By Evan Wiggs
Oh people of God! We are so privileged in this country! We are rich beyond belief compared to so much of the world. We are children of wealth and comfort. How easily this condition begets a condition of pride and assumed privilege with the Almighty. Our churches are comfortable, our sanctuaries are cool our spirits are at ease in our wealth. Sermons from many pulpits are homiletical wonders speaking to ears that want to be tickled, but not too hard.
But God in heaven is speaking with a voice of piercing power and a cry of passion and groaning is rising in His heart. Sin stalks the church and sin runs rampant in the land. Have we eyes to see or does God have to deal with us? Do we think we have special merit with our Lord? Does our theology blind us with intellectual smugness that thinks we are somehow special and not at all needy? Are we Laodicean in our attitude and manner?
39 Why should any living mortal, or any man,
Offer complaint in view of his sins?
40 Let us examine and probe our ways,
And let us return to the LORD.
We don’t understand the Lord’s attitudes concerning our sins. God doesn’t forgive us because he somehow has to. He forgives us based on the unimaginable tragedy of the Cross and nothing less. We are prayerless and passionless. Our faith is a cool intellectual thing, which is so devoid of the heat of the spirit as to be ice. We breathe out frost on the pane of life and leave it obscured in a mist. Where is the heat of the heart set on fire from the altars above? Where is the passion of Christ as he wept over Jerusalem and cried out to a lost and stubborn people? Do we travail in prayer over a dark and lost world or do we go to our comforts and slumber and forget the horror and tragedy that a lost world is?
Amy Carmichael wrote:
Fire – Words
“O God, my words are cold:
The frosted frond of fern or feathery palm
Wrought on the whitened pane –
They are as near to fire as these my words;
Oh that they were as flames!” Thus did I cry,
And thus God answered me: “Thou shalt have words,
But at this cost, that thou must first be burnt,
Burnt by red embers from a secret fire,
Scorched by fierce heats and withering winds that sweep
Through all thy being, carrying thee afar
From old delights. Doth not the ardent fire
Consume the mountain’s heart before the flow
Of fervent lava? Wouldst thou easefully,
As from cool, pleasant fountains, flow in fire?
Say, can thy heart endure or can thy hands be strong
In the day that I shall deal with thee?
“For first the iron must enter thine own soul,
And wound and brand it, scarring awful lines
Indelibly upon it, and a hand
Resistless in a tender terribleness
Must thoroughly purge it, fashioning its pain
To power that leaps in fire,
Not otherwise, and by no lighter touch,
Are fire-words wrought.”
We expect God to deal with us, as we would choose. After all our inner life lies to us that we are not all that bad. We do a comparison with those who are so much worse than us and say, “see God I’m not that bad! Why look at so-and-so!” and we sit in smug satisfaction that surely God sees it just as we do! And when He ruthlessly deals with us we cry out, “Why God, why do you deal with me like this?” We cry out for deliverance and we issue prayer requests on the prayer chain. We try to climb of the crucible and we invoke Spiritual Warfare prayers to destroy the work of the enemy not discerning that it is the Spirit of God working not an evil spirit.
When Jesus came into the Temple in Mark 11:15- 16 He did something very deliberate and prophetic for the Church. This was not the first time He had been in the temple and seen all these things. As a matter of fact he had been in there the pervious day. But this was his triumphal entry, this was his King crowing day. He came this day to claim his Kingship for a people who would follow Him and He showed us how he would deal with them. He ruthlessly cleaned out the temple and drove all those who made a sham of the very purpose of the temple.
15Then they came* to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.”
Do you see what he was trying to show us? You see, we are that temple today! In I Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that.
19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
What is in the temple? Is it lit up with the shekinah glory of God? Does it flow with prayer? Does it overflow with Joy?
Will you ask Him to deal ruthlessly with you? Will you let Him drive out all that is useless in your life that you might be holy and blameless before Him?
Oh God, our Father! We beseech you to ignite our lives with new unction and clarity of vision! To burn the dross of our sins and ignite our lives with your presence! We acknowledge our ways are sometimes cold and lifeless and we ask you Lord of life to impart that life to us. We desire a new knowledge of you in our lives, in our churches and our world. We realize that the dark and lost world will only be reached when we reach out in you and for that Pentecostal Power of Acts 1:8 be ours just as truly as it was the early church. Forgive our denominational pride! Forgive our personal pride! We humbly ask for your wonders in our lives once again.