For the past couple of months, I have been hearing the sounds of construction outside of my office window. I’m not sure what they are doing across the street, but they are busy digging holes, moving dirt and leveling the ground. By the amount of time and energy that has been expended, I must assume that this is a major project.
Given all of the negative things going on in our world, it is easy for us to become discouraged and disheartened. It is painful to pick up the newspaper or listen to the news. It seems like Satan is having his way in the world. He is on a demolition course; tearing down morals, values and society. As Christians, we can be tempted to throw up our hands and say, what’s the use of trying?
It is at times like this that we need to stop and take a look at the big picture. As followers of Christ, we are part of building something that will last forever. The outcome of our efforts is assured, even when it looks like the opposite. Sometimes you have to tear some things down in order to move forward. God is allowing some things to be torn down to awaken people to their need for Him. Many of the systems that the world has looked to for guidance and security are crumbling. Superficial faith is being challenged. People are looking for something more solid, more secure to hold onto. We can lead them in the right direction.
When Peter gave his inspired confession of faith, in Matthew 16, Jesus responded with an amazing promise. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18) Jesus was not saying, as some have asserted, that he was going to build His church on Peter. He was saying that He was going to build His church on Peter’s confession of faith. Peter was part of the foundation of the church, but Jesus, and faith in Him, is the cornerstone that holds the church together. The foundation has been laid, and Hell itself cannot prevail against it. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
We are part of this amazing building project. We are living stones in a living temple for 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 to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5) As this living temple, we have the job of connecting people to the Living God through faith in Christ. This temple is under siege, but it will prevail.
We are the vessels of God’s glory in the world. He is using us to demonstrate His power in the world. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
It may seem like Satan is winning today, but his efforts are futile. We are part of building something that will last for eternity. There is nothing Satan can do to stop that. So, even when the pressure is on, we can remain confident and secure. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)