Sometimes when we want to sit down and weep, God wants us to get up and go. Joshua mourned over the defeat at Ai (Joshua 7:6-9), but God told him to get up and sanctify the people by removing the sin that was among Israel (Joshua 7:10-15). Samuel mourned over Saul’s disobedience and rejection as king, but God told him to get up and go to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king (1 Samuel 16:1). It was only after David repented and was forgiven of his sins that he could expect to have the joy of salvation that would be so pivotal in converting sinners to the Lord (Psa. 51:12, 13). Elijah was so discouraged, that he thought he was the only one left serving God (1 Kings 19:14); however, God told of 7,000 who were still serving Him and commanded him to anoint Jehu and Elisha to do His will (1 Kings 19:15-18). Ezra mourned over the people’s unlawful marriages to pagan wives (Ezra 9); however, Shecaniah, after acknowledging the sin, said, “yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing” (Ezra 10:2). He told Ezra to take courage and pursue a plan of making a covenant with God and putting away the unauthorized wives (Ezra 10:3-5).
What if the next time we recognized a problem among God’s people, we did not stop there? Recognizing problems is good. Without that recognition we are like the self-satisfied Laodiceans who could not see their deep spiritual need (Revelation 3:14-17). But Jesus did not stop at showing them their problem. He encouraged them to remedy their problem through repentance, renewed zeal, and letting Him in the door of their hearts (Revelation 3:18-22). Some don’t want to acknowledge any problem in the Lord’s church. Others only want to dwell on problems. But God calls us to be zealous and repent. He calls us to not just to recognition but to action.
Paul’s epistles can often easily be divided into two major sections. The first section is a recognition of what God has done. Consider the first eleven chapters of Romans or the first three chapters of Ephesians. The second section of the epistle urges the audience to action. Romans 12:1 begins the action section with, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Ephesians 4:1-3 begins the action section with, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” What follows in each of these sections, and at the end of most of Paul’s epistles, are exhortations to proper actions and righteous living. That I have an intellectual understanding of the problem is good, but God wants me to move from there to a practical undertaking to solve the problem.