Many things in life are illusions, deceptions and counterfeits. If we have the Spirit of God as our counsel, and a healthy hunger for the truth, then this soon becomes obvious. The more we walk the walk of faith, the more we come to realize how little in this life is honest, real, and lasting.
An example of this that I was thinking over recently, is the counterfeit of stimulation which is mistaken many times for life in the Spirit. Our culture has become a master at distraction through stimulation. Many in the church have been infected, resulting in certain atmospheres in worship, or concerts. Or obsessions with mundane activities such as exercise, diet and health in general just to name a few examples.
Are atmospheres, and activities wrong in and of themselves? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. But the greater problem is sometimes not to find the answer to that question. The greater problem is that many in the church who have found man-made stimulation, mistake it for the anointed assistance or presence of God. As a result, many people pursue more stimulation of the same kind instead of pursuing God Himself. This can become a real problem.
If you are asking why this would be a problem, then my case is well made. If we have lost sight of why mistaking the common things in life for the anointed and holy presence and assistance of God, then we have a lot of problems on our hands as a church.
Do you suppose for example, that the person who finds delight in the emotional stimulation he receives from a concert style worship session, and thinks the emotions he is experiencing is God’s presence, is going to hunger for the real thing? The answer to this question depends probably on this person’s level of delight and trust in the stimulation he is receiving. Some people hunger and find God’s presence despite the distraction, but my point is, it does not help.
Same with the obsessions with health, diet and exercise. Many have practically made a religion of these things. They are stimulated with a level of control they have found in feeling good physically and emotionally. Some say they have drawn closer to God with these things, so apparently they believe there is spiritual value here. That is where the problem starts. Once we believe there is spiritual value in something, then there is no need to apply the brakes at any point, or to find balance. The more we do of it the better.
I am not saying there is no place for some of these things, or that there is no value in them. But this is what the Bible says about it: 1 Timothy 4:8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. –ESV
So basically in this example we can focus on our bodies and achieve some value in this life alone, but godliness has value now and eternally. And it is this way with every stimulation this world has to offer. Some stimulations are downright wrong to begin with, but even the ones that are not, can become an idol—a point of focus that shifts our thoughts, adoration and worship away from the one true God.
So let’s diminish along with our stimulants, and let Him increase. All we have to offer to God are filthy rags anyway. We can’t do anything to impress Him. Our greatest dazzling feats in the name of Jesus are nothing if they are of our own contrivance. Let’s be worshipers of the one true God, and not of some passing distraction or stimulation this world flashes before us. In Him there is true life, and power.