The Church Needs More Agonizers, And Less Advisers
It’s no surprise that the church, and our nation, desperately need to hear “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict, and restore. It was not so long ago that we were concerned about “the fall of America.” America cannot fall because she has already fallen. We are now picking up the pieces of a broken nation. America’s moral heartbeat ceases when we cut off the source of life – God. We need resuscitation, renewal, and revival.
“If the church today had as many agonizers as she has advisers, we would have a revival within a year” (Leonard Ravenhill). Ravenhill continues, “We need to close every church in the land for one Sunday and cease listening to a man so we can hear the groan of the Spirit which we in our lush pews have forgotten.”
The book of Joel in the Old Testament parallels America today. They were prosperous but apathetic; they had religion but not a relationship; “they had a form of godliness…” The only difference is that prosperity has not yet been taken from us in many cases. But peace has been consumed from our land; fear is gripping the hearts and minds of many; morality has been ripped from our hands; truth has been raped and taken advantage of, and God continues to be blasphemed. Don’t confuse His patience with His approval.
Satanic influences, strong and without number, have laid waste to our hearts and minds. Families are being devoured, lives destroyed…truth has fallen in the streets. But God offers the solution; there is hope: Joel 1:14 says, “Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of your God, and cry out to the Lord.”
Joel 2:12-14 adds, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him.”
Prayer opens the hand of God. Repentance restores our broken relationship with Him. The Word secures the truth in our minds. Worship brings heaven down to our hearts. Obedience opens the door to God’s blessings. And fasting and mourning starve the flesh and moves the hand of God in ways that other spiritual disciplines do not. When was the last time you fasted and wept over the condition of our nation? Our spiritual apathy is alarming.
Blessings come from brokenness, restoration from repentance, and revival through mourning. Woe be to the church who is in a hurry to burn through a sermon, scurry through worship, and head to the nearest restaurant: “If My people humble themselves [afflict, mourn, sorrow over the condition of their land], pray [really pray], seek My face [not my hand], and turn from their wickedness then I will heal their land.”
This begins with me and with you: to fix America, look in the mirror – “if My people.”
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