When it comes to success in the Christian walk, I have heard many Christians use the term “_____ is the key!” Depending on whom you listen to, it varies. Faith is the key! Wisdom is the key! Love is the key! Hope is the key! Patience is the key! Miracles are the key! Steadfastness is the key! Joy is the key! Peace is the key! Hope is the key! Prayer is the key! etc. etc. You get the point.
I want to share something with you and let you decide if it is a “key” or not.
I have received David Wilkerson’s Pulpit Series (World Challenge) Newsletters for over a quarter of a century. Every third week I would find one in my mailbox. When I would see it there I would grasp it with trembling knowing that something written in it would convict me to higher ground in my Christian walk. I never really considered why it was so convicting. I never thought about the key or secret to it. However, I did realize that at the heart of his messages was sanctification which seems to be a forgotten word in today’s Christian culture:
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-4, 6, 8 ESV)
The other day I plugged into YouTube “David Wilkerson Short Sermons” and listened to a bunch of them. Then as I was listening to one of them I caught something very briefly that jumped out at me in a most remarkable way. It is found in the following M4A audio file:
In this short sermon David Wilkerson very briefly mentioned how he asked God to show him His grief so that he could preach what is on His heart and on His mind (found between the 2:30-2:40 minute mark of the 7:54 minute audio).
Wow, here I am, a Christian who has intensely studied and tried to live out the Word of God for over 40 years, listening to countless sermons and teachings. My mouth was wide open. What would happen if I would ask the Lord for the same thing and not relent? “Lord, show me Your grief so that I can speak what is on Your heart and on Your mind!”
In my prayer closet, I have begun praying that. Outside my prayer closet, I am sharing it with every Christian I come in contact with.
I often wondered about the exchange of words between Elijah and Elisha just before Elijah was taken away:
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2:9-10 ESV)
Elisha had asked for a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah. Why did Elijah say it is a hard thing when it is known that God can perform countless miracles where nothing is impossible? Here it wasn’t the miracles that were the problem. Elijah knew that a double portion of the Lord’s grief that Elisha would have revealed to him would go along with it. It is not recorded that Elijah wept, but it is with Elisha:
Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy. Then the man of God started weeping. “What’s the matter, my Lord?” Hazael asked him. Elisha replied, “I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn their fortified cities, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!” (2 Kings 8:11-12 NLT)
It must be noted that Elijah was the one who originally anointed Hazael to be king over Syria found in 1 Kings 19:15-17 and there was no mention of grief or weeping.
Today, our pulpits are flooded with those who are politically correct and have a formula for church growth that totes a gospel that is non-confronting. But I believe that the greatest impact we as individuals can have on this world is if we have a revelation of God’s grief and minister according to that grief. For Jesus Himself was known as the man of sorrows:
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3 ESV)
Are you praying for a revelation of what grieves the Lord? Are you acting upon that grief? Are you living a sanctified life that will back your actions with power?