This blog is the third instalment of a series I am calling Recipes for Revival. We are looking at the necessary ingredients needed to bring about spiritual awakening. God desires that all people be saved and come to the saving knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4). He does not desire for anyone to perish, but rather that they repent (2 Peter 3:9). God is therefore in the business of revival. Revivals bring lost sinners into the kingdom. And they awaken sleeping believers into action. The third meal that is necessary for revival is resoluteness.
The dictionary described resoluteness as being firm in purpose and belief. Revivals need men and women who have made up their minds to follow Christ regardless of the prevailing circumstances. In order to have this mind, we must place our fickle ones at the altar and take up the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). At the heart of any revival is to prompt believers to become more like Christ and for unbelievers to start the sanctification journey. If this will happen, we must receive the mind of Christ. I have come to notice in my Christian walk that there are things that we receive freely without any compliance on our part. However, there are some things that require our compliance. When it comes to having the mind of Christ, I have seen that God grants me the template for the mind but requires me to obey him in order to fill it. In short, the mind of Christ is always being received. We are always filling the mould he has given us until we have a full mind that is exactly like his. For us to have that template filled completely, we need to be resolute in our approach.
There is a certain self-professing follower of Jesus Christ whose devotion can best be described as kinda. They are the kinda-follower because they are not resolute. You know, they kinda want Jesus to be LORD of their life, but also they kinda want to be in control of their own life. They kinda want absolute sexual purity but kinda want to toy with their sexuality while asking how far is too far. They kinda want fellowship with fellow believers but kinda want to be accepted wholly by the world. They kinda want to be spiritually mature but kinda want to be worldly secure. They kinda want biblical authority but kinda want the world’s flattery. They kinda want to know the scriptures but kinda don’t have time to study them. They kinda want to be equally yoked in holy matrimony but kinda want to date the world. They kinda want to be sanctified but kinda want to walk in carnal pleasure. They kinda want God’s blessings but kinda not sure they want God’s life fully. For the kinda kind person, life is tough. They insist to follow Jesus on their own terms and conditions and end up battling with the worst spiritual attacks.
Envy: They are often drawing comparisons with their unbelieving friends who are “making it” and are often upset at their believing friends who are totally sold out to Christ and experiencing lasting joy.
Delay: They are often in stagnation, just like Lot’s wife- glancing back at Sodom while making slow steps towards the Kingdom of God.
Besetting sins: Their double-mindedness has a pattern to it. Hot today and not feeling it tomorrow. And because they are enslaved to how they feel, besetting sins find great solace in their souls.
Narrow escapes: They are often on the edge of making horrible moral decisions because they love the allure of sin but hate the consequences of it. They are constantly flirting with what they have been delivered from. The narrow escapes soon become guilty indulgences. The guilty indulgences soon become seared consciences.
Making God an enemy: The kinda-kind followers have in essence chosen to play a pendulum with their faith and refuse to be still and to grow. They compel the LORD to constantly call them to stillness. And their stubborn will, like Jonah’s, is constantly fleeing His presence. His pursuit is regarded as enmity and His discipline is regarded as harshness.
The scripture’s response to the kinda-kind is simple- choose today whom you will serve!
Joshua 24:14-15,23 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord…destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” (NLT)
Resolute in discipline
We must make up our minds to be disciplined believers if we are ever going to receive revival. Christ’s mind was developed in his earthy life amidst discipline. He arose in the morning while it was still dark to pray (Mark 1:35). He grew in an all-rounded way (Luke 2:52). From the age of 12 to 30, I strongly believe that Jesus Christ wasn’t bumming around. He was disciplining himself. How is your Quiet Time discipline? How is the discipline of your physical health? How is your reading discipline? What decisions have you postponed on account of your indiscipline? The trademark of discipline is consistency. You need to be resolute to be consistent. You need to make up your mind and get your template filled up with this ingredient. What I have noticed from my Christian walk is that when I am not disciplined, I often lack zeal for life. Indiscipline is the thief of zeal.
Resolute in excellence
Christ was known to be excellent. Mark 7:37 says that he did all things well- even His miracles. Excellent work bespeaks beauty and it ministers. What areas of your life require excellence? Is there any stench of mediocrity in the work of your hands? Revival comes through men and women who are excellent at God’s work and it is lost through those that are mediocre in its preservation. The spirit of excellence marked Daniel the prophet while he conducted government affairs (Daniel 6:3-4). The template of excellence begins with a resoluteness to change. We must have an inner impetus to desire the mind of Christ that was seen in Daniel. We must want it for ourselves.
Resolute in accuracy
Christ was resolute to be accurate in His ministry and not deviate from the plan. When they wanted to make Him King, he tore away from them (John 6:15). When people were impressed with Him, he was keen to remain accurate in His call and not be led astray by their awe (John 2:24). When His own disciple was used by Satan, He was conscious of the truth (Matthew 16:23). He was accurate in His handling of the Word of God. In Matthew 15, Jesus gets into a confrontation with the Pharisees. The Pharisees were so absorbed with their cultures that they made man-made laws into requirements for the people to be accepted in society. These traditions and cultures became so powerful that they replaced and contradicted the 10 commandments. Children no longer honoured parents because they were keeping the traditions of the Pharisees (see Matthew 15:4-5). Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for demoting God’s divine Word and elevating cultural trends and traditions that contradicted the scriptures.
Jesus says in Matthew 15:6b “And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition.” (NLT)
It is a point of reflection for us today. Our culture is guilty of the work of the Pharisees. We are intoxicated with the cultures of men and we are willing to break God’s command for their sake. Now, the most incredible thing about the Pharisees is that they were public voices who claimed to advocate for God, yet their lifestyles contradicted the scriptures. Today, we also have public voices who claim to be advocating for God, yet their private lifestyles and opinions are committed to the culture’s ideals and contradict the scriptures. This is what Jesus says.
Matthew 15:8-9 “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.” (NLT)
Jesus promised that those that teach things that contradict the scriptures, or those that claim to advocate for God yet live private lives of rebellion against God shall be exposed. We ought to be resolute not to be caught in the wave of the culture. Those who fail to be resolute in accuracy of the scriptures shall have to endure the harsh blade of the revival.
Matthew 15:12-14 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said? Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them.