“Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know the judgements of the LORD” (Jeremiah 8:7).
The animal world yields itself to the created order; at different times the birds are on the river; then they will be gone and return to another part of the river at another time. Why? Because they know God’s created order! All of the animal world knows these things, the created order of God; they know that all things are upheld by the word of His power. It is only man who rebels against that created order, who even denies it; who even acts in willful defiance of it! The animal world, on the other hand, lives in harmony with the order that God created in the world. They know that He opens His hand and they are fed.
There is little notion of discipleship to Christ in today’s orthodox Christianity. Looking about the religious scene, one finds a discipleship vacuum which people instinctively try to fill with something of their own making, which they can then control.
One example is “charismania” – a feeling of emotional euphoria and affection for the person of the Lord Jesus, which is valued for itself and its effect on the individual’s feelings and is wholly unrelated to any idea of bearing a cross or giving up of self. On the contrary, what this model does is make us feel good about ourselves and also about Jesus. It is self serving and utterly irrelevant as far as sanctification is concerned.
Another model is religious pietism, a kind of “hyper Calvinism” in which literalism takes precedence and where keeping the letter of the Word is more important than reflecting its spirit. External appearances are what is important and external compliance with the text is the measure of holiness; but, as Paul writes: “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). There is a failure to apprehend the spiritual meaning and understanding of the Words of Christ.
Another form of religious substitutionalism is zealous religious activity. The ultimate test of godliness has become “working for Christ” in which Christ has become a cause to be served rather than a Lord to be obeyed! The “work of the Lord” has become more important than the “Lord of the work”!
All of these things are manifestations of a rejection of God’s order and its replacement with an order devised by man. Sadly, though, it leads nowhere.