A Homeless God

“As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house.”

~ 1 Peter 2:4-5a

Part of my roots are in the Charismatic movement. In that experience, I was repeatedly encouraged to seek God for a “visitation” from heaven. As a result, I harbored the illusion that if God visited our church, He was pleased with it. I later discovered that God is not looking for a place to visit. He is looking for a place to dwell.

The pages of history are littered with the sobering fact that God is no longer present in the places He once visited. Go to the landmarks of past revivals, and you’ll quickly discover that the crowds have diminished. The joy is gone. The life has evaporated. In many cases, those places are but hollow shells today.

Why does the Lord leave?

For me the intriguing question is: Why does the Lord leave? The answer is telling: Because He was not completely welcomed.

He was allowed to visit, but He was not permitted to be head. That is, He was not granted the right to make the decisions.

Visitations bless us for a short season. But a dwelling place for God is something for His interest and His desire. Blessing is merely a byproduct. It’s not the prime product.

Contemplate this thought: If God “visits” a church, it betrays the fact that it doesn’t belong to Him. A homeowner doesn’t visit his own home. He lives in it. In a divine visitation, God will bless His people. But He will eventually move on and search for a home that He can call His own. Thus if the headship of Jesus Christ is not fully yielded to in a given place, the best the Lord can do is visit. He cannot take up residency.

Our Lord is in a quest for a place to lay His head, a place where His headship is operative, a place where He does what He wishes, a place where He can feel comfortable and find rest. This is the indelible mark that a particular church is in fact God’s house. Anything else is but a layover for Him.

Like any homeowner, God builds His house in His own way. If the home is His, He arranges the furniture the way He wishes, for He is the master of His own home.

The burning intent of your God is that all of His living stones be built together with other living stones to form His house

In this connection, I want you to imagine countless living stones scattered all over the earth. I want you to see innumerable living stones living their own individual Christian lives. I want you to see scores of living stones who love God, but who are isolated and independent of other living stones. Many attend religious services, but there is little to no “building together” among the members.

That is precisely the situation we find ourselves in today. And what is the net effect? God is still homeless.

The burning intent of your God is that all of His living stones be built together with other living stones to form His house. Not for themselves, but for their Lord. To be the house of God, by God, and for God.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians  4:16)

Jesus Christ did not die and rise again just to forgive you of your sins. He died in order that His Father could obtain a home. The Lord saved you and me for this high and holy purpose.

Without people who are being assembled together, God is a wandering, homeless God. And we are wandering, homeless Christians.

Your Lord wishes to build Himself into a people, and He wishes to build a people into Himself. He is after a building, not a rock quarry. He wants a house, not a heap of stones nor a group of scattered rocks. The Lord Jesus Christ is looking for willing vessels who will abandon their Western-style individualism and live a shared life with others under His exclusive headship. This is our high calling.

This Week

Make a home for the Lord in your life. Each day, give Him complete headship to arrange your life as He wishes. Then begin to connect with other “living stones” by building relationships with fully-committed believers who are interested in fulfilling His eternal purpose.

Excerpted from From Eternity to Here © 2009 Frank Viola (David C. Cook).

Originally published in Life Today with James Robison, December 2009.

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Comments

  1. Marion says

    http://youtu.be/r4ZY88AMa4Q

    Heaven is my throne
    And earth is my footstool
    Where is the house you will build for me?
    *Whom of you will hear the cry of my heart?*
    Where will my resting place be?

    Here Oh Lord
    Have I prepared for You a home
    Long have I desired for You to dwell
    Here Oh Lord
    Have I prepared a resting place
    Here Oh Lord I wait for You alone

  2. Michael David Gray says

    Uh, Frank,
    Within this article you mention things like, “Thus if the headship of Jesus Christ is not fully yielded to in a given place, the best the Lord can do is visit.” Please direct me to more readings, yours or others, the will fill out this fully yielding. Maybe a better way to state the idea is to ask for readings about how Jesus speaks and how can I better hear him.

    Thanks for any helps you can suggest.

  3. says

    This is a confirming read for me.
    I grew up in a unique church, born out of the charismatic movement, too; unique in many, many ways because it wasn’t mainstream. We felt we were following the NT by not having a denomination name or calling our leader a pastor (among many other such sincere convictions, all of varying scriptural validity). It lasted 23 years before also dying a tragic death.
    Those of us with this background mostly regret the loss of the community side of our fellowship. We had vividly seen Christ at work in each other’s lives. When we prayed aloud one at a time, we vividly saw each other’s walk with the Lord and heard each other’s needs. On the occasions when we did operate in the Father’s love and minister to each other, we saw how Jesus heals.
    But one of the great problems was a constant, overwhelming struggle to “seek revival,” and many felt the condemnation of having “left our first love.”
    After the break up, my intitial conclusion on this, was that the feelings of revival are like the “in love,” infatuation stage of a romantic relationship; and that they naturally should settle down into real, mundane everday life. However, as the years have gone by, I have learned that–since we are collectively the bride of Christ–we are in that very state. When He is welcomed in and truly given the home, there is no end to the depths of knowing Him in all His wonder and beauty. So we can be full of that new life!

    • says

      Mahatma: Yes, but be sure to add the credits at the end. “From Eternity to Here” is being translated and published into Portuguese. And this post is just an excerpt from that book.

  4. MichaelO says

    Frank,
    My roots are in the Charismatic movement too. Earlier time and again I watched a soverign move of God gather some people fitting them together. Only later to see it digress into a pile of rubble or turn into the typical status quo man made dwelling with some charismatic room additions.
    Now I see real opportunity for a God built dwelling and I am excited. It is because of the revelation and vision we did not have prior. We were not trusting what we were actually seeing in the Word. The centuries old man made traditions handed down were hindering the construction His dwelling place.
    This present move of God contains not only revelation of the apostolic foundation of the first century. But He has placed a hunger in the heart of many of His people for that dwelling made not with human hands but of God.
    We are in a real move of God right now. I went through the whole Charismatic move of God and it was in many ways a blessing, some ways not. This move of God is different. It is quieter, more subdued, calculated, revelatory, confident, broader. It is more empowering from the standpoint of standing up to the entrenched man made traditions, exposing them as such and articulating the truth of the word to set us free. I feel a sense of inclusion of all and involvment of all much more so than the earlier move of God. His presence in this move is more profound at times I sense I can almost touch Him.
    He is taking over and it is much more imminent.

  5. Jeff Rhodes says

    Frank, this is a song we rewrote for our gatherings. I though it to be applicable for your post!

    House of the Living God
    (Set to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun”)

    God’s been searching for a house;
    A place to rest His head.
    He sent His Son into this world,
    To lay the corner stone.

    With His blood He paid the price.
    He died for all our sin!
    Father was pleased with His sacri – fice.
    Now Jesus is the Way.

    As a Master Builder the Son’s at work,
    To build His Father’s house.
    No bricks or mortar will do the job;
    Only Living Stones of Christ.

    Oh mothers tell your child – ren
    About this living Christ!
    Spend your lives searching the depths
    Of the Holy Son of God.

    Oh fathers fall upon your face,
    And worship at Christ’s feet!
    “As He is, so also are we in this world.”
    Not of us, but all for Him.

    We are the House of the Living God.
    The place He rests His head!
    The Son has come and brought us life.
    He is the King of Kings!

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