We often hear in the business and financial world, that so and so bank or institution is going to be bankrupt or it has been bankrupted. Sometimes the external activities and business goes as usual but internally the institution is finished. The people who work inside better understand the conditions of the failure than those people on the outside; they know the minute details of the failure of this institution.
Certainly in the bankruptcy of an institution, there are factors of the past which are related to the present situation. For example, they may hire more staff than what is needed, or they pay more than what is due, above the qualifications of staff. There are financial irregularities, embezzlement, or fraud. Some start with new projects then go into financial loss, not having the proper knowledge or correct information about future circumstances or situations; spend more with less income. Perhaps it is lack of information with regard to the fluctuation of the financial market, or incorrect or wrong information with investor’s money. Maybe they lack a serious attitude about the future, and don’t properly follow the rules and regulations of the institution. There is also the possibility that officials misuse their authority.
The same thing takes place in the spiritual realm. Sometimes a believer regularly reads the word of God, he prays regularly, goes to church and gives his tithe. He may sing, or play a musical instrument in the church service, partake in the Lord’s Table, and sometimes he is active in full-time ministry. But, secretly or internally, there is some issue, a problem of sin which has been going on for a long time. Like a termite with small bites, it gradually works to deteriorate the spiritual building,. Then one day the building collapses and becomes a heap of rubble.
Once an international speaker wrote, “My diary is full with next year’s programs but my spirit is inwardly empty.” That is a very bold statement; he humbled himself to share it. It is sad to say that there are some people who are hesitant and frightened to tell such things.
Religious and Spiritual Performance and Acting.
It means that sometimes we know everything and understand it what is right and what is wrong, but we ignore all these things. We do our own will and lead our life according to our choices. Some people seem very innocent, fine, gentle, sweet and spiritual. They portray an excellent impression to the people around them. But they know very well their internal or subjective spiritual condition. They will act like godly people but they are not:
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).
These people are excellent performers and actors. They make it very difficult for people to distinguish between truth and lies. Beware! This is a very serious and dangerous situation. The spiritual building or castle that we build may at any time tremble and crash to the ground. After this happens we lose our credibility. How can we handle this situation?
What are the consequences of spiritual performance and acting?
A. Fruitless Personal Life.
The believer’s life is fruitless. The soil of his heart is dry, stony, and barren. There are thorns and thistles. There are many thorny bushes in his life. Nobody is benefited or blessed by the life of such a person. People stumble and run away from the Lord Jesus Christ. Such people repel other people from the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Fruitless Ministry
There are people who serve the Lord to a great extent; rapidly you see the fruit is very visible. But after a while the fruit disappears or it falls down. It is like this: There is a sick tree, it bears fruit but there are insects in the fruit or the fruit drops before it ripens. Just think for a while, what is the use of such fruit? There are many people whose ministry is like this. It is written in the Word of God:
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16).
There is no issue in bearing less fruit or much fruit, but it is important that the fruit we do bring forth should remain. It happens like this: A lot of activity, but the result is zero. Only God can make our ministry and labor fruitful. When our thinking, our attitude, our thoughts, our imaginations work in the right direction; when we serve the Lord faithfully, and honestly with a clear conscious, with holiness, good intentions, and hard work. When we serve with passion, zeal and enthusiasm, and stand firm on our vision—that is when the Lord God bears lasting fruit through us.
The story of Samson in the Word of God can teach us a great lesson. Here’s the warning:
“And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, ‘I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself free.’ And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him” (Judges 16:20).
Prior to his birth Samson was a brave and bold person. An angel of God informed his parents, prior to his birth, that Samson would be a Nazarite to God, destined to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
He was a strong man who, in his youth tore apart a young lion like a lamb:
“And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done” (Judges 14:6).
He killed thirty men:
“And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house” (Judges 14:19).
He killed one thousand men with the jawbone of an ass:
“And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith” (Judges 15:15).
