The Spirit Of This Age
Since its inception, the church, the body of
Jesus Christ, has been at war. Birthed in a hostile environment,
the followers of Jesus, have been called out of this world (kosmos)
and sent back refurbished, recreated and regenerated to that same
world system. The difference being that once they were immersed
in the world’s culture, now they are immersed in the Lord’s
First Century paganism was bad. God’s
redeemed children were assaulted on every hand with its symbolism
and poisoning influence. The church withdrew from partaking in society’s
debauchery. They were hounded and persecuted because they didn’t
fit in. But they would not renounce their Savior.
They choose the best path that led to sacrifice
and hardship, which would result in a glorious eternity. They rejected
the good of this world leading to ease, defilement and damnation.
Now, two thousand years removed from those first
converts in the early church, we are likewise placed in a spiritual
and emotional vise. The spirit of this pagan culture still assaults
us from every angle, in fact, with greater ease and influence than
ever. While the culture is as raunchy as ever, we Christians are
less committed and less interested in preserving our distinct “holy”
walk. The world buys and sells Christians for little of nothing;
like Esau we are willing to sell our birthright or our blessing
for a mess of stew (or whatever that might picture in today’s
society, ________________________ you fill in the blank). Which
brings me to the current idiocy of the 24/7 mentality, or how Satan
is destroying people and families through the tool of the spirit
24/7 is the unofficial modes of operandi that
our culture is laboring under. We are open and working twenty-four
hours a day and that seven days a week. Doesn’t leave much
time for anything else, now does it?
Satan has conspired to help promote a spirit
of busyness. It is so intense that most people don’t have
time or energy in a week to consider the things that are really
important, the eternal quests. Most folks rush from home to work,
through work and back to home, but no relaxation there. Every night
of the week there can be something for them to be part of or to
be doing. Children that have been busy all day in public or private
school now must be whisked off to extra activities. Rush over to
this activity; hurry over to that special class, run over to another
practice and each one is so important and so critical to our child’s
well being. Or so we have been conned into thinking. Before long,
the children are just plain tired. Something has to give and the
thing that usually loses is most often the most important thing(s)
that they should be doing. School activities are equated high priority,
church or spiritual activities and fellowship get low priority.
There is the rub.
When anyone begins to buy into this present
culture’s mind-set, they begin to think that busyness is the
way of life and that God and His church are non-essential and certainly
non-effective. They do not see the importance of the church that
Jesus shed His precious blood for. They simply get tragically mired
in the urgency of the immediate. Everything is so important, so
vital and necessary. Book and over book the scheduled time. Book
and over book our children into so
many opportunities being offered. Run, run,
run. Go, go, go. Don’t spend time as a family at a dinner
or supper table, grab a carryout. Don’t have a family night
together; everyone has somewhere else to go. Don’t engage
in real communication, sharing heart and mind, it takes to much
time and we have to be…
I am going to make a radical suggestion (at
least it will appear to some of you to be so). This is my opinion
and yet I do believe that it is a correct evaluation and opinion.
Why don’t you just limit how much you will go and do and run?
Why don’t you limit how many clubs, organizations, and events
and so on that you or your children are allowed to participate in
during a week? You may think it might stunt growth, but in reality,
it probably will stimulate camaraderie, conversation, and concern
for one another and compassion for each individual. Stop allowing
this culture and the prince of wickedness to influence you. Decide
on the most necessary extra events, or event, that your children
need, and then simply forget about the rest. But don’t forget
about God. Don’t minimize the church and your time there.
We will have revival in this church and in the
church at large, when God’s people begin to intelligently
understand how important His church really is. It will begin when
folks start to reject the influence of the evil one and decide to
only allow themselves and their children to be scheduled a minimum
of their spare time. When they are not tired and haggard from long
days and the constant rushing from one location to another, and
they put as the first priority being in God’s house and fellowshipping
with God’s people, a death rattle will be heard in the throat
God is using this letter as a loving wake-up
clarion call, for some of our people and for you personally. You
need to purposely schedule time in God’s house, along with
God’s people. Set out to make it to all the mid-week services
our church will be providing, especially the Awana and children’s
programs. Don’t allow the schools or culture to dictate to
you how you should conduct your life and what values and activities
are really important. Joshua stood before his nation, as an old
man, and challenged them with the famous “Choose you this
day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve
the Lord.” It was about priorities, and commitment and loyalty.
Take a spiritual knife and dissect your over-booked schedule.
The demon of 24/7 will continue to take its
toll because so many [and some of them church members] do not even
realize that they are in servitude, in bondage to a hostile spirit.
They have given their sons and daughters over to its clutches and
will pay a terrible price for their misjudgment about what was really
important. But I am asking you to break away.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, break
away from the bondage of the flesh and the spirit of busyness. Kick
old 24/7 in the teeth and rearrange your schedule to something that
is more family friendly. You don’t have to run every night.
Hear me, you don’t have to be busy every night in this secular
culture. Your child doesn’t have to be involved in something
every day. Give them some time to relax and just enjoy being with
you. Put your family time and the church schedule back up in a place
of prominence. Place the service and worship of God center stage
once again, make it the highlight of the week’s activities,
not just a sidebar conversation.
I write these things because I see this 24/7
cultural influence in too many people. Children of our church can
not get to Sunday School because parents are so tired from weird
and stressing work schedules and from not resting when they could
and should have. Business cares not a whit for faith and family
and will want you to sacrifice your children just as long as its
coffers are full. Don’t trade the short time you have with
your children as they grow for a few dollars that the Scripture
says “takes wings and flies away.” Many parents think
they must be socially acceptable and one way is to allow their children
to be in everything imaginable, to keep up with the “Jones”
children. So, almost without constraint, they allow their kids to
sign up for one commitment after another and they push and prod
their kids to the point of exhaustion. We would be upset if one
of our parents was guilty of child abuse, but some are not far from
it, the way that they allow unfettered busyness to wear down and
stress out a child.
By now some of you are thinking that the pastor
is a little strong or a little wrong here. But I must warn you when
I have cause to or I am not a shepherd that cares for his sheep.
I challenge you. Stop. Take a long look at how much running around
you are doing. Try keeping a log on how much and how far and how
often you are busy during the week. Evaluate the most important,
the eternal over the temporal, and cut away that which is doing
nothing more than placing you into bondage of the spirit of busyness,
the unnecessary ill of 24/7. It you would, not only would you have
a greater measure of normalcy and sanity in your personal life and
in your home; you would also find yourself fulfilled in doing the
important things well. The important things are not necessarily
the busy temporal things, they are the things that will last forever
and we will face in God’s presence.
The Holy Spirit of God is waiting to fill
you with peace, comfort and joy, but will you take the time to receive
what He has to offer.