September 29, 2020 | Susan Noble, an IFA intercessor from Idaho
What America is facing today stirs me to share an experience which brought me to my knees weeping 27 years ago. I now submit it to you, the Body of Christ in America.
In May of 1993, a group of intercessors went to Moscow to support Derek Prince in prayer as he ministered to hundreds of pastors who had come from 11 time zones across the former Soviet Union to receive his Bible teaching. The Iron Curtain had fallen only three and a half years before, and these spiritually hungry pastors could now, for the first time, openly partake of Bible teaching from one of the great Bible teachers of our time. Their hunger, enthusiasm and gratitude were unabashed and palpable. I was fortunate to be among those intercessors.
One experience during those 11 days forever changed my perception of Christianity.
Our group leader had arranged for us to hear the testimony of a Russian former prisoner who had spent some three years in solitary confinement in Siberia for his faith. In broken English, with the purest humility, Alexander spoke, with not a trace of self-promotion, or self-pity, or any self-awareness at all. Only deep, quiet passion was evident in this follower of Jesus Christ who had been honored to suffer for the Lord.
The impact of his testimony is impossible to convey. The anguish he had endured was only part of what held us rapt. The purity of his devotion, and his joyful surrender in suffering for the Lord, were beyond any measure I had ever witnessed. For Alexander, it would have been an honor to die for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Seeing his countenance, listening to him, it was as if God drew back a curtain to show me what a Christian is, from His perspective. This revelation from the heart of God stunned me. As a Christian coming from America, I was horrified to see how far we were from what God was calling us to be.
Two Scriptures dropped into my heart and became vividly real in those moments:
“And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” (Mk 4:18,19 AMPC)
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” (Rev. 3:15-19)
Suddenly, strikingly, here was a graphic description of the majority of the American church (including myself).
At this critical crossroads in our nation, hundreds of thousands of Christians are praying for God to rescue our nation. Many are seeking to right our lives before Him. The call to humble ourselves, and pray, and seek His face, and repent, found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, is being echoed by church leaders across our land as we see our exceptional heritage and freedom being threatened.
The healing of our land begins with OUR humbling ourselves, and praying, and seeking His face, and with OUR repenting. Yet, what are we repenting from?
In churches today we hear various songs asking God for blessing, and asking Him to pour out His Spirit on us. But has He not already poured out His Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), and already “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3)? Are we missing the mark? Might He be waiting for us to give up our self-centered orientation, cultural entanglements, and lifestyles comfortable to the flesh, that we might become Christ-centered and devoted purely to Him?
Consider for a moment that we may be in a “soup of lukewarmness,” a spiritual haze produced by our culture such that we cannot even see the danger of our plight. Revelation 3:17 says, “Because you say, ‘I … have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…” (Italics mine.) Remember the proverbial frog in the kettle.
If we long for God to hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land, what kind of church will we present to Him? One that is lukewarm, distracted, and ensnared with cultural amenities, or one that is holy, Christ-centered, and joyfully willing to sacrifice all?
Whatever we need to realize about our condition, in whatever ways we need to repent, in whatever ways we need to be transformed, it will not be realized by our own understanding or achieved in our own power. We need, desperately, a revelation from God. Our help is “’…not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Zech 4:6)
Let us cry out to God that He would open our spiritual eyes to see our true condition, and grant us the will and the grace to buy from Him gold refined by fire in order to become spiritually rich, and white garments to clothe ourselves, and eye salve to anoint our eyes so that we may truly see. Let us realize, and rejoice, that purchasing gold refined by fire will be costly to us. Let it not be that the day will come in which He spits us out of His mouth!
Let it be so, that we “will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Col 1:10-12)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 3:22)
A message like this demands a response from us. What is yours?
(Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, 1995, unless otherwise noted.)