Out of the Box

There is a popular children’s show on the Disney Channel called “Out of the Box.” The theme song is one of those songs that, once you’ve heard it, sticks in your mind all day. It ends with the words, “Out of the box, it’s really up to you what comes out of the box.”
In the business world, the new catch phrase is “thinking outside the box.” It is a challenge to go beyond the ordinary and do something extraordinary.
The church today is stuck in the box. Our focus has shifted from people to pews, from saving souls to Sunday assemblies. Today when you mention Christianity, most people immediately think of the worship assembly. As long as we continue with this mentality, we are stuck in the box without hope of growing beyond.
There is an old children’s prank to call up a store and ask, “Yes, do you have Prince Albert in a box?” When the clerk answers in the affirmative then you respond, “Well, you’d better let him out before he suffocates.” If we want to experience revival in the church, if we want the family of God to grow, then we must let God out of the box and back into our lives before we suffocate. Like the theme song from the Disney show, Revival, it’s really up to you what comes out of the box!
We can take an example from Samuel and the Israelites who had an experience similar to the one facing the church today (1 Samuel 4-7). The Israelites were fighting a war against the Philistines like we are fighting a war against Satan. The Israelites’ answer was, “Bring us God in a box.”
Our answer is “We all need to go to the box (church).” The Israelites’ answer brought them defeat, not victory. Our answer will lead us to defeat unless we decide to change. Even in a time when “the word of the Lord was rare” (1 Samuel 3:1), Samuel led the people in Revival. We can learn from the mistakes of Israel and move on to Revival!
Relying on the Box
Israel’s answer to defeat was God in a box. “Why did the LORD bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the LORD’S covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies” (1 Samuel 4:3). By bringing in the ark, they thought they had secured the presence of God. Their focus was on personal success and not on glorifying God.
Our answer to Satan has been faith in a box. We have associated our success with the box. We speak of “going to church” instead of “being a church.”
Where has the Glory gone?
With their focus on the box instead of God, Israel was trounced by the Philistines and the ark was taken from them. With the ark gone the glory was gone from Israel. “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured” (1 Samuel 4:22). Israel’s hope was gone without the ark. The sad reality is that it was a false hope. God was never really with them. When people put God in a box then they lose the glory.
When we associate the glory of God with “the box” (church building), when we see religion as a “fix” instead of a way of life, then this results in putting God in a box and the glory is taken away from God. We blame a decline in attendance on “the box” and think the “box” is broken and needs to be fixed, when in reality the moment we decide to live for God, the glory will return.
The revival of Samuel shows that God lives where he is glorified. We must move “out of the box” and into reliance upon God.

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Mitchell Skelton

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