“They’re gaming the system.”
That’s what the Lord said to me, several days ago. I was praying, as so many people were, about the runoff election in Georgia.
“What do you mean?” I wondered, when I heard His words. What does that mean, exactly, “gaming the system?” (I looked it up online this morning. Basically it means using rules and procedures meant to protect a system to manipulate that system for a desired outcome, instead.)
His answer wasn’t long in coming.
Patriots are hoping. Conservatives are hoping. Hoping to reverse the current status-quo with one, important election. Voters who are struggling against high prices and inflation worries with Christmas coming up fast, are hoping.
Unfortunately, our hope has been worldly hope. You know, with a 50-50 chance of success. Scriptural hope is confident expectation of future success, not quite the same thing.
Some folks have been planning, meeting, discussing and arguing. Strategizing over best ways to achieve short-term goals, like getting more like-minded voters to the polls, appointing poll workers and poll watchers. Thinking up every way possible to prevent the lying, deceiving, cheating and stealing that has most certainly happened in previous elections.
They have been drafting volunteers, holding training sessions and providing persuasive scripts. Using phone calls, emails, tweets, blog posts, snail mail, social media as well as door-knocking in chosen neighborhoods they are repeating communications in a wide variety of formats throughout the state — and no doubt irritating, annoying and aggravating some people on the receiving end of those pleas.
And behind all this, the Lord continued, all the while many believers are “gaming the system.” Praying, praying and more praying; they’re not just requesting but begging and pleading. Fasting. Reading more Bible than usual. Making promises and commitments to attend church more often, enroll in Sunday School, attend a Bible study, volunteer somewhere, and of course, contribute more cash to worthy causes and in the offering plate.
They are bargaining with God for this short-term but oh, so important positive answer.
There is nothing wrong with all of those things, the Lord told me. They are good habits to cultivate.
But did they ask Me what I wanted them to pray? Or did they assume they knew, they just KNEW that they knew what I wanted and made that the basis for their prayers, their actions and activities, in this short-term effort? All that energy!
Too few of them did. Understand this: My desire, My plans and strategies are quite different, because my goals are different.
I play a long-term game.
Many of MY people, called by MY name, are “desperately” praying for revival across America. Just how desperate are they? They are desperate when they themselves or ones they love are hurting, sick or broke, their situation seeming hopeless.
That’s simply not enough. There won’t be revival, real revival that results in real change of hearts without the key ingredients: Grief. Mourning. Weeping. Conviction! Confession! Repentance.
Over what, though, I wanted to know? Aren’t we the born-again, washed-in-the-blood clean ones, the righteousness of God in Christ ones? Don’t we live the most honest, most moral life we know how to live? What is there for us to weep over?
You have gotten used to the way things are, He said. You have gotten into the mind-set of “I vote. But I’m just one person, there’s only so much I can do, after all.” You have turned your eyes away from the frequent reports of the ugly, sinful, evil behavior and destructive damage being done across this nation, sometimes saying a short prayer as you turn the page, or scroll down the screen, or turn off the TV news. “Help, Lord!” You pray.
But you don’t acknowledge any real responsibility or feel any remorse. YOU didn’t do it, after all. So who is responsible, then?
None of the evil being done in America could have happened without the silence of the people who should have stood up, looked up, showed up and spoken up. No, YOU didn’t do it, but MY PEOPLE did it by their silent, passive acquiescence.
And now when they themselves are “feeling the heat,” they cry out for revival, for an outpouring of my Spirit.
And one is coming, but not like they envision. An outpouring of conviction from my Spirit.
Revival will not come without repentance from the very people who yearn for revival. II Chronicles 7:14 was written with them in mind.
“If MY people, which are called by MY name, shall humble THEMSELVES, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from THEIR wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive THEIR sin, and will heal THEIR land.”
Change the focus. Change the prayer. Change the behavior. Then I’ll change America, and the world, to what I want it to be: Mine.