Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One-Girl Revival

I've been reading Nehemiah, my favorite book in the Bible, actually. And I've been reading along with it J. Vernon McGee's commentary which always sheds some light on things I just don't get.

And Nehemiah 9 is an extremely convicting chapter for me because it speaks of revival in the Israelites after they were finished building the wall of Jerusalem. To get there they first separated themselves from foreigners and those who were not Israelites. Which was actually a pretty big feat at that time because they had intermarried with other peoples. So quite a few of them probably had to separate themselves from their husband or wife. But they separated themselves which stands for making yourself separate from sins and stumbling blocks.
Then they confessed. And it says that they spent a fourth of the day confessing and crying out to God. That's 6 hours, people. A long time. They confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers. McGee says that although they were in a large group confessing their sins, he does not believe that they were confessing them to each other. They were confessing them to God, which is most important.
Next they spent another 4th of the day worshiping God and praising Him that although they had sinned as a nation over and over again, He was still faithful to His promises and took them back every time they repented.

And we need to do the same things as Christians if we really want to have a sincere testimony for Christ. If we want to have a powerful impact on our world. Because although it is Christ who ultimately works in other's hearts; we are the tools He uses to accomplish it. And if we are messed up He's not going to be able to use us. He'll find someone else.

We need to separate ourselves from the world. Not to become hermit (which is some days, oh so appealing to me), but to not be part of them, participating in their sins. Christians are just as bad as non-Christian these days. We have the same pregancy rates, the same drug rates, and most of the time you can only tell a Christian from a non-Christian if they are wearing a cross or a shirt pronouncing them to be so. We shouldn't need a shirt!!! They should be able to tell us apart without it!
I'm not saying I am any better but we need to get this right. It is a life and death thing. Our complacency is costing some person out there the light they need shone into their life. And without it they will go to hell. I face this conviction everyday when I screw up in front of my dad. He doesn't know Christ as his Savior. And my testimony could be what shows him the truth. Or it could be what shows him that Christianity isn't worth it. Isn't any better than anything else. It's a real truth that we need to wake up to. What we do, how we act, is a serious thing. And as Christians, our life is not our own.

We need to face up to our sins and repent. In the old days they put on rags and ashes to show that they were sincere in repenting. It was a symbol of the state of their heart. We need to be cut deep by our sins. We need to be sorry, and not just sorry when we are caught by someone else. God can only use us if we are broken with the state we are in. He can only mold the soft clay. He can only put us back together in the correct way if we allow Him to. We have to see ourselves for what we truly are. Sinners, who continue daily to sin, but are only saved because of our great Savior's mercy and grace. That love, mercy and grace, shown by His blood and life shed on the cross is the only thing that separated us from eternity in hell. That is all. He gives it to us freely. We accept it, yet continue in our sinful ways. We need to repent again. Our heart need to be soft and aware of when we sin. Somewhere in one of the Timothys it says that their (the world's) consciences are seared with a hot iron, no longer able to distinguish right from wrong. Our conscience should not be that way. They should be pricked with every sin.

And we need to worship God. Which sounds like the easiest until I realize what that truly means. We need to praise Him in everything. It is so easy for me to be un-thankful in my daily life. To complain and whine. Counting your blessings in everything is a difficult thing a lot of the time. And our lives need to reflect and worship God which goes back to what I said in the beginning. Our lives and everday living are the best way to worship Him. It is not just singing and listening to music which is a wonderful but small way of giving Him glory. Our lives, I think anyway, do it best (or worst, depending on what you are doing). He probably, in all honesty, finds more glory in our obeying our parents in taking out the garbage then He does in us playing a lovely song for Him.

All this is so hard to do. But is also important. But most things are hard that are worth fighting for. And our testimony, our life in Christ, is worth fighting for.

One reason that J. Vernon McGee said it was a personal confession of sin, is that it has to start with us. A one-man (or girl) revival. It begins with me. What I do. Not with what you do. I pray so much for revival. But last night when I was reading Nehemiah 9, I realized that it begins with me. My life is what I am responsible for. My life could be the start for revival within the Body of Christ to spread. It should be me.

And it could be you, where you live, that starts the flame of revial there, wherever you are. It should be you. Because He asks us each personally to leave all we have (our dreams, our sins, our shame, our plans) and follow Him.

When we do this the fire will spread. All fires do. And my fire will meet with your fire. All the fires will start new ones. And that is how revival will become reality in our world.


Chris said...

:) What an awesome post!

God does use us in our brokenness, doesn't He? When we're at the point when we view ourselves as godly, "moral" people, we throw ourselves into arrogance and pride, which is idolatry! Saying "God, You need me because look at how good I am. I'm glad I'm not like those other people."

I've fallen into that so many times. And it's so subtle. Thinking your invincible. I used to think so highly of myself, that I'm so different than everybody else my age who struggled with rebellion and relationships and all the other "evil things" our generation struggled with. And it's easy to be superficially humble, and admit that even though I'm "above" doing some things others my age would do, I'd still say I'm "sinful" and list off my "little sins" like gossip, etc., but really in my heart I put myself at a higher level than those around me. Others put me in that higher place too. What self-righteousness that is!

Grr. I shudder thinking of the lie that that mindset truly is. I need Him so much. I am so capable of grieving His heart with the deepest sins imaginable, and I'm so easily deceived and confused.

Then one day...or one summer...BAM, you fall off the pedestal you and others have placed you on and you see yourself as God sees you. And at first it's scary. But then? You cannot help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude. For His love. And for the love of His body even after they see you're not all your mask says you are. Then you don't want anything but Him. Seriously. Then He asks you to sacrifice not only your pride, but the things your heart loves the most. The people your heart loves the most. But even though it's painful you know it's going to be worth it, because God wouldn't ask you to do anything that wasn't for your very best.

Ephesians 2 says we're saved by grace through faith, not of ourselves, it's the gift of God. And the next verse says we were created for good works beforehand, that we should walk in them. I want to do whatever it takes to walk in those good works - not because God needs us, or because we're worth using by any means. But because that's what God delights in - using broken, needy people to fulfill the plans He's prepared for each one of us. And whatever stands in the way of my following Him with all I have, that thing needs to die.

Sorry I'm longwinded! I have many thoughts on repentance, confessing your sins, and living in light of God's grace as of late...


Love, Chris

P.S. I'm working on getting a new blog up soon...yeah!

Fligdet said...

hey dessa, i'll call u guys later, have an awsome day!