THE MONASTERY MENTALITY (Part 2)

Contrary to popular opinion, darkness doesn’t overcome light, but light overcomes darkness. According to the Apostle John, when “the light shines in the darkness the darkness [cannot] overcome it” (John 1:5). Think about it; all of the darkness in the universe cannot overcome the least little perceptible light.

Why are we, the light of the world, on the run in these dark days? We shouldn’t be cowering in today’s world; neither should we be retreating from it. Instead, we should be charging into it! We shouldn’t be on the defensive, with a monastery mentality, but on the offensive, with an attack mentality. After all, “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised us that “the gates of hell” could “not prevail against” His church. Many misinterpret these words of our Lord as defensive rather than offensive. They believe that the church will survive in the end by the hair of its “chinny chin chin.” In other words, if we’ll only hunker down and hold on, the forces of hell will not prevail against us, no matter how much they pummel us.

Ask yourself this question: “Have you ever seen gates jump off their hinges and attack anyone?” Gates don’t attack you; you attack them. Christ’s words in Matthew 16:18 are not defensive, but offensive. The church is not being pictured as under attack, but as on the attack. It is not pictured as under siege by Satan, but as storming the gates of hell itself. Furthermore, Christ promises that His charging church cannot be held back, not even by the gates of hell. Christ’s church is promised to prevail!

“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” (C. T. Studd)

THE MONASTERY MENTALITY (Part 1)

Unfortunately, biblical morality is viewed in these politically correct times as little more than the avoidance of so-called evils. God’s saints are seen as spiritual shrinking violets cowering in church corners from the pollution of today’s profane culture. We are supposedly party-poopers threatened by revelry. We are terrified at the thought of rock music blaring in our ears and tobacco smoke blown in our faces. Therefore, we continuously constrict ourselves in order to avoid all worldly corruption.

When our faith is viewed as a religion of rigidity and we as religionists obsessed with whittling down life to ever smaller but safer spheres, the church appears to the world as a diminutive place and we as a rather dwarfish people. Why should others desire to step out of the whole wide world into the midst of cloistered congregates in some closeted church? This perception of modern-day saints being so scared of sin that we fence ourselves off from all that is untoward is counterproductive to our winning of converts. It makes us appear to a sin-loving world as those who are always in frantic flight from vivacity.

If we are to be effective evangelists in our present-day world, we must convince others that our avoidance of sin is not a matter of cowardice, but of preference. Far from being frightened, we are fearlessly living our lives to the full. We are not living apprehensively, but abundantly! In Christ, we have found over and above all that we have ever hoped for or dreamed of. Emptying our arms to embrace Him was merely ridding ourselves of temporal rubbish and gaining for ourselves incomprehensible and eternal riches!