Life Preparation

"It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne" - Zec 6:13 ESV.

Long before we are old enough to go to school, we already begin our life preparation through observation and imitation of the life of adults around us. The problem with this setup is that we tend to copy not just the right habits but also the wrong ones. Those of us who happen to be born in a family with parents who are fastidious in their example of right behavior, then we are blessed to learn from the best. We all could only wish for such parents. We know we could have been raised better if we have. We know we could be more than what we are now had we been given the chance to have someone to copy with the assurance that what we copy will serve us well in life.

Regardless of age, there is still an ongoing need for us to learn wisdom from someone regarding our career, our family, our health, etc. We could use a professor for our knowledge building. We could use a relationship mentor for our  human interactions. We could benefit much from a financial advisor for retirement arrangement. And we need a spiritual advisor to prepare for eternity. For the rest, we can rely on some men. For that last one, we can only rely on Jesus.

We have been told that all the things that we experience in life is some sort of a preparation for the future. It does make some sense that those who have been trough trials and testing and survived are better able to handle future adversities than those who haven't. Our personal observations can easily confirm this. But when we begin to read the bible we discover that in heaven, there are no more problems, sickness and conflicts. Every person who gets there won't bring with him or her any of the bad habits or bad behavior from here.  Everyone in heaven will behave perfectly. Why is this possible in heaven and not here on earth despite all our efforts and despite the many attempts to prepare us to become the best versions of ourselves? The answer may lie in the passage we have today.

Zec 6:13 tells us that Jesus is the one who builds the temple of the Lord. This is not a passage that can be interpreted literally and so we refer to the other passages to tell us what it means. In the letter of Paul we learn that believers in Jesus are considered the temple of God because the Spirit of God dwells in them (1Co 3:16-17). In Peter's letter we are also told that believers in Jesus are collectively like living stones being built up as a spiritual house (1Pe 2:5). In both verses we can see that it is with the hand of God that we become what we become as believers. In the first it's the Spirit in us and in the second, we are in ourselves passive (like stones) but Someone is building us up. Thus, if we go back to our original passage in Zechariah, we realize that that Someone is Jesus. 

Some may have a problem here. Not everyone is a believer in Jesus and Jesus only builds believers. He is, after all, building no ordinary thing but the temple of the Lord. Such a divine undertaking uses a certain kind of material and definitely not composed of unbelievers. Jesus as the builder of lives builds only those who come to Him in submission to His will and plan. Unlike passive stones, people have decision making skills and some may decide not to enter into this arrangemnt, except those who have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That's a sad reality because it has already been proven that no one can build himself up to acceptability with God. And that's why that which is possible in heaven isn't possible here. Most people try not by the Sprit by their own strength and that will always lead nowhere as history attests.

When we allow Jesus to buld us us, He uses many things to do the building. Aside from the works of the Holy Spirit that don't need our input, there are the trials and testing of life that God allows to make us resilient in ourselves and compassionate to others and there are the multiple examples and instructions that come from Jesus Himself. All the acts of God, whether pleasing to us or not, are preparations for all of us so that we can become a certain kind of person. It may be true that no one in heaven will ever need assistance for we will all be perfectly capable there, but learning to be helpful here transform us to be that kind of person. There is no one in heaven who will offend anyone and will ever need forgiveness but learning to be forgiving here again makes us that kind of person. Heaven, in other words, is a place which is inhabited by a certain kind of person - the godly kind, the Jesus-like kind and all of life's experiences here that Jesus allows us to go through are His building tools toward making all belieers that.

Thus, today as we evaluate our lives, remember this truth: if you are a believer in Jesus, He is behind everything that prepares us for that future life in His presence. He is the builder of the temple, the we temple. It will serve us well to submit to the Great Builder for then, whether we be a stone or wooden beam in that temple, we will be perfectly made to fit in the whole project. If you are not yet a believer, Jesus is waiting. You can't afford to repeat the senseless attempts of feeble men to make themselves better in the eyes of God that end only in frustration. 

(Photo credit: ourdailybread.org)