“…you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37)
Let’s start by posting the answers up front. We pray for revival and it does not come because:
–1) We do not want revival. Not really.
–2) God does not trust us with a revival, and for good reason. He refuses to bless a prodigal, to arm an enemy, to endow a rebel.
There! Those are the answers as to why there is no revival in response to our prayers. .
Now, pull up a chair and let’s talk about it.
It’s that plain and simple: we really do not want a Heaven-sent, life-rearranging revival.
We want the results, the good part, but not the upheaval in our personal lives, priorities, and schedules which a Heaven-sent revival would demand.
We want our churches filled, the community changed, and the believers encouraged. What we do not want is to be caught up in a spiritual fervor that drives us to resign certain affiliations, stop unworthy activities, and devote ourselves to lengthy prayer meetings and Bible studies and ministry.
We want the harvest without the work. We want the blessing without paying the cost. We want certain aspects of the harvest, but not all.
So, being the all-loving Heavenly Father He is, God will not push revival on us.
God will not force a revival on us
We could wish He would. “This is for your own good,” He might say, as He force-fed Heavenly blessings down our church steeples and into our hearts and homes and fellowships.
But no. The Lord has chosen to set His blessings before us and let us decide whether we are willing to receive them on His terms.
Jesus told the church at Laodicaea: I stand at your door and knock. If anyone hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and will sup with him and he with me (Revelation 3:20).
The Lord is so eager to bestow Heaven’s goodness that He brings it right up to our door. But He is so respectful of our right to choose that He will not force them on us.
We get to choose. We have to choose.
The word is nigh thee and in thy mouth, Paul told the Romans (Rom 10:8). He said, “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
God is not playing hard to get with us. He puts Heaven’s blessings on the lowest shelf so even a child can reach them.
In fact, according to our Lord, becoming a child is the correct way to access Heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
Why then are we not saved? Why are we not receiving Heaven’s blessings on a regular basis? Why are our churches not experiencing continual revival?
Put another way, why do we limp along under the burden of our failures and addictions and fears, while our churches go through the motion of faithfulness and see little of the fruit of righteousness?
Where are the Lord’s blessings in our lives and churches?
The problem is with us
The problem is not with Him. We are the problem.
He is willing. Jesus told the leper of Mark 1, “I am willing,” as He proceeded to do the unthinkable and touch the untouchable, thus making the man whole.
He is willing for you to be saved (see II Peter 3:9), willing to pour out Heaven’s gifts upon us (see Romans 8:32), willing to give to those who ask (Matthew 7:11).
We are the snag, the bottleneck, the problem.
Dr. John “Bud” Traylor tells of a college dorm where the water had stopped flowing through the pipes. As the plumber ran his lines, he made a discovery. A tadpole in the waterline had grown larger and larger until it filled a pipe and blocked the flow of the water. The plumber cleaned out the pipe, and the water flowed again.
We are the frog in the pipe.
The offending blockage is all our doing.
We simply do not want revival enough.
We want the fruits of revival. We would like to see lives changed, society transformed, schools safe and peaceful and joy-filled, homes reclaimed and marriages saved.
What we do not want is to have to pay the price to get these effects.
Honestly. If the Lord were to tell your church that by praying 2 hours a night for two weeks, a Heaven-sent revival would pervade the community unlike anything ever seen, I predict that half the congregation would yawn in His face and tell the pastor to get started with his prayer program. (I dare you to ask your congregation if this is true.)
We want the fruits without sowing the seed or cultivating the tender growth.
That’s why we do not have revival.
God refuses to arm a rebel.
Were the Lord to pour out blessings on a son or daughter living in open sin and rebellion, He would be violating His own will, endowing the rebel with resources to continue in wayward paths, and blessing the person attacking Him.
A longtime friend who had recently retired was invited to become pastor of a small church that would be “just right” for this time in his life. As he had preached there a number of times over the past months, the pastor knew of a problem within the congregation that needed confronting. He was assured by the deacon chair it would be dealt with if he became their pastor.
The problem? Two of the leaders of that church–a deacon and a woman in the choir–were living together as husband and wife but were not married. Scripture calls this fornication and God forbids it. Everyone in the community knew about this couple but no one had the courage to speak up. Oddly, the man and woman were outspoken in their Christianity and quick to judge others not doing their share around the church.
When it became obvious the deacons were not going to act, the pastor took it upon himself to speak to the couple. They were highly offended, the matter was quickly blown all out of proportion and the woman attacked the pastor verbally throughout the community. Church members, long accustomed to letting this Jezebel rule the roost, urged the pastor to leave well enough alone.
So, the pastor resigned and walked away.
The chairman of deacons admitted that “we’re all cowards.”
Revival tarries for that church and many another congregation that condones open sin among its leaders.
The question for any pastor or church leader praying for revival is simply: “Do you really want what you are asking for?” Or perhaps “How badly do you want it?”
I’m recalling a time when I had been in rebellion against God. I’ll spare you the details. My prayers were so weak I could not even ask for God’s will. So, I did the only thing I knew to do: I said, “Lord, I’m not sure I want Thy will. But I want to want Thy will.” And with the door only that slightly ajar, He heard and answered and entered the room. I am eternally grateful.
Brethren, let us be found faithful.