I believe that we are living in the days prophesied by the prophet Joel. As I read through this small book in the Old Testament, I glimpse picture after picture of the time we live in. It expresses profound and prophetic insight into the revival that is about to take place in these final days. Look at the picture he paints of the state of the world in the last days:
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
Jesus is coming soon and we, the Church of Jesus Christ, have an opportunity like never before to reach this world with the good news. Never before has there been such a hunger in people for spiritual things, never before have we seen so many people searching and seeking for something more than just the life they know now. As Christians we live in a great day! A day of challenge – A day of opportunity! – A day the Church has never known! I don’t know about you, but it is my desire to be prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of this day!
Unfortunately, I see some basic attitudes that keep us from meeting these challenges. These attitudes are clearly revealed in Joel 3:10: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. The prophetic picture is of tools used for one purpose changed and used for another purpose. With this prophetic picture in mind, I see three basic attitudes that need to change in the Church before we will be able to be everything we have been called to be in these last days.
First, we must take the tools we have used for personal calm and change them into tools used for spiritual combat.
Many in the Church do not realize that we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. The enemy is raging; seeking to take people, homes, cities and nations captive while the Church sits by calmly complacent. This is not a time of peace, pacification or tranquillity. This is a time of war with Hell itself and the spoils of this war are the very souls of mankind! 1 John 3:8 says that the purpose for Jesus coming to this earth was to destroy the works of the devil. His relationship with His enemy was a relationship of conflict. Like Jesus, our relationship with our enemy should always be a relationship of conflict. Some live their lives as if he never existed. Others live a life hoping to have a pacified relationship with him: “I’ll leave him alone as long as he leaves me alone”.
The truth of the matter is that he will not, and we should not! It’s time the Church took up her weapons of warfare, and followed her Mighty Captain into battle to overcome the powers of hell and reap the spoil of souls for the Kingdom of God!
Second, we must take the tools we have used for personal sustenance and change them into tools used for Christian service.
The Church has received such a wealth of spiritual knowledge and revelation in this last century. The importance of faith, God’s will to see us prosper, the understanding of biblical authority and spiritual dominion are to name just a few. The problems we have experienced with these new revelations are the imbalance of these revelations and the misuse of what has been taught. It is time we took these tools and began to use them as they were intended, not for our own personal care, but for the care of the needs of the Gospel.
It’s time we took our faith for personal health and used it as a tool to bring healing to others! It’s time we took our pursuit of personal prosperity and used it as a tool to prosper others! It’s time we took our knowledge of authority and dominion for our own freedom and used it as a tool to set others free!
Third, we must take the tools we have used for personal husbandry and change them into tools used for world harvest.
I believe we spend too much time preparing for the harvest and not enough time producing in the harvest. Jesus said in John 4:35 the time for harvest is now! We spend so much of our time getting ready for something that is already occurring. I sense such urgency from heaven to do the work of the harvest. The picture is so vivid: The field is ready, the vine is prepared, the fruit is ripe for the picking, go and reap the harvest! The issue is not when to reap but where to reap. It’s not when to go, but who will go.
Please, don’t wait for the next evangelism seminar, or prayer meeting, or city-wide crusade to do something about the harvest. Go, and do something about it now! Jesus did not sacrifice Himself on the cross, and pour out His precious blood just to see you happy and on your way to heaven.
He sacrificed all so that you might take what you have received from Him and be an effective labourer in His harvest field!
I was recently buying a car and had the opportunity to sit with one of the sales managers for a few minutes while the paper work was completed. During our time of conversation he seemed to have a real spiritual hunger and openness, so I began to share the Lord with him. About 20 minutes into our conversation he told me how surprised he was that I was taking the time to share my faith with him. He then said that he had recently met a number of Christians and not one had ever spoken to him about their relationship with God like I had, and also told me that I was the first Christian he had ever met that didn’t seem to be afraid of him. The reason why no one would talk to him-he was Muslim.
Jesus is coming soon. Our time is short, the labourers are few and there are multitudes in the valley of decision. Don’t miss the opportunity because of selfishness, or fear, or you don’t like the package it comes in. Remind yourself that God has placed you where you are, doing what you are, for such a time as this! So, what are you doing with the tools you have been given?