God's Solution to Human Mania: Environment Matters
Sunday Afternoon, August 30, 1998
A brother recently wrote about the sad condition and the unwillingness of most he knows in his country to pay a price to “make ready the Bride” for the return of the Groom. He wondered how to view it, and what to do about the “lazy, convictionless lives” and “the slow-growing cancer that sucks the very life out of the victim without him even knowing—until an emergency happens, where he finds little faith in his heart to trust God.” Here are some thoughts...
I saw a news documentary, actually this evening, about a college professor and research scientist. He put an advertisement in a local newspaper asking for students. He offered to pay them $15 per day if they would play a little game. Half would be prisoners in jail and the other half would be prison guards. There would be no physical abuse—only play-acting. The results were incredible. In just five days, all of the “guards” had become hostile tyrants, endlessly inventing deviant mind games to torture their “prisoners” with. And all of the prisoners (formerly strong, stable, intelligent college students) were encountering depression, hallucinations, and other manias. One by one, they literally crumbled emotionally and intellectually. They had forgotten that they were all (both guards and inmates) just college students playing a game. In FIVE DAYS! They were so mesmerized and intoxicated by their expected roles, and the “white collar expert/authority figure” that gave “credibility” to the happenings, that they lost touch with what was real and became people they never wanted to become. In five days.
The Kingdom message may be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. There are a TON of good people out there, earnestly desiring to be devoted to Jesus and to grow in intimacy and maturity and self-sacrifice with Him—that fail again and again and again. They become people that they never intended to become. They fail throughout their lives, either becoming comfortable with compromise, worldliness, religious rituals, and a seared conscience, or living in misery. Why??!! Because God has Designed an environment that will help the frail human mind, and weak will, to Know Him and overcome sin. “I will build my church that the gates of hell cannot prevail against!” Jesus, knowing our frail frame, birthed His Church to allow “common” Christian men and women to be Overcomers. And, of course, when I say the word “Church,” I certainly do NOT mean anything that can be “attended.” I mean what the Scriptures mean when that word is used. I mean what Jesus meant when He used that word. I mean deep relationships (which can NOT be “attended”!) where the Word of God is lived and applied in every man, woman, and child, daily! (Heb. 3:12-14; Acts 2:42-47). I refer to the “Church” that Jesus said HE would build where every man, woman, and child has “a hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters, lands, possessions, persecutions, and after that, Life Eternal.” Nothing else is truly a Church. But IF a Church, it must be characterized by every true member loving Jesus and knowing Him, while “bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the Law of Christ,” “confessing sins one to another,” “serving one another,” “loving one another,” and so many other powerful “vital signs” of a real Church. Anything else has lost, or will lose, its “Lampstand” and will not be considered a “Church” by Jesus, the Christ and Head.
IF a Church by God’s definition, the gates of hell cannot prevail any longer. We’ll not lose our teens to the world and the spirit of the age. We’ll not lose our men’s minds and energies to mammon and prestige. The list of victories is endless, when the Church is really the Church rather than a pep rally to attend on Sunday. Wannabe big shots playing games with “perception management” by orchestrating the “perfect” show on Sunday to excite and entertain, and perfect programs to get everyone’s egos stroked so they won’t leave—that’s not a church, you know. Even if the songs are great and the “preaching” is “scriptural” and helpful, it cannot be considered a true Church simply because of these things. “Church” MUST be defined as GOD defines it (Mat. 16:18). Every member with a true supernatural experience “that flesh and blood did not reveal,” but God the Father personally touched and revealed. And, (1Jn. 1:7) the way to have “fellowship” is not related to “attending” or “eating”—but it is all about “walking in the Light, together, as He is in the Light.” If we’re not letting others inside of us, and vice versa, we’ll never know the Kingdom and its Benefits. It is, after all, “neither here nor there, but within.”
If we are really functioning in God’s Ways rather than the traditions of men that nullify the Word of God—if we’re really, really the Body of Christ in a functional, daily way as He intends, the “guard/prisoner” problem is solved! At last, normal people that honestly want to live for Jesus rather than for themselves can see their deepest problems rooted out and their greatest potentials realized. God knows how frail we are, and how easily we fall into the “guard/prisoner” insanity referred to above. The “expert/authority figures” in the workplace, and in government (or religious) schools frequently have the same hypnotic effect on us toward evil. “Bad company corrupts (even) good character!” OUR ENVIRONMENT MATTERS!! The average man (or woman) in the workplace, the average child in a government or religious school, or the average woman at home—all have far too little relationship, direction, and help in growing in depth of reality with Jesus and others. They are left to the world of peer pressure, greed, fear, lust, ambition, laziness, depression, and spiritual psychosis of every kind. They are in the false world of “guard/prisoner” that the world system has set up, and there is no defense—without Jesus in His Church, that the gates of hell cannot withstand. About five days is all the average person can be “big” enough to stay clear of “leaven” and the deceptive problems that follow. That’s why GOD said, “Admonish one another DAILY, as long as it’s called ‘Today,’ so that NONE will become hardened and deceived.”
It doesn’t take long for any of us to get in a confused state (like the students above) concerning where we really are and who we really are. Jesus knew we would desperately need God’s Ways in daily heart-rending and exposing and teaching in the Church. That corrupting influence of the bad company unchecked has happened to a HUGE percentage of christendom at this very hour.
Sure, there can and will be weaknesses and mistakes no matter what our situation, or how wonderful a real Church may be. But there is only one Place designed by God to give us the Resources to grow into the “full measure of the stature of Christ,” “no longer infants tossed to and fro.” And that is in DAILY revealing relationships in a true Church—one that is defined by a revelation of Christ in every “member” (Mat. 16) and a connectedness for real (1Cor. 12) to the Body of Christ in daily Life. Only there will we recover all of the ground that the enemy has meant to take from us when we DO make mistakes out of our ignorance or our flesh. There, in His Church, the gates of hell will NOT prevail.
So, “What to do?!” when it isn’t that way where we happen to be? What is our part when our environment is NOT a daily expression of the life of Christ, but rather attending some cool meetings and then going back and living in the world, disconnected from daily bonding and light-walking and self-sacrificing, burden-bearing in the Church? I can’t make it any more uncomplicated than this: 1) Pray fervently and fast to the Lord of the Harvest, both for laborers and for harvest. The more it matters to us, the clearer and more persistent we’ll be. Be a worshipper in the secret place, and a worker on your knees; 2) Leave no stone unturned in laying down your life for others NOW, daily, nightly, “serving,” “confessing your sins to one another,” and all the “walking in the Light as He is in the Light” that can possibly be squeezed into your days and evenings. Leave the rest to Him.