Care Enough to Die

3/30/1988

God is looking for a people that will be an inheritance to Him, as Paul said (Eph. 1:18). We have to have that kind of heart and be willing to die to see that come to fruition. Jesus taught us to pray, “Come, Thy Kingdom. Be done, Thy will” (Mat. 6:10). He said those words in the imperative tense so that’s why I’ve been saying it that way too. In teaching us to pray that way, He gave us two examples. One was about the persistent widow and the judge (Luke 18). You can see the drive and great persistence there. The other example was the man at midnight that went to his friend in order to get bread (Luke 11). It says the man didn’t give him bread because he was his friend, but because of the man’s shameless persistence. Because of that, he came down and gave him as much as he wanted.

In James it says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Right after that it says that Elijah was a man just like us. He was just like us and he prayed and the heavens were shut up for three and half years. He prayed again and heaven released the rain. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Like the man at midnight and like the widow with the judge, we’ve got to be pushing and driving into these things. We’ve got to care enough to die, to see “on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom of God is entered forcefully, and the violent take it by force (Mat.11:12). That’s got to be our heart, our passion, our purpose and the only thing that we live for. It’s got to be that the reason we breathe air is to see the manifold wisdom of God made known to the principalities and powers. We live that the gates of hell would no longer prevail against our children, our co-workers, and the marriages around us. We live so that the drugs, the attitudes, the blasphemy, the hostility, the cheating, and the immorality would no longer prevail.

It’s got to be our full heart and will to die for those things—and dying isn’t such a big deal if you understand the Kingdom of God. What, after all, am I really risking? What if I was to die of starvation? Or what if I died in a car crash or for some other reason? If I lost my life while in the pursuit of “on earth as it is in heaven,” there would be nothing but reward from it. I would lose nothing.

Why should I make an idol out of my life? If it’s my will to not make an idol out of my job, or family, or possessions, or hobbies, why should I make an idol out of my physical life which has no more eternal value than my CD player? What does it matter if we risk even our lives to see on earth as it is in heaven? So what? That’s what the Kingdom of God is all about.

I’m urging you to put aside anything that stands in the way. If it’s selfishness, put it aside. If it’s immorality, drive a stake through it now like Phinehas did (Num. 25:7-8). If it’s lust or pride or ambition, drive a stake through it like Phinehas did. If not, you will be turned over to your delusions and have no part in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom will be taken away from you and given to a people who will bear its fruit (Mat. 21:43). Drive a stake through those things or you’ll live to regret it.

There are some things for which there can be no repentance. Esau sold his birthright for a little bit of fleshly-appetite indulgence, and even with tears he couldn’t change God’s mind—it was over with (Gen. 25:29-34). Moses struck the rock and it was over with (Num. 20:7-12). There was no going into the Promised Land for Moses, and he could not bring about a change of God’s mind. (We don’t have any record of him even trying, but I think he knew God too well for that.) Or remember when the spies went into the land and came back with a bad report? Then they changed their minds and said, “Oh, let’s go in and take the land anyway.” Do you remember what happened to them? Executed. God struck them down (Num. 13-14). They could not bring about a change of His mind. We can’t just say, “Oh okay. I get it. Now I’ll go in.” Wrong.

Your lives are very short, and I’d encourage you to nail everything that stands in the way. Put them totally aside. Be like the persistent widow and like the man at midnight with his friend. Be like Elijah, a man just like us. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Drive into God’s will and don’t give up. Care about these things.

Care that God would make for Himself a great Name on this planet. Care that the mountain of the Lord’s Temple would be established as Chief among the mountains, and all the nations would say, “Come, let us go to the house of the Lord” (Is. 2:2-3). And they would stream into it because they know the Lord, He is God. Cry out that He would make for Himself a great Name. Make that the passion of your existence and let absolutely nothing get in the way of that. Don’t let marriage, or romance, or jobs or anything at all get in the way of that. Joel said, “Let the bridegroom and the bride come out of their chamber” (Joel 2:16). Forget your wedding night because this is so much bigger than that. That’s got to be our heart.

“Oh, I just bought some oxen. I have to go try them out.”

“I just got married” (Luke 14:15-24). Let none of those things stand in your way. Remember that Esau could bring about no change of God’s mind once he had sold his birthright. Today is the day of deliverance, so do not harden your hearts (2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3). You’re going to have to move on ahead.

 

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