why not?

all about me: I guess it’s just part of human nature to wish things were all about us. We look around, and, at least I know it’s this way in my life, we can feel that secret desire to have something of the kind that’s all about us. I mean, these feelings turn up in the weirdest places. They can be sparked by imagination, books, movies, music, other people’s experiences, whatever. We think, “If only there were a way for there to be a scenario like that were I was involved; where I played a major part; where I was shown in a positive light. If only that were all about me!” of course, these sorts of thoughts aren’t like some looming affliction that covers every part of our lives. They effect different people in different ways. And they can be escaped, and hidden from, only in the shadow of the Cross. Nevertheless, these thoughts tend to turn up a lot.
Let me pose a question: has there ever been, like, a sermon, when you thought, if only I would be mentioned? If only I had some part? Well, I know of a couple of sermons that were all about me. One was preached by a man named Jonathan Edwards, some hundreds of years ago.
The one I was thinking of when I started writing this (and before I went down a rabbit trail) was one by a Christian mystic on How to Pray for Revival. I’m sure you’ve heard his name: A.W. Tozer. His sermon wasn’t as pointed at us as Edward’s was, but it hit close to home on our neglect of genuine, heartfelt, humble prayer for revival. It spoke of the two great objectives of such prayers: 1st: A restoration of a vision of the most high God. A return to hallowing God’s name in our land. 2nd: prayer for the Church to be delivered from her Babylonian captivity.

The whole sermon was astonishing (it can be found in Fellowship of the Burning Heart). But throughout it my primary thought was, “If only a few sermons like that were preached in our day, then our nation and Churches wouldn’t be in such a putrid disarray” (rotten mess). But then, a sermon that I heard at Church on Wednesday night reminded me: there are sermons with that same sort of message being preached all over in by the preachers God has chosen to bless. So why so little effect?

Well, the aforesaid sermon gave an answer: there is no power in our Churches and people. Everywhere I look, I see coldness. Then when I turn an look in the direction I fear most, my own heart, I see little difference except that which Christ may give me. Where are the tears of remorse? Where is the charging forward in the name of Christ? Where is the falling on our faces in repentance and full confession that we are sinners? Where is the begging for Christ to appear and do a great work saving souls, like we have seen Him do at intervals in our lives and Churches?

Well, the sermon lat night gave me a clue. Talking to one or two my brothers last night gave me a clue. And looking to my own heart, and my own prayers, has given me a most grievous clue. If we pray to hard, if we beg to earnestly, we may be jostled by the answer. Our economy is terrible, this I know. Our country has been taken over by [an] anti-Christian socialist. But even with all that going on, we are afraid to pray as we ought. We are ashamed to ask God to just fix the economy so that we can be stable and know, no matter what our position in life, nothing is going to change much. We know that doesn’t sound right. But we don’t know what else to say. We have been locked into a position that we love. We don’t want that to go out of joint. We fear leaving our comfort zone; we fear the unknown. Yet with everything in our government and economy so unstable, we don’t want to sit still because things might go wrong. I remember when an occasion caused me to do some thinking about these issues, I fell on my knees in prayer. But I became tongue-tied. I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t sure how God would come out with the glory and still let us stay in our perfect state.

God gives us grace to get through times like that. We get up, dust ourselves off, and keep going. But, as the sermon reminded me, though our prayers, may be or sound good, God must still be in it. It must be blessed by the Holy Ghost, or our efforts at change, or evangelism, are like gnats trying to penetrate a million volt force field. And believing they can do it.

I don’t think Christ has called the retreat. I believe he is still working at all times. I believe that He still works all things together for good. I believe He did a work of grace in my life when he sent me off to Ethiopia. My emotional state has been a tangled mess ever since I went. I am still trying to sort it out in my mind and heart, which is my it is so hard to talk about (it should be fine in like, two years). I think Christ is still working through it. I had no idea that just eight days of stepping out of my comfort zone for nine days could have such an effect on me. I am continually thankful for it.

One of the most effective things Tozer said in his sermon was that we need to be willing for God to bring glory to Himself, and bring revival, an do a great work, whether we’re involved or not. Whether He does a great work in our Church or somewhere else. We need to recognize that we should striving for God to be given all the glory, and we don’t have to be in the forefront, sharing that glory with Him. We need to remember that it’s not all about us.

 

 

 

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