I was thinking about the “affinity” people have for their “church”, that place where they worship and have vested their faith. Like most believers, I too viewed “my church” with “rose colored” glasses, that is until the day God ambushed me with a single question, asked at 3 different times throughout the so-called “worship service”.
God: My son, what do you see?
Me: I see a pipe organ, Lord.
When I’d answered Him, He replied in a shockingly truthful way.
God: That’s right, this church worships a pipe organ.
His answer left me cross-eyed, as if I’d just been hit across the forehead with a spiritual 4×4. It took years to receive that truth. In fact, my initial reaction was one of disbelief and questioning; “what do you mean they worship a pipe organ”, I protested.
It turns out, the answer is rather simple. The scriptures say “God does not live in temples made by man” (Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24). Thus going to a man-made temple to worship God, whom scripture says is not there, is worship in vain (Mark 7:7). Worship, by definition*, is the prostrating of oneself before the person or object of worship. So, since God has deserted man-made temples (Matthew 23:38) and since that church has neither cross, nor banner, nor anything else above the altar, then from God’s perspective, the congregation worships the pipe organ before which they prostrate themselves. (For more concerning the author’s thoughts on worship, please see the posts Worship Services (link) and To worship in Spirit and in Truth (link)).
A primitive root; to depress, that is, prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): – bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.
Awakening from that kind of slumber is difficult and harsh. Spiritual truths only God can reveal (1 Cor. 2:13-14, et al), fall like hammer blows as the human understanding we’ve leaned upon for a lifetime (Proverbs 3:5-6), collapse like the walls of Jericho. Emotionally, such a rude awakening must be like coming home from school and discovering your own mother engaged in prostitution. “She’s my mother” says the heart while facts say “she’s a prostitute.” The emotional discomfort of such contradictory truths hinders acceptance. And so the mind, in trying to reconcile the two extremes, often discounts God’s truth in order to conceal the sin that truth so clearly illuminates.
“My church (or pastor, etc.) isn’t as bad as the others” we try to convince ourselves, or “the church does a lot of good” we counter. Yet, upon examining the many falsehoods the church has led us to believe, every church of man is as bad as every other to the extent that they have made us into “sons of hell”.
Speaking for myself, I have nothing to boast about in coming into truth, for the Lord had to drag me out of bondage and grind mud in my eyes before I could see. The truths He revealed to me, were initially more shocking and terrifying than any horror movie I’ve ever seen. Memory of the experience brings to mind that passage in Revelation, wherein the people plead with the mountains to fall upon them, to hide from the face of God (Revelation 6:16). Such was the horror of what God revealed to me about that which I’d believed in and helped to build for half a lifetime.
It is for that reason, the shock of spiritual truth, that I can empathize with anyone who chooses to remain in man’s church. Perhaps delusion is God’s gift for those who simply “can’t handle the truth”. Though really, such vanity only postpones the inevitable.
Truth is coming and we are required to face Him.