Psa 46:8-10 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. (9) He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. (10) “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Busy, busy, busy. This seems to be the widely accepted trait of a “successful” church and the life of a “successful” Christian. Most people select a church that has plenty of things happening.
- Men’s ministries
- Women’s ministries
- Youth and children’s ministries
- A network of cell groups
- Worship team
- Social activism programs
- Denominational membership and leadership
- Conferences and seminars
- Counseling departments
Those pastors who head such structures are deemed to be “doing the Lord’s work” and are touted as models of success for all the rest to emulate. See what the Lord has done, they say.
But over the years I have come to doubt that the Lord is in much of this kind of thing at all. That the vast bulk of it is the work of man’s hands. Why do I say this?
I say it because of the fruit that I have seen these things produce. I have seen what goes on “behind the scenes” in the ruling council meetings. I have seen how such places treat abuse victims and enable abusers. I have seen how the wicked, wearing a cloak of wool, find such environments very easy to hide in. And I have seen how God’s truth is discounted and rejected by people who claim to be steering a flagship of the faith.
And I have seen something else that leads me to these conclusions.
I have seen that entities such as these churches stand in graphic contrast to what we see in the Scriptures. People and churches truly raised up, indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, are humble places. Often quite small. They are people hated by the world and persecuted by the counterfeit church. The real deal is a place where Christ’s people fully know that unless the Lord builds it, man labors in vain. The true body of Christ is characterized by contented waiting for the Lord in faith rather than a constant “we must stir it up. We must make something happen.” Because the true church is energized by the Holy Spirit, not by man’s own doings.
Is this not true? Do I exaggerate? I think not:
Heb 11:35-40 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. (36) Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– (38) of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (39) And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, (40) since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Christ’s real people walk by faith, not by sight. They do not need to be constantly pushed and re-booted by “new things” with catch-phrase names stamped with some leader’s assurance that “it is all of the Lord.” They do not demand a sign like an evil and adulterous generation craves. No. Faith simply trusts and waits, assured that in His time the Lord will surely act.
The hypocrite, who is devoid of faith, cannot abide by such quiet waiting. He will, in short time, leave such a place and search out the beehive of activity offered by Babel. In such places, evil finds a reception.