Pastor Steve Ellison
The Church in America is in desperate need of reviving. We need a strong movement of the Spirit of God to blow through us. The first requirement for reviving is that we have the divine spark of life within us. In other words, we must have been regenerated upon trusting Christ as Savior and Lord. A second requirement is that we must agree with God about the root of our problem. The heart of every problem is the human heart. Bible study took on a whole new meaning for me several years ago when God dawned a truth upon me. Given the right circumstances, I am fully capable of committing every sin found in the Scripture. That is a sobering and eye-opening revelation which will forever change your Bible reading. Jesus said that the things that come out of our hearts are what defile us. Jesus also said that lusting and hating makes us guilty of adultery and murder. Jeremiah 17:9-10 identifies the problem, "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” (NASU) If my local church and yours is to expect revival, our members will have to allow God to address the condition of our individual hearts.
Second Corinthians 10:3-5 speaks about spiritual warfare not in terms of fighting demons but in “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”. That is a magnificent order indeed. Can any human think that to be an easy task? Have you set aside some time to carefully and honestly evaluate the patterns of your thought life? What occupies your thoughts: Christ? work? toys? evangelizing the lost? recreation? lust? benevolence ministry? Do you look at television, movies, internet, magazines, etc. that bring impure thoughts? Do you have thoughts that you would be embarrassed for others to know about? Be sure that Christ already knows. Do you listen to music that promotes fornication, alcoholism, adultery, divorce, etc.? Scripture says that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the heart of the believer. The important question is whether the Holy Spirit is comfortable in your heart and mine. Or must we conclude that He is really uncomfortable in our hearts?
Our impure, sinful thoughts must be replaced with God’s thoughts. Romans 12:2-3 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Colossians 3:1-2 tells how to begin the process by having a heavenly not earthly focus, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (NASU) From Abraham forward, Scripture calls on us to have a Pilgrim attitude, looking for a heavenly city built by God Himself. We are not to focus on earthly concerns. Those are temporary distractions diverting attention from that which is truly important. Philippians 4:8 gives some incredibly practical suggestions, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (NASU) You will have to make up your own mind, but in my estimation this verse directs us away from virtually every bit of what passes for entertainment in 21st century America. Sadly, it also tells me that I personally have a long, long way to go in “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”.