04 December 2021
Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If any one loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away, and also the lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NASB 1977)
Others have said it better than I: Western Civilization celebrates the Curse of the Fall. It is by far the most worldly civilization in human history. All other civilizations so far have more in common with each other than any of them have with the West. The West is uniquely damned. The whole orientation of the West is those three lusts, the same ones that tempted Eve in the Garden -- lust of the flesh ("good for food"), lust of the eyes ("delight to the eyes") and the boastful pride of human existence ("desirable to make one wise"). They are the same trio offered in the Wilderness Temptation of Christ -- instant food from rocks, the spectacle of jumping from the pinnacle of the Temple Plaza, and the arrogance of human political rule. These are the ultimate "good" things in the West; it's the foundation and fabric of "reality". There is no room for peace with God.
Have you ever noticed how Westerners engage in circular reasoning about everything? All countries and their politics are judged by the same standard that drives the West (not to mention blatant hypocrisy). A civilization is "good" or "bad" based on how Western it is. The West is arrogantly proud of itself for materialism and fallen standards of value.
It shows up in legal cases in the US. It is flatly illegal to be non-materialistic. Judges have castigated people for being otherworldly. Cases have been adjudicated on the presumption that a material obsession with it's incessant future orientation ("saving for a rainy day") is the only proper way to look at life. Every time it becomes an issue for the court to consider, the materialist view always wins.
Notice how the so-called higher ideals of what is true and beautiful also rests on the lust of the eyes, not on what is moral or eternal. Even most church folks react as if it's some kind of tragedy that "great art" is lost in any way. How much howling came from so-called Christian leaders when ISIS blew up the Buddhist statues carved into a mountain side? Let me assure you, the Hebrews did the same thing when they invaded Canaan Land, and God flatly commanded it. Civilization and high artistic culture built on pagan idolatry is evil on this earth. Artistic values mean nothing in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever fails to glorify Him belongs in Hell.
There's no music that compares with singing birds, chirping crickets, the wind in the trees or water washing over/against obstacles. There is no thrill like joining that celebration in the Creator's glory. There is no beauty like a simple flower, a sunrise peeking through clouds, or tall grass waving in the breeze. There is no human aspiration that compares to majestic mountains, stars in the sky, or ants rebuilding a crushed burrow.
And don't get me started talking about the arrogance of American culture. Humility is a sin USA. It's treason to repent of American lustful values of arrogance, materialism and shallow artistic values. Truly following Jesus into humility and trust in God is anathema. Don't you dare talk about the sins of America! And the elitist stuff is just as bad, another flavor of arrogance and self worship.
Have you seen how the new entrepreneurial churches turn worship into mere entertainment? It's not that good artistry hinders you from entering the Lord's Presence, but that far too many people get lost in the music before they get to God. Worship leaders have gotten into this procedure of blasting the music so loud that it doesn't really matter if the congregation is singing. The people aren't changed, only emotionally stirred. They get spoiled and can't "worship" without slick artistry. They are shrines of self worship.
God defines truth and beauty. They are aspects of His personal existence; He is the standard. Truth is not a thing; it's a Person. Anything dedicated to a departure from His revelation is part of the Curse of the Fall. Your church can worship without great music; people can meet with God when they can't carry a tune. Leading worship is not a profession; it's a sacred office that considers the musical virtuosity as only secondary. Truth is not what moves you emotionally, of what makes sense to you. Truth is what changes you by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's too easy to let the emotions substitute for the Holy Spirit.
It matters not how talented and educated we are; we are nothing without the Lord. It is in this sense that we should not refer to a building as a "church" but we should prefer the term "church house" or something similar. In Christ, there are no sacred temples in this world; His people are His temple. This is not a time for iconoclast destruction, but simply a change of orientation. Stop paying attention to the physical aspects. Move away from the three lusts. Learn to focus on the divine Presence regardless of the setting. You can worship the Lord sitting on the toilet, when it comes to that.
Can you abandon that fancy home, the nice car, that sweet computer hardware, when the Lord calls you to something else for His glory? Can you get by on a baloney sandwich if that's what He makes available on some mission? How about starving to death because that's the price of obedience? Some day Christ is coming back, and everything that greets your five senses will be wiped away. It will be restored to what it was before we left the Garden. Everything mankind has accomplished will be forgotten. Only what God has done in us will stand in Eternity. Your life on this earth is just a tool for His glory, and it's meant to be used up and discarded at His whim.
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