Where Change Really Begins
A Message by Billy Graham
September 2, 2010 - People today sense that we are rushing madly toward a climactic point in history. Conferences are held, investigations conducted and junkets authorized in a frantic effort to discover the basic cause of the world’s ills. Millions of dollars are spent to find an answer to international problems. The stockpile of problems mounts higher and higher as the solution to the world’s troubles is hidden from us.
Our spiritual problems can only be solved by the God who created us.
By Billy Graham
Observant people are unanimous in the opinion that the moral disintegration of this generation is a result of a materialistic philosophy. The Word of God says, “They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).
The immutable law of “sowing and reaping” has held sway. We are now the unhappy possessors of a harvest of moral depravity, and we seek in vain for a cure. The weeds of indulgence have overgrown the wheat of moral restraint. All humanity is guilty.
But as a minister of the Gospel, I am an optimist. The world’s problems are big, but God is bigger! If we will dare to take God into account, confess our sin and rely unreservedly upon Him for wisdom, guidance and strength, our problems can be solved.
David, king of ancient Israel, found himself in the midst of a confused national situation. His kingdom was torn by internal strife. Slave hated master; master hated slave. People blamed the government; government blamed the people. David’s nation stood on the brink of a perilous civil war.
David knew that if the tide of sin continued to rise, his nation would collapse spiritually. He knew that economic depression, moral disintegration or military defeat inevitably follow spiritual decline.
So David did what all intelligent people should do when they reach the end of their rope—he turned to God. The Spirit of God revealed to him that the spiritual tide of his nation could rise no higher than the spiritual level of his own heart. So he fell on his knees in utter humility and prayed: “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” (Psalm 139:23-24).
If only we today could realize that a nation can rise no higher, can be no stronger and be no better than the individuals that compose that nation! If the world is bad, it is the people who are bad. If the world is confused, it is the people in the world who are confused. If this is a godless world, it is the people who are godless.
David realized this truth; and in wisdom, he concluded that he should start making things right in himself!
Search me and know me“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties” (Psalm 139:23).
Here was a wise confession on the part of a great leader, a humble admission that a nation’s sicknesses can be attributed to its spiritual ills. David turned his face to the altar of God. He prayed earnestly for God to begin the revival of his nation by kindling the fires of revival in his own heart.
Not only did he pray that he might know God, but that God might know him: “Search me, O God!” (Psalm 139:23).
His heart yearned, as our hearts yearn today, for a personal, vital intimacy with God. In short, he was praying for a definite, real experience with God. Most of us know about God, but that is quite different from really knowing God. It is one thing to be introduced to a person, but quite another thing to know him personally.
Is it not logical to believe that the only one who can re-create us is the One who created us in the first place? If your watch were out of order, you wouldn’t take it to a blacksmith. If your car needed overhauling, you wouldn’t take it to a plumber. If you needed an operation, you wouldn’t go to a machine shop.
Our spiritual problems can only be solved by the God who created us originally. He created us in His own image and likeness; today by the grace of His Son, He can re-create us in the likeness of His resurrection. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are made new, and we become partakers of His life. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
May God, through our humble confession and prayer, so reveal His Son to us that we can say with the early believers, “We ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
See if there is any wicked way in me
David also prayed, “And see if there is any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:24).
Sin is not only the saboteur of souls—it is the destroyer of nations. For that which undermines and disintegrates the human spirit also destroys the society. “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
Sin is defined as the “transgression of the law of God” and cannot bring any degree of happiness to the human heart. This is a truth demonstrated by history, logic and human experience.
The Bible teaches that God will not allow sin to go unpunished—in this life or in the world to come. Sin digs for itself two hells: one this side of death, and one the other side of death.
Many today are living in a self-made hell. Lusts, selfish appetites and indulgences have dug a pit for them. It burns with the fires of their expended passions.
This “hell on earth” can be covered by the blood of Christ. Thousands who have lived in a veritable inferno of lusts, habits and uncontrollable passions have been extricated by the grace of God.
David, God’s chosen man, found himself deluged with iniquity—a victim of his own lusts. But he took the lead and in humility of heart confessed his spiritual need to God.
This prayer was a turning point in his life. By his sincere confession of inadequacy he was brought into the very courts of the Most High, and God rushed to his rescue. When he was rescued, his court and his nation were also rescued. All salvation—social, political and national—begins with the salvation of the individual.
The way everlasting
Finally, David prayed, “Lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:24).
David’s prayer contained a proper sequence. First, he prayed that God might know him; then he prayed that God might cleanse him; last, he prayed that God might direct him.
David’s transformation, as a result of this prayer, was full and complete. Israel was brought into harmony with God; and David’s son Solomon brought to Israel one of the most prosperous reigns Israel had ever known.
Likewise, salvation can only come to you as an individual as you repent and by faith receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Are you sure of your salvation?
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