Why haven’t we yet fulfilled the Great Commission? Why are we so ineffective in building God’s kingdom?
Is it because we lack money or literature or because the Bible is not translated into all the world’s languages? No, I don’t think so.
The deepest reason is this: We who form the Church—that’s you and me—are not real in our walk with the Lord and in our obedience to God’s Word. Unless our hearts change and we become genuine, transparent, open and humble in our faith (and through that, in all areas of our lives), we will never make an impact on the lost world!
Many of God’s people have felt a deficiency in their Christian lives, especially when they read God’s expectations for them in the Bible. In order to fix this problem, they have gone from one seminar, book, conference or convention to the next, always looking for a formula or recipe to become a powerful, effective Christian overnight.
Churches have also recognized that something vital seems to be missing. In hopes of reviving their people, they constantly come up with new plans and activities. They invite the best music groups they can find, the most eloquent speakers and even prophets to breathe new life into their congregations. But after all the excitement is over and everyday life sets in once again, nothing much has changed. So they search for new plans and new speakers, hoping for better results next time.
David had a deep longing to be close to God and to be used of the Lord. He too felt he wasn’t all God intended for him to be. However, his approach to meet this spiritual need was entirely different from most of us.
David was a man who didn’t go to one of the prophets—Samuel, Nathan or Gad—to ask for a formula. He didn’t invite them to hold a seminar at his palace with the hope that some of their anointing would fall on him.
David simply went into the presence of his God with a prayer that shows he knew exactly where his root problem was.
He cried, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24, KJV).
David wanted to be real, not only with his outward actions, but beginning with his innermost thoughts. He recognized that his words and actions were only a reflection of his thoughts, and his thoughts were simply the evidence of what he was really like in his heart.
Therefore, David prayed and asked the Lord to try him and to cure those wrong tendencies of his heart that showed up in his thought life.
Many years later, Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts . . .” (Mark 7:21). In other words, we reflect the true reality of who we are by what we think. Everything first happens in our thought life before it is translated into words and actions. What we speak or do is only what has been going on inside of us for a long time.
Our problem is not that we lack Bible information, speakers, or opportunities. Rather, our problem is that we don’t want to face the truth of who we really are. We don’t want others to know it either, and we even try to fool God. We never ask Him to search our heart and reveal our secrets. Instead, we pretend with a spiritual life we don’t live, a peace we don’t experience and a holiness and commitment we don’t possess.
We will never make any progress in becoming more like Jesus unless we permit God to cut us open, search our hearts, try us, know our thoughts and then change us from the inside. Only then can we become real according to the Word of God.
That reality will make us powerful witnesses for Jesus, even if we don’t say a word. We will be so transparent and so genuine that if the world around us tries us with fire, we will come out as glittering gold.
If you truly desire this reality, stop looking to plans and activities as your solution. Begin today to call out to the Lord as David did. Say, “Lord Jesus, cut me open. Please search my heart, try me, know my thoughts, reveal to me who I am, and change me, at any cost, to become what Your Word says I ought to be.” Believe me, there is no prayer the Lord delights to answer for His people more than this one!
There is no anesthesia for this radical surgery.
Reflecting His Image © 1998, 2004 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.