To say we live in a fast-paced society would be something of an understatement. Never has there been a time in all the world when man has had more conveniences and time saving devices, than in the present day. Yet men are seemingly more consumed with activity than ever before. We are all so busy about many things. Rushing here and rushing there. (see Nahum 2:2; Isa.17:13) Little time is spent in enjoying or recognizing the simple blessings of life. Many can only be satisfied with something bigger or better than their neighbor. Everyone is under pressure to produce more for less in shorter periods of time. Scarcely does a new product hit the market than a cheap imitation of it is already on the shelves. New inventions are obsolete by the time they can be produced. The majority seem willing to sacrifice quality and service for the lowest price. Some don't even know that such a choice could be made. Truth in advertising has given way to hyperbola and exaggeration. We live in a discount world that seldom considers the ultimate price that is being paid. We have become a nation enslaved by its appetites and held hostage to its insatiable desire. Sadly, much of this attitude is carried over into the (supposed) spiritual realm which is manifested in modern day religion and religiosity.
Most modern day preaching more closely resembles a pep rally than the laying out of scriptural principles, line by line. More effort is put on stirring men up to action than in seeking to mold them in the image of CHRIST. "Whom shall HE teach knowledge? and whom shall HE make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." (Isaiah 28:9-10). There are few places in the earth where such tedious work will be tolerated. The religious flesh of men wants to see action, results, and new converts. Many who call themselves Christians don't have time to wait on such a slow process, they want to see something happen right now. They are willing to submit themselves and others to the process of stirring up the flesh in order to have something they can be proud to be a part of. Never before in my short lifetime have I seen more endeavors in building things for religious flesh to glory in than in the present time. Whether it's buildings (most of gargantuan proportion), sports programs, clown ministries, radio and TV audiences, youth programs (that are no different than any other worldly club except that they read a scripture or two and say a prayer), or any number of other mighty deeds, they all center on some work that can be seen and felt.
We are certainly not trying to say that all of these endeavors are wrong or that some good might not come as a result of them. We are attempting to point out that these things are not the necessary things that the true believer should be pursuing with all of his heart. The growth of GOD's people, both in stature and numbers, only really occurs as the SPIRIT of GOD gives the increase. "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psalms 127:1) The way of the LORD in building HIS city, is not one fraught with great rushing about. In fact, sometimes it seems as though very little progress is being made. But GOD is the trier of men's hearts, HE is more concerned with their devotion than their activity. (see John 4:21-24; Isa. 66:1,2) There are no shortcuts to growth in faith and experimental knowledge in the things of GOD. This cannot be received in some soul stirring, unexplainable experience nor can it be taught in a one-week seminar. Most of the lessons that we truly learn are the result of much struggle because of the sinful nature that we war against continually. (see Rom.7:23-25) Sometimes it may seem as though we take two steps forward and one step back. Yet the LORD is not frustrated nor anxious about our progress for it is HE who works in us "both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure." (Phil.2:13) Everything is right on time.
Religious men (often well meaning) think that they can devise programs and methods that will produce spiritual growth. They are often convinced that some plan that "worked" today will "work" again by duplicating the conditions of the first "success". One great leader of a church somewhere puts some plan into action which produces (at least momentarily) a great result. He becomes convinced (and others concur) that if he can teach other men "how they did it" then those men can produce similar "results". For example, many believe that a great "revival" has taken place in a West Florida. (Whether it has or not is not for me to say. I am a great skeptic of such phenomena however). As a result, many have visited these goings on in the belief that they could learn some "secret of success" and be able to duplicate this in their own area. Others have learned the "secret" of building large "successful" churches and are willing to share this "insight" with others as long as they have got the money to buy their "book". GOD is not a cookie cutter. HE works in unique ways each time HE desires to manifest HIMSELF to men. HE is able to equip each one of HIS servants with exactly what they need to accomplish what HE intends them to do. They do not need second hand methods. Yesterday's manna breeds worms today.
GOD first told David to go and slay the Philistines, which thing David did. The Philistines later regrouped and David set out to go forth into battle as he had before, but the LORD prevented it and told him to wait under some mulberry trees until he heard the wind blowing in their tops, When such a rustling was heard then he could go into battle for the LORD had already gone forth before him to ensure a victory. The enemy may always be the same, but plan of battle is not always the same. The LORD will ensure that HE gets the glory and that a victory will be won when HE sends men into battle. "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:31)mam