Let’s face it … Christianity’s Message is powerful and life changing. It’s not just a religious Message as some would categorize; it is a Message that transforms people. The early Disciples were an example of how this transformation changed them, and they turned the world upside down.
Acts 17:6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”
However, I am convinced that the Message we preach today in many of our Churches will never bring Revival. Let me illustrate why I say this.
Remember the Story of the boy who was possessed by the Demon in Mark 9? After Jesus cast the Spirit out of the boy, the Disciples were puzzled. They knew that Jesus had given them authority over such things but this time it did not work for them. Why?
Mark 9 28Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” 29Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
Some Versions of the Bible add Fasting to this Verse, while some later Versions omit it for translation reasons. The issue at stake is the inability of the Disciples to deal with this boy’s possession by an Evil spirit. Let’s be clear … if Evil, Demons, and Satan all exist, then how do we deal with their influence in our lives? The common way is that we ignore them as if they don’t exist. Silence about the existence of Demons within Christian circles has become more common in recent years. I would say most of us are like these Disciples who discovered they had no power to address them. Now, what was the response of Jesus to their question of why they were inept? Prayer with the dependence completely on God was the only way this type of Evil could be eliminated.
Prayer (and let me add Fasting as well) is not just a practice; it is a Sacrifice of letting you be controlled by God. That means, when I Pray it’s not just what I want from God … but it’s letting go and allowing God to be in control. Prayer is also an exercise in Faith because by Praying you are Trusting God that He not only hears what you are saying to Him, but you also know He will respond in some manner on your behalf.
Jesus wasn’t pleading with God on behalf of the boy … He simply commanded the Spirit to be released from the boy. No one can change an outcome without God’s Help, and that takes Faith. Prayer and Fasting places God as the Source of our outcome. That is why the Message in many of our Churches will not have the impact to make much of a difference. Does our Message address the kind of dilemma the Disciples faced when confronted with Evil? Do we understand that the Christian life is not just about devotionals and good Worship music, but it is about the ability to confront Evil with success? So, where do we start?
1. Get serious about your Faith. You have to determine that nothing is more important than your Relationship with God. Priority Number One.
2. Get serious about your own sin and confront your selfish nature in every area of your life. Just like the Story about the boy, some things may take committed time in Prayer to determine that God is your Source and the outcome belongs to Him.
3. Determine that the Sacrifice for your life is not in what you give away, but rather it is about what you do by relinquishing the control in your life to God. Sacrifice is a state of the heart; it is what David Prayed following his selfish sinful behavior:
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
4. Faith is not just a statement about God, it is actively pursuing Him for the results that define Faith in the kind of works that allow Him to transform people’s lives. We never want to be like the Disciples who did not understand their inability to see God Work. Our goal is to see God Work first in us and then in the world He has placed us in.
5. Impact has to do with the way we think about life’s challenges and the commitment we have to those we love and serve. The Apostle Paul faced some life and death situations in his life, but he knew that his Faith was his lifeline to success:
Romans 12 1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
If our Message is going to have an impact, we have to start by pursuing God with a determination to grow in our Faith.
Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler
Want more of my Blogs? Check out my Books on Amazon!