White noise helps babies sleep. It is a noise that cancels out other noises allowing children and babies and even adults to have a restful sleep. Technically it is something like all the sounds in the middle range of sound frequency and so it is comfortable noise.
I think God hates white noise. Think about it, how many times in the Bible does Jesus have the people eating out of His hand only to say something that turns them all away? Almost every time! Nicodemus is ready to jump in and follow this messiah! He is ready to report to the other Pharisees and bring them along, and Jesus throws the “New Birth” concept at him telling Nic that he has to drop all his self-righteous pretention in order to follow Christ. (John 3) The 5000 are ready to follow Jesus having pursued him across the sea! He turns to them and says, “unless you eat my flesh, (in other words, unless you find your sufficiency in ME) you will not have eternal life!” (John 6) In Luke 9 a man comes to him and says, “I wanna come follow you!” Jesus says, “Foxes have homes, Birds have nests… the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Another one says, ”I’d follow but, I need to burry my dead,” and Jesus replies, “let them take care of themselves!” Then to another Jesus says you can’t even say bye to your loved ones. (Luke 9:57-62) Jesus has opportunity after opportunity to make people comfortable and He NEVER does it. It is as if the Kingdom is being built on and fueled by Christ’s angst against and His frustration with this world. So, I think God hates white noise.
Why does God hate white noise?
Tell me, is it loving to let someone sleep while the world around them burns? What if it is the person that is burning? Would you sing a lullaby to a young child to help that precious one sleep only to die in the fire surrounding them? Of course not! That’s insane.
I think God sees His people burning up in the false affections and entrapments of this world. Things that keep them from knowing HIM, the Truth, The Life, The Way! God sees people dying, I think we sometimes imagine their just sleeping. Could you imagine what it would be like if the church of Jesus saw the world as He does? What if we saw the church as He does?
So I live in church culture. More than that, I’ve dedicated my life to ministering in that culture. I love the American Church. Seriously, I love everything about it. The history, the present weight of weakness, the strengths, the flawed systems, everything! I can honestly say that there are times when I love business meetings! (rare, but they do happen) Lord knows I have tried to consider being a missionary to unreached places and each time I do, God breaks my heart for the church in America and I cannot leave.
In my experience, we, the church, want people to be comfortable. Here’s the problem with that… It seems like Jesus wanted to make people uncomfortable. Rather than being a white noise that could be added to their slumber, Jesus wanted to be a fog horn that aroused them from sleep and saved them from certain death. Unfortunately, as churches in America, we are often comfortable to be white noise to the world around us and the “Christians” we call brothers. We often would rather people be happy and comfortable in attendance than be struggling and uncomfortable in their pursuit for holiness. But, is that what Jesus was about? No… Jesus called the people who met Him to holiness and change. Moreover, He changed their hearts so they COULD NOT stay the same. Jesus invaded culture to war against affections of the world. He did not let Nic think that religious activity was a suitable substitute for true regeneration. Nor did He allow the 5000 and the Pharisees around them to think that they just had to come get fed and that was all they needed. Nor did he simply tell people, “you’re awesome just because you want to follow me! You are so self-actualized!” No… those words never came out of His mouth. For, to follow Jesus must cost you everything.
I don’t want to be white noise. I want to call brothers and sisters to holiness and address sin with intensity and honesty. I want the world around me to be saved from the impending doom of the coming Judge. I want the world to see Christ’s holiness in His Church and to feel the Love that Christ has laid into our hearts! I want the people I love, the church I love, to stand with me as I meet the Lord, my Master, when He returns to collect His bride! I think most of us want these things.
So why is it we are so often just white noise?
Well, let’s be honest with ourselves… let’s not settle for white noise… Do we believe that there is punishment for wickedness? Do we believe that Jesus will return and when He does, so we believe that He is going to judge? Do we believe that Hell is real? Do we believe that those who do not trust Christ for salvation will not see Heaven? Not to mention the lists that Paul give us of those who will not see the Kingdom!? (Gal. 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Do we believe what we read in the Bible? If we do, then how can we be content to be white noise? The lifestyle we live and the things we say must be uncomfortable, loving, difficult, engaging, and even noisy. The noise we create must reflect what we believe about eternity. If we engaged our lives with an eternal perspective, perhaps things like church discipline, Bible Study, faithful communion with the saints, personal evangelism, and living life together would be greater priorities in our lives.
I don’t want to be white noise, let’s wake up the world and the church!