As a kid growing up, I remember looking forward to the recess period at school. It was a break away from “school” stuff, an opportunity to get out and have fun with others doing whatever we wanted, within reason of course. The last thing we wanted to hear was the bell or the whistle signaling that it was time to get in line before heading back to class. Do you remember those times?
For the past several years, and probably for decades, a lot of Christians and churches have been out on the school yard having recess. To better explain what I mean by that, let’s look back at those times when we would have recess at school. Maybe you can relate? The first thing that I remember about recess was the strong desire to go to recess. Sometimes this was because I just wanted to hang out with some friends and have some fun, especially if I had friends in another class. Other times it was simply because I was bored with what we were doing in class, and I had energy I wanted to use up playing King of the Hill, 9-square, flag football, or whatever was the big thing to do at that time. Oh, how I wish I now had just a portion of the energy I had back then. Sometimes what we were doing in class was so challenging, intense, or monotonous and repetitious, I would feel like my brain was fried and needed a reprieve of some sort, and recess provided that reprieve for me.
For one reason or another, many Christians have gone to the play ground for recess. Maybe it’s because the social scene, online or in real life, is more important to you than living the Christian life in pursuit of Jesus, feeling the urge to get with friends and have fun? Perhaps living the Christian life just isn’t fun for you, possibly lacking the adrenalin rush and excitement that you craved, and so you decided to take a more casual approach to Christianity, choosing instead to pursue and indulge in whatever excited you or gave you some sense of satisfaction. Oh, you didn’t leave Jesus or the Christian life completely, but you “chilled” enough to follow the desires and cravings you had for as long as you could, all with the thinking that you might return to class and start taking your studies and relationship with Christ seriously again. Christianity in its purest sense just isn’t what you thought it should be, that it’s lacking somewhat, and so you’re taking a spiritual recess of sorts. Or, could it be that you felt that the Christian life is just too draining and burdensome, maybe too complicated at times, and you just felt like you needed a breather of sorts, a reprieve.
So, now you’ve made it to the playground. Now what? When we had recess, we didn’t go somewhere else. The playground was right there at the school. In the same way, many Christians are playing and having recess right there at church. They didn’t leave the church. They just left the classroom for the playground. I mentioned earlier that I remembered spending recess doing things like playing 9-square, flag football, King of the Hill, and tether-ball, whatever was the big thing at the time, but what could it look like on the spiritual playground within church circles? To understand what it may look like to be on the playground, we need to first identify what it looks like in the classroom.
In the spiritual classroom within the Church, or in other words the spiritual classroom of life, we’re taught what it means to be a disciple and a follower of Christ. We learn the heart of Jesus and what is called the Great Commission and how to live that in our own life. We learn not only that we are ambassadors of Christ, but also what that means and how we can represent Him to a lost and dying world. And with all of that, we also learn both the how and the importance of right living in the sight of Jesus, and that Jesus is coming back for His Bride at any moment, a watching Bride that has kept her garments clean, spotless and without wrinkles or blemishes. These are just some of the things we learn in the classroom, and it’s not always fun or exciting. In fact, sometimes it gets rough and tough, intense at times, but like any professional athlete or soldier would tell you as they strive to be the best that they can be in that, it’s going through those times that help make you into the person God has intended for you to be.
It’s on the playground that Christians play “church”. Just as there were different games and activities we might get involved in during recess, and how that would change from time to time, there are different games and activities that Christians on the playground will get involved in. On the playground, Christians will pursue that which “tickles” their itchy ears, that which feels good and doesn’t expect much of them in return, something that doesn’t challenge or infringe on their comforts, or something that isn’t inconvenient and demanding. No matter what it is, in varying degrees they will stray from sound doctrine and Biblical teaching to follow and embrace that which takes Scripture out of context or twists it to match and support their beliefs and agendas. Jesus warned us that in the last days deception would be great, and that we as Christians need to be aware that we do not get deceived.
What are some of the games and activities we can find on the spiritual playground within the church? Maybe you’ve heard of some of these. There’s the hyper-grace game, the Social Gospel game, the Emergent Church and Seeker Sensitive games, the Kingdom Now, Church Growth and community games and activities. Each of these games and activities no doubt has within themselves an element of truth that they gleaned from the classroom, truths that need not be forsaken, but games that divert our attention away from where it needs to be. I recently learned of a form of deception that is very deceptive, and that is misdirection. This kind of deception diverts our attention away from where it needs to be and onto things that are less important or draws our focus away from where it’s supposed to be. Regarding Christianity, our focus needs to be on what I mentioned is found in the classroom, and not what is found on the playground, and many of these games and activities on the playground deceive us into diverting our attention away from where it needs to be.
Well, the bell and the whistle are sounding indicating that it’s time to get in line to reenter the classroom. As we watch the fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophesy cross the headlines of the various news sources, we realize that Jesus is returning very, very soon. We are literally on the precipice of the Gog-Magog war mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39, a war that most scholars believe takes place shortly after the Rapture of the Church. A lot of Christians are looking at how things are transpiring here within America, ignoring what is happening in the Middle East and especially with Israel, almost as if they think America is God’s prophetic time piece for the last days. We are seeing a great apostasy, as Scripture tells us would take place leading up to His return, where more and more Christians are for one reason or another are giving little heed to answering the Great Commission, forsaking the sound Biblical teaching of the Rapture, especially the pre-tribulation rapture, as well as sound doctrine of what it means to be a follower of Christ and Jesus’ command for His followers to be watching for His return. We are so close people, and now is the time to exit the playground if that’s where you’ve been and return to the classroom to learn and seriously pursue your relationship with Jesus.
Recess Is Over!!!!