Drastic

Posted: July 23, 2009 by Josiah Batten in Christian living, Deeper Life, Revival

This was originally written and published on Facebook, but it applies here as well:

Sometimes I look at the model established by Biblical characters and just wonder… Think about it, some of these people went to incredible lengths to advance the Kingdom of Heaven. These men and women took drastic action in obedience to God and saw Him move in incredible ways on their behalf.

Just to look at a few examples consider:

Hannah: Who cried out to God for a child and then dedicated her son to Him. Her son anointed the first kings of Israel.

Josiah: Who tore down all the temples, shrines, and places of worship that were dedicated to pagan gods and goddesses.

Elijah: Who shamed the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. God consumed Elijah’s sacrifice with fire from Heaven after it had been drenched in water.

Peter and John: Who courageously spoke the Gospel in the Temple before all the leaders of Israel and the Jewish leaders and, after being threatened, prayed for boldness.

Apollos: Who publicly proclaimed the Gospel, refuting the Jews and proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

Paul: Who God used to raise a dead man, heal numerous sick people, and who proclaimed the Gospel after being stoned, whipped, beaten, unlawfully imprisoned, shipwrecked, etc…

I could go on with many other examples, but I think you get the point. These were men and women driven to advance God’s Kingdom against all odds. As Martin Luther King Jr. points out, they were too God-inspired to be astronomically intimidated.

What I often consider today is what will it take for all of us to have a similar holy ambition (to steal a phrase from John Piper)? How many of us are chomping at the bit to shame the prophets of Baal, relying not on human strength but on the God who answers by fire (obviously Baal worship is not popular any more, but dedication to similar things is equivalent to this type of idolatry)? Think about it, we’ve been given a sacred mission, a holy task, an ancient command of preaching the Gospel in the entire world, making disciples of all nations. This is no small order.

An old preacher (who’s name slips my memory at the moment) once said that the only power that can change the course of world history is the power of the Holy Spirit released through Spirit-filled men (and women). Perhaps we’ve mistakenly believed that God moved mightily in the past but now, when more people then ever before in more places then ever before facing more challenges then ever before need to hear the Gospel, God just quit working.

Perhaps the burden is on us to do something dangerous for the Kingdom of God. Maybe we need to start considering drastic measures: Things like getting up early to prayer walk our campus everyday, things like open air preaching on busy street corners, things like getting all of the Christians in your dorm to get together (be they Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, etc…) to fervently pray for your peers. Maybe we should pray specifically, rather then the vague “God do something big” specific stuff like “God, draw every member of the football team to You.” If reaching a campus requires us to pray together for 6 hours every day will we do it (I’m not mandating that we do, just asking a question)? If God tells us to do something crazy like “Go tell that complete stranger that looks they want to hurt you that I love them” will we do it? If God tells us to stop dating, will we? If He tells us to start courting, will we? If He tells us not to watch any television or to give up Facebook, would we do it?

I’m not suggesting that God mandates any of this. Obviously I’m using Facebook right now for something that I don’t think God wants me to give up. But God does mandate our dedication. And history has shown that those to whom God gives the greatest vision are those through whom He works most amazingly. But let me be clear: God is looking for dedicated and passionate people. If God thought it best to use unthinking robots He could use stones to accomplish His purposes. But in His infinite wisdom He’s chosen people, thinking, breathing, passionate people.

Our expectations are too low. I’m tired of reading about how God moved in the past, or what God did in some other city. I want to see that here, in the present, in my city. And until like-minded men and women of God plead the same request we’re going to remain exactly where we are. There is absolutely no reason God should be unable to work mightily in Fairmont, or at Fairmont State, or at WVU. If anything I would say God most wants to move here. Why wouldn’t God want to shake the number one party school in the country? Why wouldn’t He want to turn the world upside down through behind-the-times, backwards, straight from the woods, small-town West Virginians (I’m looking at this through the eyes of common Americans, most of whom don’t even know WV is a state)? Why wouldn’t God want to do something now when social critics and atheists and secularists are saying Christianity is going to die?

We can’t do what God has called us to do on our own. But when we seek God, when the Spirit ignites our prayers such that God’s presence makes us tremble, when we weep in sorrow for our sins and the sins of our nation, when the convicting and purifying fire of the Spirit is manifest and the hearts and lives of every person in the Church; then the prophets of Baal will be shamed, we will be filled with holy vision and passion, the pagan idols of secular society will be torn down and spread over graves, people will be touched by God’s healing rain, and the Gospel will advance so quickly and so uncontrollably that every power of hell on this planet will be shaken and principalities will tremble.

But none of this can happen until we, in holy discontent, realize that things are not as they should be and we are responsible. By far the greatest sin in my life is knowing everything I do about the Gospel of Jesus Christ but somehow being able to avoid shouting it from my rooftop. Without a doubt I need to repent of that long and hard, but once the Spirit’s flame is rekindled in me I need to get out of my prayer closet and start proclaiming the Gospel; knowing that God will verify His Word not through my wise words or persuasive techniques, but by demonstrating His power.

It is for this day I long and pray.

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” -C.H. Spurgeon

“‘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. And 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

“The history of missions is the history of answered prayer. From Pentecost to the Haystack meeting in New England and from the days when Robert Morrison landed in China to the martyrdom of John and Betty Stam, prayer has been the source of power and the secret of spiritual triumph.” -Samuel M. Zwemer

God bless!
Josiah

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s