1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Mk. 13:1-2
Jesus was that fast. He could cut out the lights faster than they were lit. This was because Jesus always stayed in the Spirit. When you are in the Spirit, you don’t have the time for the kind of stuff this disciple had.
You would be surprised to learn the things that the church today is getting animated about. Today, it is almost about normal to find people in church getting excited about things in the natural than things in the Spirit. If someone in church, for example, buys a new car or if he builds a new house, or if they graduate with a degree, you will find that hotter news in church than the report of the brother who has stopped beating his wife. People will look up to the man with the brand new car as if he were God. They will walk up to him and congratulate him and tell him all kinds of ridiculous things; but few will hardly take notice of the guy who stood up in church to testify that he recently stopped beating his wife. Much less, certainly, the many brothers and sisters in whose hearts God is quietly working and who are slowly changing for the better.
Actually, there is every kind of non-spiritual nonsense going on in church today. It beats me personally how we can not only bring the spirit of the world into the church, but even go as far as to applaud it. People are “high-fiving” each other over natural merits and accomplishments. In the church today, modernism is taking root against spirituality.
I have lived on both sides of the spiritual divide and I recall there was a time when things were not the way they are today. There was a time, in my lifetime, when nearly all the saved people that I knew of were poor folks. No one even had a bicycle, let alone a car. In those days, saved people were revered strictly for their holiness. They had nothing in the natural to boast about. For that reason, no one made any connection between material prosperity and salvation.
With time, however, progress brought about education and, with education, material prosperity. In the same church that I was in a few decades back, today it is not just bicycles, but motorcycles and cars have filled the church compound. The same people who lived in indescribable hovels have now built respectable homes for themselves. The deep sense of poverty that once pervaded the church has been replaced with an acceptable level of prosperity.
There is nothing wrong with that, of course. But it is the devil’s job to throw a spanner in the works at every opportunity. The sad fact about all this is that the spiritual aspect of the church’s calling is getting buried under by the material viewpoint. Just the other day, someone came from Dar es Salaam and the first thing he told me was how prosperous a certain sister had become. He threw in as many details as he could about all the wealth this dear sister was amassing. There was not the slightest mention about this sister’s spiritual state.
In the same strain, some years back I passed by a brother’s house in a certain town. I arrived late in the evening and, upon realizing I would be leaving early the next morning, the brother hurriedly bundled me into his car and we shot off miles into the countryside just so he could show me a new piece of land he had just bought. It was about 9 p.m. at night and, even with the headlights blazing, I saw only sage brush. The experience left me stunned.
But that is not the worst part. The worst part, as I said, is people bending over backwards to talk of and praise these material achievements as if they were the Spirit. The church looks up to these people as if they had been filled by the Holy Spirit. Today, people – brethren – achieve status in their fellow brethren’s eyes according to the level of their material or other earthly achievements. But a brand new car or a new house is as far apart from the Spirit as night is from day. One is earthly, temporal; the other is heavenly, and eternal.
It is the easiest thing to go downhill rather than uphill. It is the easiest thing for the church to look up to materialism rather than the things of the Spirit. But God couldn’t care less about how well you are getting along materially. God’s business is strictly spiritual. And He is still calling. Jeremiah 6:16 says:
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”
God is talking about asking, or seeking for, the ways of the Spirit. But notice what the next sentence says.
“But they said, We will not walk therein.”
We should not deceive ourselves that we are any different from these people.
[Below: “The good life” does not constitute the spiritual life]