Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Search of Revival

Evangelical Christians have long prayed and worked for revival, but while there have been some claims of likely prospects, it has not come. Why? I do not believe it is because we have not prayed (James 4:2). I am under the impression many of us have prayed. Could it be we have prayed (at least in many cases) with the wrong motives (James 4:3)?

Why do we want revival? Is it possible one motive for wanting it so that we can be comfortable in the world? We have been through a shift as a nation where Christianity as gone from being respected and nominally adhered to, to being looked down upon and rejected. This is true not only of Christian beliefs but also of Christian moral principles. This, not surprisingly, can make Christians very uncomfortable. Could it be one of our chief reasons for praying for revival is so we can go back to being comfortable? Now it is really not surprising if the world is hostile to us; in fact Jesus promised it would be (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; Matthew 10:16-25). Also, when the world is fully on our side there is a question of whether this means we have become conformed to it (Romans 12:1,2; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4). It might even be suggested that our comfortableness in the world contributed to the world slowly turning away from us.

Now do not get me wrong; I am not suggesting we should all become hermits and hide ourselves out in a cave somewhere or even hem ourselves in with multitudes of legalistic rules to avoid any contact with the world. Being in the world but not of the world is a difficult balance (John 17:14-19). And we are to reach out to those who need a Savior (Matthew 9:10-13; 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; Colossians 4:5,6). But we must expect opposition from the world if we are serving God. Does that mean we should not pray or work for revival? No, we should pray and work that souls will be saved. We should pray and work for better laws to be passed in our nation. But we must do so with the knowledge that we live in a fallen world and we cannot expect it to be totally on our side (and should be suspicious of it when it seems to be). And we should want it for the glory of God and the salvation of others, not so that we can be comfortable. And most of all, whatever happens we must trust in God and His power to bring us through (Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28; Matthew 16:18).     

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