and issues which are common to everyone else, such as pride, fear, insecurity, error, reactions, ambition, greed, forgetfulness, foolishness, and so on.

So God’s spiritual spout is often a clunky pipe that we have no difficulty finding fault with. And that sets us up for turning off the tap.

Limiting the Flow

We measure out the level of flow from God’s taps. We either open or close the tap, based on how we receive the person who God sends along as His gift to us. When we welcome a prophet, as a prophet, we have the tap wide open and we receive all that the prophet has to give us. When, on the other hand, we become offended by the prophet’s manner, speech, message, or whatever, we may choose to not accept the prophet as a prophet. We may rather choose to see him as the limited human that he is. We could be justified in finding fault with the prophet’s humanity. But we may also pay a price by our choice to limit the flow. Note the warning given by Jesus

“He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.” Matthew 10:41

When you choose not to receive the prophet as a prophet, but just as a man, you get a lesser input than the prophet’s input would have been.

Biblical Example

A blind man, named Bartimaeus [bar = son, so he was the son of Timaeus], heard that Jesus was passing by so he called out to get healed. The result was a miracle of healing as his sight was fully restored. What I want you to note in this situation is that Bartimaeus opened the pipe to receive his healing, while everyone else walked along without a miracle.

“And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passes by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, you Son of David, have mercy on me.” Luke 18:36-38

Note that the crowd called Jesus by his human designation, as “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus was from Nazareth, where he grew up with his family. This was an accurate title and description. But it was also a limiting title and description. Jesus is much more than a man who grew up in Nazareth.

Jesus came as the Son of God, in human form and as the fulfilment of the promise that a descendent of King David would come with power and rule on God’s behalf. Bartimaeus had faith that Jesus of Nazareth was that descendent of King David, so he called him “Son of David”. By doing this the blind man was opening the pipe – he was receiving Jesus as a prophet and a man of God, not just a bloke from Nazareth.

If Bartimaeus had respected Jesus as a good teacher and a wonderful man from Nazareth, he would not have been miraculously healed. He received the “prophet’s reward” only because he received Jesus as a prophet.

What About You?

If you had a tap which could pour good things into your life, would you close the tap?

If God had people around you who were called of God as His servants, would you receive from them? Do you receive from those who God has called? Do you respect them and honour them as God’s servants? Or are you more distracted by their human failings and the fact that they don’t completely fit your requirements?

Do you receive your mum and dad as the people God gave you to honour? Do you respect and honour the minister of your church? When you hear of people who are being mightily used by God, do you find fault with them or do you thank God that a pipe of blessing has been opened up?

You may already have missed out on amazing graces from God, just by your opinionated attitudes about the humans who God has chosen to use. God may even specifically send some rather human people along, just to challenge your pride and force you to humble yourself in order to get a blessing. Remember that God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud. If you are too proud to honour your father or to receive from the servants of the Lord, then you are the one who is turning off the tap and closing the spout where the blessing comes out.