I first heard this phrase at a spoken word and poetry event, “God wants to build a movement not a monument.” When I heard this it instantly resonated with me. Recently I had been reflecting on a passage of scriptures and trying to get the essence of what God was saying. This gave me my answer.
The scriptures I am referring to is Mark 9:2-8 when Jesus was on a high mountain. It reads:
“ After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three tabernacles—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.”
I believe that one of the problems we have with Christianity is the need to want to turn everything Christ-related into a program, a curriculum, a procedure, a method, a specialty, or as Peter proposed, a monument. But if we look at Jesus’ life, he constantly ran away from anything that would exalt, classify, or label him as anything but the son of God. His ministry wasn’t confined to a church building or even a corner. He roamed the cities, countryside, and even the oceans to fulfill his purpose, which was to bring salvation to the lost and heal the sick. In fact, Jesus made it apparent that his time here was only temporary and that He’d be returning home.
When he sent the disciples out to proclaim the good news, he sent them in twos. They stayed in the homes made available to them and ate what was put before them. By the spirit of God they healed the sick, casted out demons, and preached the word of God with power and conviction. It was a movement, a growing movement that left a wave of transformation and restoration in their path. As the spirit of God moved upon them, they moved. When they encountered sick people on the streets, they laid hands on them. When they met individuals possessed by evil spirits, they cast them out. The absence of a church, program, or method did not inhibit their efforts. Nor should it impede ours. Methods, programs, organizations, and monuments are a substitute for the lack of spiritual movement in the body of Christ.
Somehow, we’ve given up the movement for the monuments and allowed programs and methods to replace a powerful and … move of God. Programs become repetition and procedures put God in a box. Programs invite us to the revival. Movement stirs revival in our hearts just waiting to be commissioned through faith. Methods tell us how to share our faith, movement tells us to open our mouth and let the Holy Spirit speak through us. Monuments promote praise and worship of God. Through movement, the joy of the Lord spills out from our heart and evades anyone in our midst. Time and time again we read, “The spirit of the Lord came upon” one of God’s servants and at that moment, they did great exploits for the Lord. Movement allows God’s spirit to imbue us when He sees fit to fulfill his purpose.
When Peter saw the Lord, Moses, and Elijah on the mountain his first thought was to build a tabernacle, a monument for these great spiritual leaders. But God, knowing Peter’s motivation, immediately removed Moses and Elijah and said in a loud voice, “This is my son Jesus, listen to Him.” God was saying in essence, you don’t need to build a memorial; you just need to listen to Jesus.
God sent the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts so that we would have a direct inner line to God. The problem with monuments is that we begin to fixate on them. They become the focus of our Christian devotion. One of the primary monuments Christians have built is the church as an institution. This creates a problem when serving the Church takes precedent over listening to and hearing God. We come to church to worship God and fellowship with other believers, but is there movement going on. Have we as individuals embraced our calling and purpose as believers of Jesus Christ or have we left that up to the institution.
Movement can take many forms, yet all movement must begin with the spirit of God that resides on the inside of us. Until we allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and then tune our ears into listening, real movement can’t happen. Each week we fill churches large and small and hear inspiring sermons and create great programs in the name of God. But what would happen if each individual followed the passion to serve God in their own heart? What if we all listened to the still, small voice of God and then obeyed? What if this took precedent over creating bigger and more lavish monuments? How would this affect the world? Each person fulfilling the God inspired vision in their own heart.
We Are God’s Temple
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? -1 Corinthians 3:16
With a church on almost every corner, we must question the need to build more monuments or tabernacles to God that don’t allow or embrace the movement of Holy Spirit. God may visit these brick and mortar temples but he certainly doesn’t live in them. Instead the Bible tells us that God dwells in the hearts of his children, that we are his temple. But for God’s spirit to be fruitful within us, we must willing allow Him to use us; we must decrease so that God’s spirit can increase with us.
In Romans 12:1-2 Paul encourages us to give ourselves completely to the Lord, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1, 2)
If we truly want to see the spirit of God flourish on the earth, it will require his children creating a greater space for him in their hearts and minds. We must replace our monuments and programs with God’s fresh anointing, not just collectively, but individually. We must learn to subdue our flesh and its selfish desires which first begins with conquering our mind. In doing so, we can internalize the words of Jesus in John 5:5 that says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” How, when, and where is God telling you to move today?
Part 2 Coming Soon
Learn the benefits of Christian Meditation and how it can help you to create a greater space for God in your life.