Calling All Dead Men
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels - a plentiful harvest of new lives.” — John 12:24 NLT
Last year I did something super out of character, I bought non-refundable plane tickets in the middle of a pandemic to attend a conference on revival across the country because God told me to. It was the best week of my life and I will never be the same. I refuse to be! I was convicted, challenged, and encouraged but most of all I was changed. While we were pressing in for revival over our specific regions I found myself praying for God to send us 'dead men to raise the dead'. I had never heard that statement before and knew at once that it was God's heart for our city.
As the week went on I found the prayer evolving, I wasn't just asking God to send us men dead to themselves to labor for the harvest, but specifically "dead men with clean hands". We need disciplined workers, producing the peaceful fruit of righteousness to be the harbingers of the next great awakening that is rumbling on the horizon.
Psalms 85:13 says, “Righteousness goes as a herald before Him, preparing the way for His steps.” If we are not living in righteousness, if we have settled for the less, the compromise, then we are not preparing the way for His steps. If we want to see change, if we want to see the revival that we are singing about, that we are asking for, then we must be willing to become it! No one is going to look at our lives lived in complacency and compromise and say, “I want that! What must I do to be saved?” No, it is time to rise up, to blaze a new trail, one that is not oozing with the stench of the world but one that has been built above it.
So here's the good news, contrary to popular opinion, righteousness is not old-fashioned or some heavy burden. It is a gift from God (Rom 5:17). For millennia God's people tried and failed to live righteous lives. No matter how hard they tried they couldn't get it right, because sin still had dominion. But Jesus! Jesus lived the righteous life that we never could so that we could be made right with God, not so we could continue sinning! You would never look our Lord in the face and say, “Thanks but no thanks! I know you gave up everything to become a man and die in my place and seriously super grateful, but all that stuff that you died to free me from, I'd rather just stay bound to it.” That would be foolish and ungrateful, but that's exactly what we do when we refuse to surrender our lives fully to the One who bled for us--when we refuse to die.
I love that Jesus doesn't pull any punches, that He is fully truth, that there is no fine print with Him. He told his disciples to count the cost (Luk 14:28). This thing will cost you your life and if you are not willing to pay then you are not worthy of being His (Mat 10:38-39). Revival is expensive, it will cost us everything, yes even our own life. There is no room for selfish ambition, pride, holding tight to our own opinions, or the desires born out of our flesh. Revival will cost us everything! But isn't He worthy of the cost?
If your decision to come to Jesus had to do with full vats and barns, blessing, or protection from hell I need to offer you my sincere apology on behalf of the church. We have stewarded salvation incorrectly for far too long, it's not about how many people raised their hand and responded to an emotional moment, it's about transformation! Yes, Jesus died so we wouldn't have to pay the eternal price for our sin, but we must join with Him in His death in order to be raised to new life.
There is so much in my heart regarding purity and righteousness, not because I feel like I have arrived but because the pursuit of righteousness has become one of the main objectives in my life. I want the Lamb to receive the full reward for His suffering: a pure and holy bride! But today I will leave you with Amos 6.
"You drink wine by the bowlful and perfume yourselves with fragrant lotions. You care nothing about the ruin of your nation. Therefore, you will be the first to be led away as captives. Suddenly, all your parties will end."
- Amos 6:6,7 NLT, emphasis mine
This is an excerpt from a prophecy against the nation of Israel. I seriously encourage you to take some time and read all of chapters 5 and 6 today. But here’s the backstory: they had grown comfortable and complacent, more concerned with their own comfort than the coming destruction of their nation. They never fully surrendered, their god was their appetite, their comfort, their popularity. They cared nothing for the ruin of their nation. They were unwilling to pay the cost.
‘Nation’ is a pretty big word, one that is easy to disassociate from, so let's dial it back for a minute and start with 'family'. Are you willing to pay the price to be the carrier of revival to them, to save them from ruin? What about your workplace, your church, your community? The revival of our nation will begin with a revival in our living rooms, our break rooms, and our sanctuaries. It is glaringly obvious that our nation is tumbling towards ruin at breakneck speeds, are you willing to pay the cost, to surrender, and to die already in order to be the change that we so desperately need?
Written by Amanda Strauser