Building is a part of life. We build families, homes, reputations and more. I often hear people say “I’m building my business, my brand, my ministry”. I too have said these things. Building is good. God is the master builder and I think He longs to see us build good things too. And as we build, we have a responsibility to stop and check to see just exactly what we are building and who we are building for. Are we building towers or temples?
There’s a story in Genesis 11:4 when men and women begin to build a great tower for themselves.
“4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
It was famously known as The Tower of Babel and historians suggest King Nimrod’s attempt to build a counterfeit temple – a structure built on man’s need to make a name for himself. A structure that contains man’s glory, but not the presence of God.
There is a story of another King, King Solomon, who also built a grand structure that was dedicated to the Lord. 1 King 8:20 –
“and I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.”
God is searching for people who will concern themselves with being temples and not building towers. Towers are built to glorify man. Temples have one purpose – to house the presence of God. In Ephesians 2:20-21 Paul calls each of us a “living temple”. We are meant to “house”, to carry, the presence of God and glorify Him in everything we do. I find it interesting that building a “tower” happens publicly, but becoming a temple can only happen privately, in the secret place, with you and God alone.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:20-21 NIV
I have been guilty of building towers more than once in my life. Some knowingly, some not. And each time, God was faithful to point out my error and help me rebuild correctly. What man builds, God eventually has to tear down. The foundation is faulty and unstable. But what God builds remains a firm foundation that cannot be destroyed.
In our flesh, it can be easy to build something that glorifies us. As worship leaders, songwriters and ministers in a culture that loves to promote themselves, we must be careful to not succumb to the temptation to build our own towers. Something that man deems good and successful; worthy of adoration. God is concerned with what we are building in the hidden places of our hearts and minds. Hearts and minds that are completely surrendered to His will and His way and worthy of carrying the presence of God. When people enter towers, their lives are not transformed because of man’s great work. However, when people enter the temple of the Lord their lives can be transformed in an instant, all because of the presence of God.
My deepest desire is to see us be men and women who no longer desire the spotlight, but long to shine the light of Jesus. A people who no longer desire to build towers, but long to become living temples, pure and holy, housing the presence of God in everything we do.
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Over the past 15 years, Hope Darst, has been leading worship, growing her family and serving the local church. She wears many titles…wife, mother, worship leader and songwriter. In 2013, after a decade of being in full-time ministry and on staff at her local church, Hope found herself in a season of transition as she focused on being a full-time mom. During this time, Hope and her family visited a small gathering of people in a basement and encountered the presence of God in a new way. “I had been “doing ministry” for so long that I had ignored so many parts of my heart and life that needed ministry. I was desperate for healing and a fresh encounter with God. That year of rest became the foundation for discovering a new way of living with Christ. Week after week I would enter God’s presence during worship and the word and experience deep emotional and mental healing that I had long thought was impossible.” This “gathering” would eventually become what is now The Belonging Co. church.