Praying To Be Like Jesus?
(Please be aware that in saying the following, I speak to myself also. My hope is that it will challenge some of us to not only pray, but obey. Cliff)
CT Studd once said, We all pray to be like Jesus, and then refuse to pay the price.
We can weep for the church, and weep for a land that is devoid of a proper witness of Gods grace, but do we weep for the dryness of our own hearts, and the lack of Holy Spirit power and leading that we ourselves exhibit in our day to day life. Who is it that needs revival first?
We long for water in the dry places, and rivers in the desert while God longs for men with willing hearts of the caliber of Evan Roberts, Finney, and C.T. Studd.
We long to see multitudes touched by the Presence of God, and Christ glorified by their conversion, but God longs for men who are willing to be used by Him to be the lights in this generation, and burn for Christ.
Are we willing to be one of the instruments He uses for revival?
Finney left off being a lawyer; CT Studd left off from being one of Englands finest cricket players and gave away a fortune; when no longer a young man, Duncan Campbell left a comfortable pulpit with a monthly salary to live, preach, and support his family by faith. How great a cost are we willing to bear? How immediately shall we respond if we hear the call?
When Studd was dying, and had looked back upon his life, he summed up the things that at the last gave him joy:
"As I believe I am now nearing my departure from this world, I have but a few things to rejoice in; they are these:
1. That God called me to China and I went in spite of utmost opposition from all my loved ones.
2. That I joyfully acted as Christ told that rich young man to act.
3. That I deliberately at the call of God, when alone on the Bibby liner in 1910, gave up my life for this work, which was to be henceforth not for the Sudan only, but for the whole unevangelized World.
My only joys therefore are that when God has given me a work to do, I have not refused it."
If this is a time ripe for revival, then are we of those who are willing to pray for it despite any cost to ourselves? Are we willing to be used not only for prayer, but for any work that God may call us to do? Will we refuse Him when He asks us? Every revival has been marked by individuals; many of whose names have been quoted over and over, and whose sermons have been read or heard on this site. Are we called to be such an individual in the place where we live?
I know we pray
and I know we desire revival
..but the challenge to our generation is to produce men who will stand in the gap!
How many of us are willing to seek to stand in the Presence of the Living God, and to be cleansed from our sin as Isaiah was cleansed, and say, Here am I! Send me!?? If necessary, to leave the security of our comfort zone, and to go to the place where God may lead us; to speak out things that He may command, things that may make us unpopular, and may not be well received by many despite our longings for revival!
Yet perhaps, if we are willing to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice, and respond to His call; we may find ourselves to be standing in the day our hearts have desired. Not simply as participants, but as catalysts fired by the Spirit of God.
Greg Gordon has written several articles lately with challenging words, but greatly needed words for a church culture that is steeped in apathy. Change never comes easy, and at times choice words given with Holy Spirit fire are needed to burn through to the core of the heart. To shake us and stir us. To reveal to us the peril of our times and awaken within us a dissatisfaction of remaining silent and inactive in the midst of the status quo of what is currently called evangelical Christianity.
In the past, a shoe salesman called Moody responded to the call, a plumber named Smith Wigglesworth listened, a coal miner called Rees Howells came, a man dying of a fatal disease named David Brainerd followed, the son of a saloon operator named George Whitefield stepped out, and a ball player known as Billy Sunday stood up. Are we willing to respond? If those men put their faith in their own abilities, they never would have stepped out to impact the world around them, but they did have faith in the abilities of another to work through them, and His power was sufficient. Do you believe He can work through you?
God shake the heavens and come down. Let the earth be filled with His glory. Let sinners tremble and repent but let His people be volunteers in the day of His power!
'Not called!' did you say? 'Not heard the call,' I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face -- whose mercy you have professed to obey -- and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. --William Booth