By Les Morgan, D. Min.
Journalist Barbara von der Heydt, a television correspondent in Germany in 1991, reported on the peaceful revolution that undermined the Soviet Union. As she interviewed people throughout Russia and Eastern Europe, she came to a startling conclusion. The most overlooked part of the story, she realized, was the nature of the crisis: “It was a moral and spiritual revolution,” von der Heydt later wrote. “It was not simply a clash of political realms; it was a clash of moral realms that triggered a political earthquake.
Indeed, the conflict began long before 1989 as a revolution of the spirit in individuals who exposed the moral poverty of Communism and rejected it. Christian involvement in the revolution was not peripheral; it was central. Key Christians provided moral leadership.”
Von der Heydt explained the revolutionaries were “protesters gathered under the roofs of the churches … armed only with Bibles.” Behind the headlines were thousands of praying Christians, who over the decades had drawn courage from the Lord to withstand persecution and to subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, obtain promises, and proclaim the Gospel and its freedom.
Every follower of Christ is a soldier of the cross. That’s what we see in the book of Acts, and that’s what we see today. We’re defenders of the faith and change agents in the world. Amid the evils of the age, believes must gather in churches armed with our Bibles, intent on impacting the world.
The word revolutionary is a daring term to use for oneself. But at its core, revolution is simply change, which is what Christianity is about. A revolution occurs within those who enthrone a new King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Life comes under new governance. As that happens in one person after another, the effect on society is inevitable.
Using God’s Word and the power of its message, change can come to this world. The revolution always starts in the same place—within each of our own hearts. It’s easy to want to see change in others, but true change begins with the person in the mirror.
Reese Kauffman, president of Child Evangelism Fellowship, said, “In our organization, the person I have the most trouble with is the man who sits in the chair behind my desk.” He’s speaking for us all, isn’t he? Clearly it’s vital for each one to search his own heart, spot ones own faults, and constantly ask the Lord to continue the construction process. How do we do that?
- Evaluate Areas That Are Failing. These aren’t usually hard to spot; they’re often painfully obvious. Perhaps your mind is strained by anxiety or by lust. Maybe covetousness is contributing to credit card debt. Maybe your anger has damaged a relationship. Maybe you have an unresolved grief. Or you’re spasmodic in church attendance. What if your lazy streak is acting u? Maybe you’ve become depressed. We must constantly be honest with ourselves about areas needing attention.
- Ask God to Show You What to Do. This kind of self-evaluation leads to prayer. Psalm 139 marvels that God knows our strengths and weaknesses, our days and moments, our thoughts and motives. David contemplated the omniscience of the Lord, and composed this petition: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” That’s a prayer we can all adopt. Our lives don’t improve simply by turning over a new leaf. The true revolution of Christ requires overthrowing strongholds, a spiritual work accomplished within us by the Holy Spirit.
- Sit Down and Develop a Revolutionary Strategy. For example, you might schedule an hour appointment with yourself. Take a notepad and begin jotting down changes you need to make. Habits that are ingrained patterns or have become addictive. But with God’s grace and guidance you can replace bad habits with healthy ones. Our Lord specializes in sanctification, but we have to “work out” our salvation as God “works in” us (Philippians 2:12).
Think about a strategy. How can you bring commitment? Are there people who can help you? Are there books you can read? Are there steps you can take? Are there places you should avoid? Reducing it to writing makes the process more tangible and certain.
- Adopt the Changes Onto Your Calendar. True change always means some modification. If you want to start getting up earlier for your morning devotions, when should you go to bed? If you want to make time for dates with your spouse or children, how do those translate to your calendar? If you want to resolve a issue, make that appointment. Want to start leading a Bible study? Rearrange your weekly agenda. Want to break an addiction, dig until you find a Christian support group you can attend. The Bible tells us to make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16).
- Develop a war chest of Bible verses. Only the words of Scripture are powerful enough to bring change to our lives! By hiding God’s Word in our hearts can we avoid sinning against the Lord. If you need a personal revolution, search out Bible verses on the struggles you are encountering, be it love, joy, peace, worry, or trusting God. Become as familiar with those verses as with your own address and phone number. Meditate on them while you drive, shower, and exercise. The Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) is the best weapon for staging a revolt against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
- Recruit Reinforcements. Paul never lost his revolutionary spirit. He constantly surrounded himself with those who could encouraged him. Find someone with whom you can be honest, or a small group to encourage you.
- Persevere. Don’t give up. Change is hard to sustain. Modifying your lifestyle and changing your habits is like rewiring a house, but don’t be shocked—you can do it if you make up your mind. Proverbs 24:16 says, “A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.”
Revolution starts with you and your determination. Is it time for a change in your life? Ask God for guidance, direction, and strength to follow through; and press on to victory. Romans 8:37 states, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Our Revolutionary Redeemer has already won the victory.