I was struck by this thought recently: are we building the house of God or the tower of Babel?
The story of the tower of Babel is found in Genesis:
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Their plan was going well until God came on the scene and messed it all up (see vs. 5-11).
Here is the lesson: If you get enough people all “speaking the same language” and focused on the same vision, you can build something pretty impressive. But God may have nothing to do with it. In fact, it could be totally opposed to Him.
One of the greatest dangers for the church is the deception of the appearance of success. Let’s learn a lesson from this fig tree:
And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
From a distance the fig tree looked promising; it had the appearance of success. But upon closer examination it was barren. Could this also be the case in many of our churches? Remember this: Jesus is not looking for “successful” churches; He is looking for fruit.
When a church is seeing rapid numerical growth it appears to be succeeding, but numerical growth does not necessarily equal fruit. When we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ it will be the quality, not quantity, of our work that is tested (see 1 Corinthians 3:13-15).
We have too often settled for the appearance of success instead of lasting fruit. We employ man-made methods and therefore get man-made results. We entertain instead of equip. We have programs and formulas instead of prayer and fasting. We try so hard to be like the world, trying to attract people to our churches. These methods may produce an impressive church, but where is the genuine fruit?
The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build” (Psalm 127:1). Like the ancients building the tower of Babel, it is possible to build the church without God, and labor in vain. We can be blinded by the appearance of success thinking we are building something great.
I encourage you to be part of the church that Jesus is building. Let’s break free from the spirit of the world that has invaded the church. Let’s see the house of God built according to the pattern of heaven!