Matt. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
It would seem that, if Jesus made this His message, there must be something to it that we should discover. Today in the large church movement, I see a pattern that has taken shape. It is a pattern that there is no time for genuine moves of God on the hearts of people. They are now lead by a time clock, not by a move of the Spirit. We need to get the people out for the next service, so we don’t have time for you to repent. Just say a prayer and move on, because the next service is in 20 minutes. My displeasure of this is that many don’t receive the genuine conversion that is intended. We have them say a prayer that is not in scripture but don’t allow the time for true repentance, which is taught.
I’m sorry if the need for multiple services has interfered with the patterns of the Kingdom, but we need to recover something so vital as repentance. No time for Godly sorrow to do its work. We, in faith, know that God answers all prayers, but the new person might not be in faith yet. They might be in the place of Godly sorrow, but for the sake of time, we push them along. I understand the need for multiple services, so it is up to us to find a solution that does not require us to go backwards. The Kingdom has to advance, but that does not always look like we think. Many times I have studied the history of the Church. I have noticed that the Church has consistently lost revelation.
One of those real revelations that have cost many Christian the true joy in Christ is the process of repentance. Yes, the process of repentance. Too many times, the believer fails to obtain the real fruits of repentance that is promised. Why is this? From my point of view, it is simple. We have short-circuited the process for the time, convenience and order. Let me approach this one by one.
1. Time-We are busy people. We have plans to go to church and to go to lunch afterwards. We don’t have time actually to wait on God for Him. We take one truth and don’t allow it to manifest because we are in a hurry. We would rather “receive” something by faith (saying we have it), and then actually contending for it by faith. Faith is not something that happens quickly. The perfect work of faith is not rapid answers, but endurance.
James 1:1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
James 1:8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
For this reason, I feel many don’t obtain the full measure of the promises of God. There is no more teaching on waiting in prayer and faith. More of what I hear is the “I prayed a prayer, and now I am waiting on the Lord to answer it.” This is not what the Scriptures reveals to us. There is a need for contending for the things of God, especially for those things that He has promised us. Contending produces in us the necessary character to maintain the promise when given. So when it comes to salvation, there is no difference. We are not talking about earning it through works, but contending for the promise of transformation by contending until we know we have had the encounter necessary.
Many people have confused faith with convenience. It is not a mental ascent to obtain, but a surrender to the Spirit. When we start out, we are usually in a phase of believing mentally, but not with the heart. We will talk about this more in a moment. To obtain the promise and joy of salvation that will last past a moment takes a genuine conversion of heart. After the prayer, there should be a contending for the Lord to change us deep within. A real disgust of what we were before we knew the Lord is a good start. Many people are disgusted with their sin, but it should be more than that. Salvation is more than being born again and forgiven. It is being changed and made into the likeness of Christ.
For the sake of time, we have created a gospel experience that can all be manifested in a moment of one-hour service centers. When people struggle with their salvation, we tell them to have faith and that the Lord loves them. These things are true, but not always helpful. I have met with many people in the Body of Christ over the years. My conclusion is that many have not spent the time with Christ to obtained the promise.
2. Convenience-This is one that can be a little touchy to address. We are just a nation that loves to create a world of convenience for ourselves. We almost think of inconvenience as something outside the Kingdom. Nothing can be farther from the truth in the Kingdom. So when it comes to the reality that you will have to contend for your salvation, we almost sneer at the idea of it. Again we are not talking about works. We are talking about waiting on the Lord for the promise again. It is not convenient to live a life of sin, but it appears easier for many people. The “Inconvenient Truth” is that if you did not get the promise through a simple prayer, then you might have to go after it. It seems that the Scriptures make it clear that there is an effort on our end to be given. That effort is in the form of surrender. Oh, I know we think we have, but not always to the degree, He requires. Surrender is what the Scriptures reveals that gives us perspective.
Jer. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jer. 29:12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Jer. 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Prov. 8:17 I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Seeking the Lord diligently will never be a matter of convenience. It will always be an issue of desperate pursuit. The trap is that we want more of the blessing without more of Him. All of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ, but that has not removed the process of apprehension. I might not have to pray long to be forgiven, and I am thankful for that. I do, however, have to contend with God to be changed. Just like Jacob, who wrestled with God for his blessing, so shall we. Don’t tell me He was under the law, he was not. Jacob was under grace. The Lord chose his bloodline to bless. That is grace. Jacob, who found favor with the Lord, knew there was something wrong with him. Is name meant to supplant or to trip up by the heel? Heal crabber because he came out with his holding his brother’s heel. See Gen 25:24-28 Jacob wanted to be changed, he called it a blessing.
Gen. 32:24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
Gen. 32:25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.
Gen. 32:26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
Gen. 32:27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.”
Gen. 32:28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Gen. 32:29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
Gen. 32:30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
This wrestling with God is lost today in the modern doctrine of convenience. To wrestle with God might take longer than you thought. It might require more effort than you thought. Hear the promise. “You will find Me.” That is a glorious hope. We will talk more about the promises in a bit as these are vital to understanding how the Lord moves us.
3. Order-This one is about as annoying to the real Spirit of Revival as it can be. Often what we think is order is control and the attempt to have God all neat and wrap in a little box. That has never been the way the Spirit works. For the Spirit to bring Kingdom order He often, if not always, will blow our system up so that he can reconstruct our lives. It depends on us. You see if we cry out to God, and yet hold on to our ways, there is going to be a collision. We want God, but if we want Him in a package of order, we will hamper the Spirit. Collisions with truth happen because we will resist everything that seems to bring disorder to our door. Our lives are never in order without the Lord. It does not matter how much money we have. Without Christ you are in darkness, so you are unable to see the actual state of things.
Have great news thought, Christ is waiting for us. He is always waiting there for us to see the light and surrender to the Spirit of Truth. We are going to talk about a few more things in the blogs ahead. The next one we will discuss the truth about what repentance is. I would love you feedback on this. Blessings to you.
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