Having been born and raised in the Sunshine State, I consider myself to be a true Floridian through and through when it comes to wintery weather. While snow, regardless of how little or how much, excites me, I have also found that my body still can’t handle being out in it for very long.
And while the cold weather here in Arkansas is a welcomed break from the heat, heat, and more heat that we had grown accustomed to experiencing all year long in sunny Florida, I find myself longing for Spring.
The snow was fun, and the cold was refreshing at first, but I’m counting down the days until I start seeing a landscape brimming with more green than it does brown! Anyone else feel this way or is it just me?
If you’re like me, then you’re probably ready to see some life sprouting up from the ground and making its way to the ends of every tree.
You’re probably ready to see flowers blooming, to hear birds chirping, and to see life flowing and nature thriving once again!
There’s just something so exciting about new life, isn’t there? There’s just something so refreshing about seeing new growth and the revival of something that was once dreary, dormant, and dead. Am I right?
Friend, if you’re close to the Lord right now, then you can probably sense that God is looking at His Church with this same anticipation and is longing to see us experience a spiritual “Spring,” if you will. I can sense Him longing to see us experience a true Revival.
We all have seasons in our lives, and even as a Church, where it feels like we’re walking through a spiritual Winter – everything is dark, dreary, and dormant.
Where we were once filled with joy, walking by faith, and living in boldness for the Kingdom of God, we now find ourselves in a dormant state – content with barely doing enough to get by in our walk with Christ.
Where we once acted quickly upon the convictions from our Father, we now find ourselves ignoring the promptings of His Spirit – exchanging them for experiences that contain more comfort and less confrontation.
Where we once diligently sought His direction and His guidance through prayer and His Word, we now find ourselves seeking the guidance and direction of paid professionals – people who have pieces of paper, perfectly framed on their office walls, and who somehow know things about God and His Word that we can’t seem to figure out for ourselves.
Where we were once just as repulsed by sin as our Heavenly Father is, we now find ourselves making excuses for sin and covering it up – rather than plucking it out and casting it away from us.
These things shouldn’t be so.
Christ’s Church was created for more than this. And more than anything else right now, I can sense God calling His Church to repentance.
I can sense Him calling for Revival.
I can sense Him calling those of us who truly belong to Him to wake up out of the sleep that we’ve been lulled into and start being the Church He redeemed us to be!
He’s ready to see us full of His life – to see us filled to the brim with His Holy Spirit.
He’s ready to see us flourish and thriving and moving when He moves.
He’s ready to see us reflecting His Son in our thoughts, our words, and in our actions.
But I fear that we’ve allowed ourselves to get too comfortable here. I fear that we’ve allowed our eyes to shift from the splendor of our Creator’s majesty onto the bright and shiny objects that Satan has been waving in front of our faces in order to distract us and deter us from being who God has called us to be.
Those shiny objects – money, pleasure, status, comfort – they’re all just bait. We’re being baited by our enemy into forfeiting our true identity and our purpose in Christ, in exchange for empty promises of fulfillment and satisfaction. And the worst part about it is that we keep falling for it hook, line, and sinker.
Do you want revival, my friend? Do you want to live a life that exclaims to the world that you’re truly alive? Or have you become content with just blending in with the world around you – a world that is blind to the stench of its own decay?
Wake up Church!
If we want to see God move, we’ve got to get in sync with Him! We can’t be in synch with Him if we’re not even looking at Him. We won’t have any desire to look at Him if we’re too busy holding onto sin and pursuing the things of this world.
The bottom line is this: We can’t have revival without true repentance.
We can’t claim to want God in our lives but be unwilling to part with the sin and fleshly desires that dictate our decisions.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:17-20, “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (NKJV).
He also tells us in Matthew 5:29-30, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for one of your members to perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (NKJV).
Those are some pretty strong words from the One we call Master, my friend.
Sin leads to destruction. That’s why Jesus exhorts us to do whatever it takes to get it out of our lives.
Though He was likely speaking figuratively when He told us to pluck out our eyes and to cut off our hands, we ought to be treating anything and everything in our lives that causes us to sin in this same extreme manner.
If we know that a tv show, a song, or a movie will cause us to sin, we should pluck it out by refusing to watch or listen to it.
If one of our friends or romantic interests is constantly leading us in the wrong direction or encouraging us towards sin, we should cut that relationship off and remove the negative influence from our life.
If we know that we have a tendency towards addiction with certain substances or activities, we should avoid coming in contact with either of those things and keep them as far away from us as possible.
If we have inappropriate feelings towards someone that we shouldn’t, then we need to do whatever it takes to make sure we are never presented with an opportunity for a deeper connection with that person, which could, in turn, lead to an inappropriate relationship.
If Jesus was serious about sin, then we, as His church, ought to be just as serious.
We’ve got to do as Hebrews 12:1 says, and “lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us,” so that we can “run the race that is set before us” (NKJV).
We’ve got to stop focusing on ourselves and stop following our own desires and our own agendas and start following Jesus Christ, instead.
The Church will never be what it’s supposed to be if we don’t get that part right.
After all, how can we call ourselves “followers of Christ” if we’re not really following Him at all?
God is leading His Church towards Revival. The question we all have to ask ourselves is this:
Are we going to jump on board and go with His flow or are we going to continue moving to the beat of our enemy’s drum – a drum that only leads to destruction and defeat?
The choice is ours.
God is ready to revive us and to cleanse His Church – and He promises to do just that the moment we move towards repentance and commit to living a righteous life before Him.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)
Featured Image by Hannah Busing