Throughout human history, God has beckoned mankind to turn away from sin and to return to God’s plan in repentance. The Creator of Heaven and Earth has enough foresight to tell that our deviation from His will result in death (Romans 6:23). God’s extraction plan is Christ Jesus. God himself has taken the form of a man and has absorbed the wages due to us- death. He has then freely given us an eternal life that we do not deserve. But we often get too familiar with that message and lose track and go in our own ways. And when that happens we are in need of revival. In the previous blog, we mentioned that revival does not just take place. It needs a number of ingredients to make the recipes complete. In the previous blog, we looked at the recipe of self-awareness of our sin. Today’s recipe is desperation.
If there is any necessary meal for a revival it is the meal of desperation- men and women of God who are dying to be free from sin and to be close to God. This desperation is seen very clearly in the scriptures.
Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When shall I come and appear in God’s presence?”
Think of the family of deer. They are always on high alert, watching out for predators. Their lives depend on their alertness. Their discernment is therefore desperate to be sharp because their very lives are on the line. They desperately desire to discern between a brown bush and a lion. They desperately desire to discern between a rock in the river and a crocodile. And when the predator is in pursuit, they flee speedily and escape. And what follows? Thirst- desperate burning thirst. They long to quench their bodies with water that they may be revived for the next run. They desperately long for water so that they may temper their discernment.
Are you like the deer? Are you desperate for the water of God’s word so that you may clarify your discernment? Do you desperately long for the daily quiet times by the streams of water of God’s presence? Are you desperate to be free from the clutches of Satan who prowls around like a predatory lion (1 Peter 5:8) seeking for someone to devour? And beyond survival, deer long to stop running. They desperately hope to find other deer and move in a herd. Because in a herd, you have multiple discernment opportunities. In a herd, you are not just living for survival but also to produce and expand on the savannah. Are you desperate for the waters of fellowship? A believer who is not desperate is constantly healing from the claw marks of Satan. Soon their wounds catch up with them. Desperate believers experience revival. Casual believers experience the trivial. If you are persistently desperate, you will catch revival. If you are consistently desperate you will keep revival.
The main writer of the Psalms, King David, is called a man after God’s own heart in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. David was this kind of believer because of his desperation to be with God. He had found life in God. He had found the love our hearts crave for in God. See what else he writes:
Psalm 63:1 “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”
Psalm 84:2 “My soul longs, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
Psalm 119:20 “My soul is consumed with longing for Your judgments at all times.”
Psalm 119:131 “I open my mouth and pant, longing for Your commandments.”
What will it cost you to experience this revival or desperation? The answer is nothing. See what the prophet writes. Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!” Only your willingness is needed. Jesus assures that those willing to be desperate will experience revival. Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” But how do I become willing? How do I turn this dry will to be desperate?
The answer is dethroning self from the agenda of your life. God’s Kingdom is an upside-down Kingdom. To live you must die to self (Luke 9:23-24). To win you must love your enemies (Matthew 5:43). To succeed you must bless those that persecute you (Matthew 5:44). To lead you must be the servant (Mark 10:43). To be the greatest and the first you must be the least and the last (Mark 10:44). This wisdom from Jesus prioritises Him and others. This wisdom from Jesus has self come last in the course of living life. Loving Him and your neighbour first is the wisdom from Christ to have lasting and genuine peace.
The false peace of the world opposes the wisdom of Christ. While Christ’s wisdom and peace have others in mind, the false wisdom and temporary peace from the world highly prioritise self. Self-aggrandisement and ambition that exalts self are far from Christlikeness. James 3:15-16 defines that kind of false wisdom and temporary peace that arises from self as earthly, unspiritual and demonic. Jesus said in Matt 11:19b that wisdom is proved by her results. The results of this false wisdom are that our depression increases while we praise self-focus, self-love and many other humanistic philosophies. Our suicidal tendencies do not decrease. Our bitter hearts do not heal. Why? The upside-down Kingdom of Christ has polar opposite results when self is denied and Christ is exalted; not self. Pastor Timothy Keller says, “We are so profoundly self-centered that we don’t think we are.” And in that denial of having self as an idol does the deceived person believe they are heavenly while the scriptures call them earthly; they believe to be spiritual while the scriptures call them unspiritual; they believe themselves to be virtuous but the scriptures call their wisdom demonic.
Dear believer, how badly do you want to be free from besetting sins? Your sanctification requires your cooperation. Unless you become as desperate to be free as badly as you want to breathe, you will remain in sin’s struggling hold- negotiating, assuming, hoping, dreaming, wishing, longing but never being free. Until Jesus is more beautiful than lust, you will remain in the same state. Until Jesus is more precious than idols you will not taste the sweetness of freedom. If you postpone doing the right thing you will not only delay your victory but also contaminate your purpose and mar your destiny. Desperate times call for radical measures. You are not waiting on God; God is waiting on you.