Change Begins with Us

America is broken. America is sick. America needs a Healer. Jehovah Rapha is ready and waiting on us, the body of Christ to repent and align ourselves with His Will.

Many nights I awake with a prayer on my lips. Sometimes it is a prayer regarding an immediate circumstance in my personal life—my health, my children, a family member. Most often, however, I awake with a heaviness concerning the state of our Nation. I pray for President Trump, his family, and the entire administration. I pray that all evil at every level will be exposed and true righteousness will once again rule this Nation, because “when the righteous rule the people rejoice” (Prov. 29:2).

Last night, I awoke praying for two items I had recently seen in the media. I cried out to God to heal our land and was again reminded of the all too familiar verse, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” You see, it starts with us—His people—Christ-followers. Judgement begins in the house of God (I Pt. 4:17).

Many self-professed Christians are pointing fingers at the LGBTQ, yet shacking up with their boyfriends or sleeping with someone other than their spouse. People are mortified by sex-trafficking but addicted to pornography, the very industry that feeds and demands human trafficking. Believers decry the divisiveness in the government, yet rip other Believers because of their gender or because their worship songs are just too humanistic. Do you see the deception running rampant in the body of Christ? We are immune to the fact that our own lack of holiness has rendered us completely ineffective in the culture war, so we blame sinners for the cultural decay.

Sinners sin. Sinners are not behind the rapid decline of morality in America. Lukewarm Christians are the reason America continues its slide into degradation. Time and again God’s Word makes it clear that light overcomes the darkness, that God within us is greater than the evil around us, and that it is possible for His Will to “be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Why then with so many claiming to follow Christ is America in such a tempestuous state?

According to Rev. Charles Finney (1792-1875), the church is responsible. Finney said, “If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment…if the church is degenerate and worldly…if the world loses its interest in Christianity…if Satan rules in our halls of legislation…if our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.” It’s almost as if he could see the future of America and was warning the church not to let it happen. Yet here we are.

In times past I have asked myself this convicting question: “If every Christian lived his life the way I live mine, what would be the future of Christianity?” It is an excellent question to test our spiritual temperature and if we are to make a difference in this world, we must constantly check ourselves. We are to burn hot, day in and day out, living lives of holiness fueled by the fear of the Lord. Many Christ-followers proclaim love for the Lord, but few seem to have a fear of the Lord that guides and directs their thoughts, opinions and lifestyles.

If we care about our families, our neighbors, our communities, our nation and our world, it’s time to examine our hearts, repent, and turn so the Healer can do what He is eagerly wanting to do. We quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 over and over, but perhaps we need it broken down in practical application. We can start with these three steps:

  • Stop living in sin. While we know that Christ died for our sins and He is ever interceding for us, we cannot profess Christ and continue living in blatant sin. Hypocrisy is killing the modern church. “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:8-10, NIV).
  • Cultivate the fear of the Lord. We need a glimpse of the holiness of God and a reminder of His instruction, “Be holy as I am holy” (Lev 11:44; I Pt. 1:16). The definition of holy is to be consecrated (or set apart) for a special purpose. Every word and action should be tested before God—ask, “Will this please the Lord; Will it bring Him glory?” As Christ-followers we aren’t to see grace as a license to sin, but rather the power to live holy.
  • Quit pointing fingers. Division is destroying the body of Christ. We must learn to focus on the majors instead of majoring on the minors. We will never see eye-to-eye on every issue and it isn’t a requirement. Instead, we need to embrace a solid Biblical foundation and honor those around us who are living by Biblical principles, even if they aren’t executing them in exactly the same way we would. All the criticism on social media is unproductive and downright damaging to the gospel of Christ. Our primary objective is the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV). We would see undeniable change in the body of Christ AND in the world at large if we all became fishers of men instead of critics of ministries.

Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s an excellent start, items I plan to remind myself of frequently as change starts with me. If we want Jehovah-Rapha to heal our land, we must hear and obey the clear requirement He set before us, His people: humble ourselves, pray and seek, repent and turn from wickedness. There is still hope.

Will we obey?

Repentance, prayer, fear of the Lord, America, hypocrisy, sin

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