If My People Will . . . Seek My Face and Turn from Their Wicked Ways . . .

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Praying Woman With BibleOur first response to this Scripture may be yes, there are so many people out there doing wicked things. They need to repent. But wait a minute. God is speaking to his people called by his name. Christians. The Church. He’s speaking to us.

If we want God to heal our country, we, the Church in America, need to seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways.

Seek God’s face? Don’t we do that? Sometimes. But how often do we . . .

  • Focus on what we want to accomplish for God instead of on what He is calling us to do
  • Want our timetable instead of God’s
  • Limit ourselves by depending on our own strength or talents or abilities instead of His

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33 AMP)

Turn from our wicked ways. Repent. Our first thought here may fly to Christian leaders who have fallen. Yes, that’s an all too real part of the American Church’s failure. But there is so much more. . . . We don’t have to look far to find sin at every level of the Church. That’s part of seeking God. We need to continually ask Him to reveal our failings. Make this scripture your prayer:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Here are just a few things to consider. As you read through this list, ask God to show you these or other sins within your life. Within your church. Within your ministry.

  • Focusing more on entertainment than true worship
  • Letting tradition, rather than God’s Word, be our primary guide
  • Depending on ritual rather than the blood of Christ for our salvation
  • Being shaped by the world’s standards instead of God’s
  • Preaching popular themes instead of the uncompromised Word of God from the pulpit
  • Competing with other ministries instead of each fulfilling God’s call for us and supporting others in their call
  • Making the latest equipment and beautiful facilities more important than reaching out to the lost and hurting
  • Failing to carry out Jesus’ Great Commission

What do people see when they look at people in the Church? Gossip? Self-righteousness? More focused on being blessed than on blessing others? Do they see strife and power plays? Worldly lifestyles? Here’s the kind of behavior they should see:

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (Philippians 2:1-5)

 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Words of Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16)

My grandson Chris recently wrote a blog post presenting some challenging thoughts on this topic. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it. He titled it “Real.”

Jesus taught that we should not only love our Christian brothers and sisters . . . we should love our enemies. We should love those who don’t agree with us–even those who treat us badly.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

God’s Promise

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Are we ready to face the truth within ourselves? Our ministries? Our church?

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

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