The angel told Samson’s mother that the boy “will be the Nazarite of God from the womb. Don’t drink any wine or anything intoxicating, nor shall you eat anything unholy.” As a young man Samson became rebellious and broke most of the Nazarite vows—all but cutting his hair. He had a feast where wine was consumed. He took honey from a dead lion’s skeleton and ate it. He went to a harlot. He fell in love with Delilah and married this Philistine woman who worshiped other gods.
“And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah (Judges 16:4).
Samson was deeply in love with Delilah for a long time. And step by step there came a decline and bankruptcy in his spiritual life. Gradually he went deeper into the mud, the marsh.
Delilah continuously asked about the secret of his strength but he never responded. At last he became so irritated with her questions that he told her the secret of his strength; “As a Nazarite unto God no razor has been used on my head. If my hair is removed then my strength will be gone; I will be weak and like other men.”
So at her first opportunity, Delilah shaved his head and started tormenting him. His strength was gone:
“And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him” (Judges 16:19).
Then she said to him, “Samson! The Philistines have come upon you!” He woke from his sleep and said, “I will go out and like before I will shake myself free.” But he did not know that God had departed from him:
“And she said, ‘The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.’ And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, ‘I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself’. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him” (Judges 16:20).
This is a very tragic picture of God’s Nazarite. This is also a picture of a believer and of the church, showing how believers and the church compromise with the world. Samson had a feast where wine was consumed. He ate honey from the carcass of a lion, and he married a Gentile. It is written in the Word of God;
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Gradually, with the color and influence of the world, the effects of compromise start to enter the life of a believer. In the same manner these influences start to enter the Church. Then a time comes when the believer and the Church both surrender to the cultural norms, the desires and the values of the world. The world enters into the life of the believer and the Church. These negative values, thoughts, attitudes and manners enter into the spiritual life of a believer like the germs of cancer then believers, and often the Church, become the prey of spiritual bankruptcy.
Of course it is very important for believers and the Church to go into the world. But they should impact the world, not allow the world to enter in and take control of them. This is a very terrifying and dangerous situation, that a believer who thinks God is with him and he is with God but in truth he (the believer) has left God due to his disobedience and sin, time and time again. It is written in the Word of God;
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:17-18).
Sometimes we think that visible and material things are the blessings of God. Although these things are very important for our daily survival, these material things are not a real sign of God’s blessings. There is something more than this, something richer. These visible, material standards can be a sign toward spiritual bankruptcy. It is written that you are “wretched, poor, blind and naked…” in matters of the spirit. We need to be richer in spiritual things compared to worldly wealth. It is the desire of God that we should be spiritually rich. We should be rich in spiritual works, spiritual qualities, attributes and spiritual characteristics, so that the fruit of the Holy Spirit can be seen in our lives, that is;
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Jesus was rich, the Creator of heaven and earth, Sustainer, all the wealth which is on the earth is His, all the minerals under the earth in the form of silver, gold, diamonds, all the things which are in the ocean such as pearls, He is the owner of everything. Yet He became poor for your sake. How did he become poor? He left all the grandeur, power, glory, authority, and control that was His and came to earth as a human being. There was no room for Him in Bethlehem’s inn, so after His birth He was placed in a manger in a stable. He had no bed; he did not own a house.
“And Jesus said unto him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head’” (Luke 9:58).
He did not have his own boat; He always used other people’s boats. He did not have his own donkey to ride, and at the time of His death He did not have His own grave. This was his poverty, humbleness and lowliness. Through His poverty, you and I may become rich in good deeds. We may be strong in our inner man, strong with God in our personal relationship. We may serve others. We may become rich in peace, patience, self-control, carriers of other people’s burdens, humble, live selflessly, and be rich in faith.
We should win souls for Jesus; we should stand with those who suffer. We need to come out of spiritual bankruptcy. There is a great need of spiritual restoration and revival. We need to be spiritually rich so the fruit of the Holy Spirit may be visible in our lives.
May the Lord make us all spiritually rich.