At first glance, it seems difficult to understand why American culture is increasingly secular and anti-Christ. After all, there are more churches, pastors, youth programs, Bible conferences and other church-related activities than ever before. What’s the deal? Clearly, the Holy Spirit isn’t involved in a lot of what American churches are doing.
Of course, this isn’t a new phenomenon. For example, in Revelation, Jesus gave seven different churches report cards. One of them, the church at Ephesus, was very doctrinally sound and its members were doing lots of works (Revelation 2:1-3). Yet, there was a serious problem. Jesus told the Ephesian Christians “But I have something against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). To put into perspective how serious this was, Christ commanded them to repent or else He would remove their lampstand (Revelation 2:5-7). What does removing a lampstand mean exactly? Well, followers of Jesus are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). So if any Christian stops shining the light of Christ, there’s no reason for them to have a lampstand, is there? In other words, Jesus warned the Ephesian Christians that if they continued down the path of man-driven ministry efforts and intellectual vanity, they would fall away from the faith.
Later on in Revelation, we find that Jesus is standing outside of the church at Laodicea and asking if He can be let in (Revelation 3:20). That’s right, Jesus wasn’t allowed at His own church. It seems shocking, but it’s more common than people realize. Like the Ephesians and the Laodiceans, these days, many Christian leaders have fallen more in love with their ministries than with the Holy Spirit. As a result, they’ve completely planned Him out of His own church. If you attend church, you know the routine. You listen to four songs, hear some announcements, pass around the offering and sit through a recycled message that might sound good but will probably lead to no action in the community. You may have some small talk to wrap things up, but not if you attend a megachurch where anonymity is the norm. Let’s be real. Not only is this boring, but it’s also not what God intends for churches.
Jesus said “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Followers of Jesus should be spontaneous, unpredictable, untamable and uncontrollable, because our decisions aren’t driven by our own reasoning or the demands of this world. We’re under the ownership of the Holy Spirit, and He’s looking for yielded men and women who will not plan every little detail of their lives and pass it off as if it were ‘God’s will.’ He’s looking for people who will cooperate with Him, who will be led by Him, as the Bible says “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28).