Why haven’t we yet brought the love of God to the nations? Why are we so ineffective in doing the work of the Lord?
The deepest reason is this: We who form the Church—that’s you and me—are not real with God, in our walk with Him and in our obedience to His Word. Unless our hearts change and we become genuine, transparent, open and humble in our faith (and through that, humble in all areas of our lives), we will never make an impact on this world!
Many of God’s people have felt a deficiency in their Christian lives, especially when they read God’s expectations for them in the Bible. In order to fix this problem, they have gone from one seminar, conference or convention to the next, always looking for a formula or recipe to become a powerful, effective Christian overnight.
Superficial “Fixes” Won’t Produce Lasting Fruit
Churches have also recognized that something vital seems to be missing. In hopes of reviving their people, they constantly come up with new plans and activities. They invite the best music groups they can find, the most eloquent speakers and even prophets to breathe new life into their congregations. But after all the excitement is over and everyday life sets in once again, nothing much has changed. So they search for new plans and new speakers, hoping for better results next time.
King David had a deep longing to be close to God and to be used of the Lord. He too felt he wasn’t all God intended for him to be. However, his approach to meet this spiritual need was entirely different from most of us.
David Was Real with God
David didn’t go to one of the prophets—Samuel, Nathan or Gad—to ask for a formula. He didn’t invite them to hold a seminar at his palace with the hope that some of their anointing would fall on him.
David simply went into the presence of his God with a prayer that shows that he knew exactly where his root problem was.
This is what he prayed:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
David wanted to be real with God, not only with his outward actions, but beginning with his innermost thoughts. He recognized that his words and actions were only the reflections of his thoughts, and his thoughts were simply the evidence of what he was really like in his heart.
David was praying and asking the Lord to try him, and cure those wrong tendencies of his heart that showed up in his thought life.
Jesus said, “for from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts…” (Mark 7:21). We reflect the true reality of who we are by what we think. Everything first happens in our thought life before it is translated into words and actions. What we speak or do is only what has been going on inside of us for a long time.
Our problem is not that we don’t have enough Bible information, speakers or opportunities. Our problem is that we don’t want to face the truth of who we really are. We don’t want others to know it either, and we even try to fool God. We never ask Him to search our heart and reveal our secrets. Instead, we pretend a spiritual life we don’t live, a peace we don’t experience and a holiness and commitment that we don’t possess.
Needed: Divine Surgery
We will never serve this world the way the Lord asked us to or make any progress in becoming more like Jesus unless we permit God to cut us open, search our hearts, try us, know our thoughts and then change our insides. Only then can we become real with God according to the Word of God.
Transparency and Genuineness Make a Powerful Witness
That reality, truly being real with God, will make us the most powerful witness for Jesus, even if we don’t say a word. We will be so transparent and so genuine that if the world around us tries us with fire, we will come out as gold.
If you truly desire this reality, stop looking to plans and activities as your solution. Begin today to call out to the Lord as David did. Say, “Lord Jesus, cut me open. Please search my heart, try me, know my thoughts, reveal to me who I am and change me, at any cost, to become what Your Word says I ought to be.”
Believe me, there is no prayer the Lord delights to answer for His people more than this one!
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of the nonprofit organization Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia is a nonprofit organization serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.
Click here, to read more articles on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.
Read KP Yohannan Metropolitan’s article, “Removing the Mask“.