Revival is A Living Sacrifice (Python Series, Part 4 of4)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1 AMP).
Welcome to this edition of Truth for the Journey! Today we continue with the series, "Divination and the Python Spirit" but today we focus on "Revival is a Living Sacrifice." This series is a long one, because much is involved. In previous articles in this series so far, we have already looked at, "Divination and the Python Spirit" and explained the nature of this spiritual attack that targets the apostle and the apostolic ministry, (its finances and its operation).
Then we looked into "Spiritual Weariness and Exhaustion are not Age Related!" An article where we discuss the nature of python and how it looks to ware out the saints, especially the apostle. Then lastly we looked at "The Culture of Extreme Selfishness" which brings definition to the nature of narcism which has infiltrated the culture and even the Church.
Todays article builds on the last, by focusing on the life style of the believer. Something that I am a great advocate for and even named my university "LifeStyle International Christian University." Without life style, we cannot emulate Christ and words are cheap when it comes to being an example, if we lack the life style to back it up.
All those used in revival in the past [including now] - were emptied of themselves. Those individuals, who God used, knew that revival is not all about self - but what God's doing. The yolk destroying power is in the presence of God. Only when we remain in His presence, can our life styles be changed and then we'll see true revival. When it comes to revival (and leadership) - life style - is everything.
Jesus called us to a life style of prayer and fasting - not narcism. When people pray and don't get results, they grow very restless and hopeless, because they pray with wrong motives and hidden agendas - to furnish their narcissistic desires.
We see this in James 4:3: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (KJV). "You do ask... and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives..." (AMP). "...you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way (MSG)."
For those who have lost hope, I say to you, we will never have a future in God when we focus on ourselves. We have to die to self. Lust is never satisfied. But when we are full of God - lust and self - are taken care of. In Christ we lose everything, to gain everything. "Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it" (Luke 9:24 NIV).
Life Style is Everything
Going back to our main focus of today, revival surrounds godly life styles, I want to look once again at our opening scripture from the Message bible, were it reads:
Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1 MSG).
We're not here to blend our lives with the culture. We're here to live the life style of God's Kingdom - in front of the culture - not the other way around! Instead we must lay the dictates of this culture down, once and for all.
Laying it all Down
A living sacrifice means trust. We are not meant to work everything out like one giant [spiritual] algorithm, but to trust God with our lives. Usually revivals plummet once division sets in. When division happens, get the unity back. Love stops division. Step back into God's love and lay everything down. We say that we want the anointing to destroy the yolks of bondage in our lives, but we must remain IN the anointing and not in the flesh. We must learn to move as He moves. It's a whole new life style.
In his book, "Hosting the Presence" Bill Johnson writes, "I realise that we are not to live by feelings. Emotions are wonderful, but not reliable indicators of God's Presence and moving. But there is a feeling that goes beyond emotions, and quite frankly can work regardless of our emotional state. It is the mood of the Holy Spirit Himself that we can become so in tune with that we move as He moves" (137). One of the greatest declarations of the bible is this, "When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you" (James 4:8 TLB) regardless whether we feel anything or not. His closeness creates new life-style in us. Where we are willing to change, to meet His expectations.
One area that God's influence in our lives helps to change is our appetite. Fasting is a conviction, [not a brooding apathy!] and is a place where we learn to subdue the appetites of our flesh. What we don't need is more information or teaching. What we need is more revelation. Manna stank the day after. We need fresh Rhema every single day. "Give us this day our daily bread..." (Matthew 6:11 KJV), not only refers to physical food but to revelation. Even fellowship with the Holy Spirit must be daily or it will stink (metaphorically!) We need to develop an appetite for fresh manna. The now Word of God.
Divination and the python spirit will always draw us into idolatry and false worship [through our appetites], especially self-worship. For instance, I believe in abundance and the abundant life. I believe too in prosperity [and I don't want to upset anyone when I say] but we were never meant to worship abundance! We must worship the one true God (of abundance), Who gives us abundant life, through Christ. We don't hoard wealth, so that we can build ourselves big golden calves to worship!
What are your appetites? Do you hunger for fame and big ministry? When I listened to Joyce Myers recently, (and I've not listened to Joyce for a long while), I noticed that everything she said, was all about helping others. It was not all about making her ministry bigger or about how great the latest meetings were! Instead after many years of ministry Joyce has learnt, that it's only as she lays big-ministry down, that God has given her a big-ministry! I only use her as an example. So many in ministry today, are actually worshiping their ministries and the size of their ministries or churches- rather than God! What a bizarre state of affairs. Perhaps they were sincere to begin with but somewhere along the way, agendas got swopped and they - lost the plot!
Self-Help v Self-Sacrifice
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead... SELF-HELP is no help at all. SELF-SACRIFICE is the way, my way... (Luke 9:23 MSG emphasis added)
If I had to put sound advice into one sentence, I would start by saying: "Get into the glory and don't work it out!" Like I said above - this is not a spiritual algorithm! We'll never be able to work it all out. Instead with supernatural words of knowledge - given to us by God - all questions are dispersed and there's no debate. In fact when God touches our lives, all the questioning stops.
We stop questioning because we become too overwhelmed and excited with His presence. Our focus changes. We begin supernaturally trusting God to reveal what we need to know at the right time. Then we apply our lives to the right pursuits rather than exhausting ourselves by trying to be clever and working everything out by ourselves. We are not God!
People who soak up the glory all the time are beaming, happy and radiant people [to be envied!] Those who don't share the same experience on the contrary are often cynical and jealous of the experience they witness in others. They are close to the spout but they are not getting wet!
We must stop working it out and get into the presence of God and let Him work it out. Wherever the glory is, that's where God is speaking, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 60:1 KJV). And we must sacrifice self-will so that we can enter His presence. As priests of our own soul - we must sacrifice self-will every day. "Not my will but yours be done," (Luke 22:42 NIV). "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23 NIV).
We make sacrifices on the alter of our own souls so that we can enter into God's presence. If our worship is not helping us achieve this, then it's not worship. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks... (John 4:23-24 NIV).
Finally have you ever noticed how 100% tennis players are? They are ALL-IN and SOLD-OUT individuals. They are so focused, to win. We must be the same. ALL IN - BELIEVERS. But for tennis players, it's all about the tennis and not about themselves. In fact they deny themselves many luxuries, to fulfil the demands of their sport. Equally so - it's all about Christ and not about us. If tennis players can deny themselves to follow sport, we can deny ourselves, to follow Christ!
If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death] (Luke 9:23-24 AMP).
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father help me to deny myself today to follow Christ. I want to preserve my life in Christ and not lose it on myself. Help me lay all my selfishness down so that I can live the life style of Your Kingdom. In Jesus name. Amen.
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I soak up the glory. I arise and shine because the glory of the Lord is upon me. I am radiant with the glory of the Lord. My life style is Christlike not selfish. I consume the fresh Rhema of God's Word. I fellowship with God's Holy Spirit. My hope is in Him. I am not hopeless but hopeful. My tank is always full because I remain thankful!