For 18 months I applied myself to various church jobs, hoping to spark something, anything, that resembled revival. Yet it seemed the harder I worked, the worse the situation became. Finally the Lord said to me:
Get out of the way and let it fail.
His words blew me away. In fact, I questioned whether or not it was the Lord speaking to me since I felt it was blasphemous to suggest that the church should fail. But the Lord showed me the church was not a building, nor the religious institution with all its programs most people identify as the church, but simply the children of God coming together as family to live in community with God and one another. The Lord went on to speak to me about building on sand and that He is doing as He has always done: sending wind, rain and waves to test our houses for whether or not we’ve built on the Rock.
Therefore, everyone who hears what I say and obeys it will be like a wise person who built a house on rock. Rain poured, and floods came. Winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not collapse, because its foundation was on rock. “Everyone who hears what I say but doesn’t obey it will be like a foolish person who built a house on sand. Rain poured, and floods came. Winds blew and struck that house. It collapsed, and the result was a total disaster. (Matthew 7:24-27 GW)
When God sends the wind, rain and waves to test the foundation and we are laboring to prop it back up while it is falling apart, we are working against God and we are enabling the church to continue in it’s vain works.
Time and again I have heard those I worked with lament the failure of a church program as the “work of the devil”. But with God’s words to me: get out of the way and let it fail, I no longer think it is the devil’s doing behind the failure of our vain works. I believe it is God who is still throwing down towers of Babel.
And really, what was the tower of Babel if not a vain work?
Babel was man’s effort to reach God. Interestingly, the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 indicates God simply confused the speech of the peoples and scattered them so they could no longer cooperate in such prideful endeavors as building a tower to reach the heavens. I recall a few movies that depicted the tower itself being destroyed, but that isn’t supported by scripture that I can find. It could be said that God simply derailed the “Tower of Babel” program!
And so, of the programs in man’s traditional church, which more often than not are the vain efforts of men to draw closer to God, or to build a church for God (which is already built in and by Christ), doesn’t it stand to reason that God still frustrates our vain efforts (Romans 8:20-21, 1 Corinthians 1:18-19)?
Creation was subjected to frustration but not by its own choice. The one who subjected it to frustration did so in the hope that it would also be set free from slavery to decay in order to share the glorious freedom that the children of God will have. (Romans 8:20-21 GW)
The message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. Scripture says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise. I will reject the intelligence of intelligent people.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19 GW)
The next time a church program fails, don’t credit the devil with it. Instead, repent from vain works and give thanks to God who finished the work of Salvation in Christ Jesus!