by A.W. Tozer
If that is all we could see, I would say, “Thank God for a pure church in the midst of all this night! Thank God for a pure Bride of Christ shining forth His light in the midst of this present darkness!” But I cannot say that and tell the truth. The Christian church, instead of floating high above it all, free and clean and separated, finds her poor old boat leaking water from every seam. The church and the world have become so intertwined that it is hard to tell one from the other. The world has so affected the church’s moral standards that Christians say they believe in Christ and yet have never bothered to change their moral attitudes and standards at all.
As in John’s day, so it is in ours. The religious leaders were defending themselves and their traditions. They wanted to be left alone. They wanted to stand approved. They did not want to be disturbed. They wanted to go to church because “it is so peaceful there.” They wanted to go to church so they could feel good. But all around them the wilderness conditions prevailed.
The cowardly leaders made converts, but it was to the morally purposeless and vain manners of the day. Now we preach the gospel, we say, and make converts—but we make converts to the wilderness, too! We make converts to the futility, the emptiness of a compromised church. I do not know if God will raise up another John the Baptist before the second advent of our Lord. If He should do so, one of the first things the church should get set for is to be disturbed—deeply disturbed. Perhaps even angered!
I assess the church of which I am pastor. Common honesty requires me to say that, compared with the average church, it is a good church. A large percentage of the members are good people and moral people. They could lead in prayer if called upon to do so. Many of them could help a seeking person find Christ. They contribute generously to missions and to other good causes. But even in my own congregation, how much disorder there is!
Compared with what the church ought to be, how much disorder there is in our lives—spiritual disorder in our lives and in our hearts! How much waste there is! There is waste of the vital gifts of God, waste of abilities of life and time. The wilderness is characterized by waste. And spaces that have gone to waste are no good to God or man.
You, perchance, may have to admit that the condition I have been describing describes your life, as well. Your heart may be more like a wilderness than like a garden, more like the stretches beyond Jordan than like the garden of God. Very little grows in the wilderness, and nothing really matures. If there is any fruit, it is scrubby. If there is any grain, it is inferior because of the barrenness.
I ask you, what will you have to show our Lord for your service? How tragic for a person to have been born again and yet to have no fruit to show for his or her Christian faith. How tragic to live life without having actually done anything for Christ!
From Faith Beyond Reason by A.W. Tozer