Oaks of Righteousness
...that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3b)
We need to bring truth back into Biblical perspective. I am convinced that truth overly emphasized to the neglect of other truths can lead one into error. It is time for the church to reevaluate and examine the fruit of some of its doctrine.
What has happened to the church since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the 60's and 70's?
During that time, the Lord brought revival that moved everywhere. From the streets amongst the rejects of society to the mainline churches. True Koinonia and community sprang up all over the land. The nominal christian was even convicted of his lostness and lack of true repentance. People left jobs to serve the Lord fulltime, home groups started, churches sprang up and God recovered important truths for His people as He brought repentance, restoration and reconciliation. It truly was an exciting and adventurous time for many.
But looking back, I ask again, what has happened since then? Today, we look back and see a road littered with awful carnage. Divorce rates that rival the world, sheep scattered by unfaithful shepherds that "failed them", others using godliness for gain and the fruit of their drive for success and prestige is a defrauded sheepfold. Cynicism and disappointment replaced hope and joy and the Church is now suffering the scorn of the world. The Gospel is being preached around the world through satellite technology yet the world is no longer listening. Are we in the time of the "Falling Away" spoken of in 2 Thess 2:3?
Many Christians have returned to the world and others are finding themselves in a wilderness of such dimensions that there seems no way out. It is hard to believe that so many that walked in so much joy, are now apathetic and bitter. Is this the fruit of a strong move of God or is this the ultimate fruit of a lack of a fear of God and of making a place in one's heart for just a few idols? That was certainly always the pattern for God's people in the Old Testament. Not much has changed.
The Spirit of God is given to convince the world of "sin, righteousness and judgment", John 16:8. Was the world convinced of sin, righteousness and judgment in the last revival? We can say now, no more than the church was convinced. What did the church do with the anointing of God? It built bigger buildings, created a program for every need and counted the nickels, numbers and noses.
Now the church has everything to attract the world except the glory of God. God's glory passed because the glory of God will not abide without righteousness. Righteousness is the carnage that has been left on the road of yesteryear.
When God brings revival He brings the "Regal Duo", Holiness and Righteousness. These are the basis of relationship with God. Without righteousness and holiness there is no relationship and without relationship there is no hope and no joy.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11-14
If you are in the desert in your Christian walk, make a highway for your God and He will transform your desert into a fertile land. Isaiah says in chapter 40, to "make straight in the desert a highway for our God".
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isa 40:3-5)
Mountains and hills speak of pride and valleys speak of rejection, crooked places are more kinds of sin and rough places are areas in our lives that need deliverance and healing.
You make straight paths for the Lord by repenting of all your sin and removing all the idols in your heart, then the glory of the Lord will be revealed in your life.
Now is the time for you to draw near to God so that He may draw near to you. You draw near by coming to him in repentance and godly sorrow. The desert that you are in has no life and very few resources that can enable you to survive. It is a place of isolation, sorrow, despair and barrenness and many die in the desert. Contrast that with a beautiful and fertile field and abundance of life with joy and hope.
God, by His Holy Spirit wants to bring life to you, establish righteousness in you and reveal God's glory through you, conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ. Wherever you are in life right now, if you are reading this, there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Come to Him now and give Him all your failures, sins and burdens. You never could live the Christian life in your own strength, you never will be able to. It is not meant to be that way. You must draw your life from Him. In Him alone is life and apart from Him there is no life.
Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; (Isa 32:15-18)
Come to Jesus Christ with your whole heart and do not be joined to anything in your heart but Him.