The church (not America) is meant to be seen by the world as the nation blessed by God. The nation of Israel is the Biblical example of this. God commanded Israel’s separation from the surrounding nations (and their gods) that they might be the example of an obedient people abundantly and unusually blessed by God. Furthermore, Israel was to be the counter-culture people who God used to bless the nations.

Israel’s prosperity and protection were dependent on fidelity to God, accompanied by deliberate and systematic rejection of all other gods. Regrettably, God’s people chose disobedience and became an example of those punished by a loving Father. Their persistent desire to be like the others was born out of the rebellious nature they inherited from Adam and Eve. Eventually, their rebellion led to captivity and destruction.

To recognize the warning, we must apply the natural example of Israel to the spiritual nature of the church. What exists in the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom ultimately manifests in the natural world. However, we must understand that the natural is symptomatic (i.e., result and evidence) of the spiritual reality of God’s supernatural kingdom. In other words, it is fruit on the tree, good or bad dependent on our fidelity to God (Matthew 12:33).

Regrettably, this explains why Western civilization has become so unimpressed by the church and why there is no fear of the God that seems to have abandoned her. This condition is not the world’s fault. Acts 2:42-43 comes to mind.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

In response to the 1st Century church’s fidelity, God showed up, and every soul knew He was there!! Which of these four disciplines can we now say are steadfastly continued in the Western church? Has this lack of discipline not caused much of our current dismal state?

It is important to recognize that these spiritual disciplines, and the wonders and signs that followed, are physical manifestations of a spiritual condition. This leads us to a concluding conundrum.

How does the church, like Israel, separate itself unto God and remain the light of the world?

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23

Isn’t it interesting that we become the light of the world by maintaining our separation from it? Like Israel, the church must first love God and His children more than the world and its gods, and it must be made perfect in unity, for the world to recognize Whose we are.

It makes one wonder what God might do in response to a faithful steadfastness in the simple disciplines of our faith. Perhaps it is time to humbly ask God how we got so far off track. What has distracted us from the road that leads to eternal life (and away from captivity and destruction)?

God bless you with courage to ask the hard questions of yourself and those in your spheres of influence.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob