If ever there was a complete and utter waste of public money it's surely the cost of placing 20 mph signs in the street where I live! Now I know the road is long, straight and intensely tempting, but these signs are routinely ignored by all but a steadily diminishing minority who still believe in respecting authority.
DANGER ON THE STREETS
Every now and then however, we'll see a couple of 'boys in blue' brandishing what looks like a cordless hairdryer attempting to catch some unsuspecting speedster. But then that's not strictly true. They're not in blue. They wear jackets of fluorescent yellow and, with their multi-coloured car nearby, all but a half blind motorist (who shouldn't be driving anyway) could spot them a mile away before hitting the brake pedal.
Now of course I'm not trying to point out some police naivete. Far from it. There are good reasons why they operate radar traps as they do. No, for me this is a classic example of how we would be foolish in the extreme not to take corrective action when we recognise danger. And of course the same principle applies within the Christian church.
DANGER IN THE CHURCH
Our enemy, Satan, employs a number of tactics to try to hinder the work of the gospel. We must realise that although he's a defeated enemy he's fighting a rearguard action to try to take as many down with him as he can. Of course, some of his tactics are obvious, though others are much more subtle. For example, those of us who have been Jesus followers for a while will recognise that more and more of the world's standards and values are surreptitiously seeping into the church, under the radar as it were. But then this is no new thing. It was called out by AW Tozer many years ago when he wrote...
“The real peril today arises from within the fold of orthodox believers.
It consists of an acceptance of the world's values... The lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eyes and the pride of life have all been Christianized and
are now being offered along with Christ to everyone who will 'believe'.”
Now you may consider this view a bit extreme and that I'm simply voicing the outdated attitude of the older generation. But to my mind there's a great deal of truth in this warning... and we'll fail to heed it to our ultimate cost.
For example, any form of public ministry (and perhaps music's in greater danger of this than most) can begin to resemble a performance; the platform a stage; the congregation an audience; the Sunday worship service a form of entertainment; with at times applause the measure of approval.
But when all aspects of ministry are for the glory of God ALONE an awareness of His presence can fill the sanctuary as we...
“worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our
'God is a consuming fire.”'
Hebrews 12: 28-29
So let's be on our guard... and be jealous for His glory... and His glory alone!