‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’….. (Lk 19:46).
I think if Jesus walked into many churches today He would start turning over some tables in people’s hearts.
The issue in the temple was that some people had set up tables to buy, sell and trade, using God’s house for their own benefit. In essence, they became consumers, not of God’s holiness, but of their own profit.
I wonder how many consumer-centered hearts Jesus would find in the modern-day church? Probably more than we’d like to admit. As I have traveled around the world I have witnessed and experienced a very different feel while at church. In the American church, the church often feels like something nice that nice people do. In other parts of the world, I have sat in worship services where there was a raw hunger for God. Those were the times I experienced God in the most real ways, while in a house church in India of about 20 people and another small church of about 30. Also, another time while sitting in a small church of about 40 people in El Salvador.
In the American church, because we’re so terribly concerned about appearances and well-polished programs, sometimes, I think we forget to prepare the sanctuary to welcome God in. I think we believe that happens through a set of songs, but I don’t think that’s true. I think it happens through humility, repentance, and people who are hungry for God. Can that then come through a song? Yes, of course, but the song, liturgy, or whatever else we use is not what ushers in the power of God.
There’s a different approach that we must start taking to the church that has nothing to do with what church “looks like,” but everything to do with how, we, the individual approach church. I must remove distractions from my heart and mind. I must be willing to let God do inventory in me. Truly, if we really allowed the Holy Spirit to go somewhere in our hearts in need of refinement, every person, including the church staff would be at the altar, crying out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
The problem is our pride and our mindset of what church is supposed to be for us. I wonder how many churches Jesus would walk into and His first response would be to weep because how far they have fallen from following Him. What would happen if we just got back to God? What would happen if we stopped caring so much about what church “looked like” to others and we started simply loving people and being honest about our own struggles with sin? Sometimes I think we treat church like an Instagram page. We want our spot it in to be seen as attractive and well put together, so instead of going to hard places we hide behind a pretty smile.
Until we come great expectations, not of what’s in it for me, but what can God start to do in me, we’ll just do church. I don’t want to just do church. I want to see true spiritual revival. I want to see hearts changed because I came with a heart willing to let God change mine. After all, the church is as a hospital for the broken not a country club for well-polished people.
Lord, make us new. We forget about your greatness because we are often more concerned with our own. Father, forgive us for our lack of humility. Forgive us for our pride. Forgive us that we are like sheep without a Shepherd. Forgive us that we have made church more about us than about you. Bring revival in our midst. We need brand new hearts. I need a brand-new heart, in Jesus name, Amen.