Today’s daily reading included Jeremiah 8:11 “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”
Here is one of the foundational human faults: We trivialize sin, the “wound of my people,” accepting superficial sorrow as repentance, rather than truly grieving because we’ve grieved the Holy Spirit of God(Ephesians 4:30). We count on “Eternal Security” as our pass-key to the Pearly Gates, rather than truly repenting of our sin. We interpret the warm feeling of emotional worship as peace with God, when we harbor unrepented sin. And we accept lack of conflict as peace, when we cling to hatred, bitterness, and the whole range of socially acceptable sins. The “we” of which I speak is Christ’s church.
And we wonder why there is no revival.
In medicine, superficial healing is a serious danger after surgery to remove tumors and cysts. It leaves a void under apparently healed flesh that can fester, and become more of a problem than the original issue. The church is even more adept at glossing over the cancer of sin. We accept the Sunday smiles and handshakes as a statement that all’s well. In corporate prayer, we lift up Aunt Minnie’s gall bladder or Cousin Ray’s bunions to God for healing, and never mention our family or personal struggles that could, if left untreated, cause disastrous consequences. Out of pride, we refuse to “air our dirty laundry” before the brethren, while exactly that sort of reticence erects the fragile bubble of apparent well-being that we refuse to burst. Lie builds upon lie, providing grist for the rumor-mill. Hurt builds upon hurt, until families dissolve and factions crash the church into pieces.
And we wonder why there is no revival.
God’s church, each Christ-follower, you and I, need to quit manufacturing our own counterfeit peace, and submit to God’s conviction that grows ever more quiet the longer we suppress it. How long will God suffer our stiff-necked pride? How long before he allows true persecution to winnow the chaff from the fruitful seed. As the “B” movie thug said, “Look, we can do this the easy way, or we can do it the hard way.”
Yes! Pray for revival, but then we must steel ourselves for the hard climb, through conviction, through repentance, through humiliation, to true, Spirit-filled honesty and love. We must learn to support one another without sideways glances and raised eyebrows. We must learn to accept one another, even when their sin-struggle repulses us. We need to tear off the scabs from personal wounds until the deep healing is complete, bearing the pain with the same stubborn resolve that used to conceal those wounds.
Only when we, through God’s Holy Spirit, persevere until our sin-wounds completely heal, will we receive the true peace that passes understanding. Only then, will we see revival.
Not coincidentally, I’m sure, the New Testament reading included Colossians 3:1-17 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another,forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The passage from Jeremiah tells us what to do, while that from Colossians tells us what it looks like. Sermons based on this passage abound, but it deserves a seriously prayerful reading and study. Apostle Paul wrote similar entreaties to all the churches, so we know these principles are crucial to healthy Body life.
Why, then, do we keep ignoring them? Why do we attentively listen while thinking John, or Mary would profit from them? Not a single one of us has mastered Christ-likeness! Yes, we like Christ, but that’s not the same, is it?! If we love him we will keep his commandments(John 14:15). That’s called obedience, brethren. If we’re serious about revival, we’ll study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15).
I could type till my fingers fall off, but I can’t convict you of your failings. Let God’s Holy Spirit convict you, and then, ACT ON IT!