Monday, September 17, 2012

Real Revival for a Faith that Stinks

Spirit & Truth # 289
“Real Revival for a Faith That Stinks”
By Greg Smith

            The story of Jesus raising Lazarus to life is for all who need resurrection in their own lives.  When my faith is stale, I need revival.  Lazarus had been dead for four days, and at this point his rotting body had begun to stink.  My faith-life can be the same way.  I might let my prayer time lapse for a day or two, without any dramatic effects.  But after four days, my spirit starts to stink.  Jesus, however, is the God of perfect timing. He waits until we realize our own stench before He arrives to bring new life.  He says, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on My way to wake him up (v. 11 HCSB).”

            We come to Jesus even as His friends did.  I bring my fears, my unbelief and limited human vision.  Like Martha, I am a mixture of faith and doubt.  “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You (vv. 21-22 HCSB).”  But Jesus does not condemn my weakness.  Though my mourning grieves Him, He has compassion on me.  He reassures me with a word of truth.  He promises, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.  Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die — ever."  Then He asks, "Do you believe this (vv. 25-26 HCSB)?”  Your answer will determine the amount of work the Lord is able to do in your heart.

            First, the stone must be removed.  Jesus could have removed the stone Himself, had He wanted to.  But God knows that if I am to experience revival in my life, I need to do some of the hard work.  I've got to ask God to show me the stones that I've placed over the entrance to my heart, that keep me from hearing His commanding voice of resurrection.  My stone can be sin or disobedience or a negative attitude, or any number of things.  Once I've found the stone in my heart, it's up to me to move it.  I can't ask Jesus to do this difficult work for me.  Jesus says, "Remove the stone (v. 39 HCSB)."  By doing this myself I participate in the renewal that Jesus brings.  The poor men who removed Lazarus' stone were forced to deal with the stench of the human condition.  Likewise when I roll back my own stones I'm forced to deal with my own stinking sin.  But then, once I've done my part, it's the Master's turn.  Only by His voice can there be new life.

            Jesus wants to bring new life to my soul.  He asks me to obey, but one more thing is essential.  He tells me to believe.  In verse 40 (HCSB), Jesus says, "Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  The Lord is a gentleman, and doesn't force Himself on anybody.  He may show up to bring resurrection to my heart, but a lack of belief on my part will block God's blessing every time.  If I want to see God's glory manifsted, then I've got to have faith that He will do it.

            Obey, and believe.  These are the keys to revival.  Next time, we’ll see God’s essential instructions to follow up, after God’s revival has taken place in your life.  I pray that God will grant you new life, and that you’ll follow Him into the light.

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