Demand more from yourself with regards to knowing, loving, and obeying Christ. More often than not, we become too comfortable or too busy to personally nurture our relationship with our Lord. What we don't realize, however, is that we're starving ourselves. Christ called Himself the True Bread from Heaven (John 6:32). Yet how often can you honestly say you've feasted on Him? How often have you felt at spiritual peace, filled with all the fullness of God?
We are told in John 15 to abide in Christ. We are also told to have His Word abiding in us (John 15:7). These are the keys to answered prayer. But a great many of us are content merely to go to church, do Christian things, or pray stiff, wooden prayers rather than pursue Yeshua with all our heart and soul. The reality of the knowledge of Christ is missing in today's Christianity.
The Apostle Paul knew the Lord Jesus in such a way that he counted everything as loss in order to win Christ. Why? Because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord (Philippians 3:7-11). Paul's great pursuit, the goal of his life, the magnificent glory set before him was knowing Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Everything else paled in comparison. You might say Paul's life is the antithesis to ours. All too often, it is Christ who pales in comparison to our jobs, our families, our vacations, our possessions...even our church. O, dear brethren, what a backwards people we are! This should not be! The longing within the Apostle Paul is the very same longing that should be alive in the heart of every true believer.
One's life should revolve around this consuming passion:
I must know Christ!
No matter the cost, no matter the labor, I must know Christ lest I die! There are many who confuse doing for Christ as abiding in Christ. Yet being active in ministry, while beneficial for the church, will not feed the people of God beyond what you feed yourself.
"They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!"
This message is not only for the Christian in the pew, but also for the one behind the pulpit, and perhaps even more so for the shepherds of Christ. In our salvation, we have been found by Jesus, and yet the mystery is this - we must pursue Him in order to grow in grace and Christlikeness! Christ unfolds His wisdom to the seeking Christian, to the one who asks, seeks, and knocks (Matthew 7:7).
However, more than merely being curious or inquisitive about our Lord, we must get a glimpse of His beauty in order to fuel this lifelong pursuit. Once a believer catches a glimpse of the unfathomable glory of Almighty God, everything else in life pales in comparison. I believe this is the point where Paul was at in his walk, so dazzled by the beauty of Christ that he couldn't bear to tear his eyes away. How do we get this longing deep in our hearts? How do we inspire ourselves to do this and bring revival to our lives?
We can do nothing. This is a work of the Holy Spirit of God. Only the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts to overflowing with the living water of love to Christ. But do not despair, Christian. You have but to ask Him to flare your love for Christ into a consuming fire, and He will not hesitate to open the door to deeper intimacies with Him. It is the Father's will that Christ's church know Him to the full. If we pray God's will, we know we have what we've asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).
I am of the belief that the abiding Christian, the one who is truly alive with love for Christ, who has seen His beauty, who adores His Word and saturates their entire lives in Him, who is not satisfied with the joys of the world, but who thinks on heavenly things, who pants after God like the deer pants for the water brooks, this is the very Christian to whom prayer is supremely precious. It is this believer whose faith has been tried, who knows they are rooted and grounded in faith, who is ferocious in prayer. This is the one who despairs at the shallowness in our churches, at the superficial love to our Lord, who cries out like Jeremiah in tears for others to look up and catch a glorious glimpse of our Lord Jesus Christ! If these gazed heavenward for just a moment, if they but asked Christ's Holy Spirit to open their eyes to see Him in His glory, they would drop their worthless trinkets and pursue that eternal Treasure with the greatest of joys.
Brethren, if we want revival in our lives, we must pray for it, and pray earnestly. We must be willing to be used by God to bring about any spiritual change in ourselves, our churches, our communities, and beyond. We must pray fervently for these. Pray steadfast for your church, for your pastor, for his doctrine, for the Spirit to move in the hearts of those who hear him. Be ready for God to call you specifically to jump in the fray if you happen to pray for these miracles. He does not expect you to be passive. But I implore you to demand more of yourself than a passive faith. I believe that while Christ works in His church at large, His work begins in the hearts of those He loves, His sheep, those who know His voice. Ask Him for this grace!
Set your heart on Him. Ask Him to help you with this. Pursue Him with all your strength. If you have no strength, ask Him to supply it. Ask Him to bring you to books and to fellow Christians who might help you and disciple you. Saturate your entire life with Him. Always be thinking on heavenly things. Every moment of every day. Always keep your eyes on His face. Pray without ceasing. Study your Bible, don't simply read it. Study it while bathed in prayer. Ask God questions as you read. Write down things you learn. Dig in and know Him. Inspire others to do the same as you have. Be the Christian who speaks up, who makes waves, who questions the status quo, who compares sermon notes to Scripture, and who will not let the truth of Christ's Word be maligned for as long as you draw breath. Ask, seek, and knock for these graces! Determine to make it the goal of your life to know Him as the Apostle Paul wished to know Him.
Christ is God. He is our Almighty God. Nothing is above Him. No one is more important than Him, no knowledge is more worthy of knowing, no pursuit should ever be greater than your pursuit of the Son of God. Strive to give yourself a high view of Christ. Does He captivate you? Do not rest until He does. This is the heart and soul of Christianity - not merely saved from Hell, and not merely saved from the power of sin, but knowing our magnificent God and making Him known to others.
Christ has given us the right to become children of God - to know Him - to truly know Him! (John 1:12) Take a moment and think on that, beloved! We shall one day stand before Him and see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). Do you see Him, seated high and lifted up at the right hand of God, and smiling down upon you? O, Christian, do not look away! Never look away from those eyes which search your heart and mind. Focus your entire life on Him and Him alone! May His eternal worth and bountiful grace turn your eyes upon Him and captivate you until you march on to Glory! Yes, Lord, this is my prayer for all who read these words, wherever they are in the world. I pray for their sanctification, and I ask that You inspire them to move more purposefully in their faith, to bring glory to Your name, and to be so in love with You, so focused upon You, so filled with the Spirit of God, they don't even notice when the world falls away.
In this, Lord, may Your church make herself ready for Your Second Coming (Revelation 19:7). Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Amen.