The Psalmist (85:6) cried out to God “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Revival will not come until Christians fervently cry out for it in prayer. Quick question: How many of us are doing it? Many of our churches declining and dying. Too many of our churches are splitting apart and greatly weakened. How can we see revival in our life, our churches, and our communities? When we cry out for it in fervent prayer. Only Jesus can breathe life into the spiritually dead and only Jesus can revive a wandering soul. When we speak of “Revival” we are not primarily referring to special services where an evangelist preaches. This is called Revival because it is an intentional time for us as a Church to seek revival. I pray we are all in agreement that we need personal and corporate revival! We need a greater affection for God. We need healing in our homes. We desire sinners become saints. We—most importantly—desire that God would be glorified among His people. As we pray for revival, let us pause to consider four (4) hindrances to revival and how God tells us to overcome them*.
- Busyness: We do not have Time. Busyness is a hindrance to revival because it is a failure to properly prioritize. Kevin DeYoung once said, “Busyness does not mean you are a faithful or fruitful Christian. It only means you are busy, just like everyone else. And like everyone else, your joy, your heart and your soul are in danger.” There are two types of busyness: 1) Religious Busyness and 2) Secular Busyness. Religious busyness is a hindrance to revival because it means we have become “distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40). We have forgotten that we have a relationship with Christ. We become so busy working for God that we forget to enjoy God. Jesus calls us His friends (John 15:15). Secular busyness is a hindrance to revival because it means we foolishly believe that God is inconsequential. We fill our schedule with so much other stuff that we become too busy for God. Check your calendar. It is not enough that God is “on it”; the real question is whether or not God is managing it! We must repent of our busyness and allow God to properly prioritize our life.
- Unforgiveness: We do not have Peace. Unforgiveness is a hindrance to revival because it blasphemes the Gospel. Through Jesus, God forgives us of our sin. If we call ourselves Christians, we profess to be forgiven by God. If we have truly been forgiven by God, how then can we refuse to forgive others? Do we believe that someone else’s sin against me is far worse than my sin against God? To believe so betrays an ignorance of God, yourself, and sin. Sadly, too many Christians refuse to be a peacemaker. It is not that they can’t forgive; it is that they won’t forgive. They would rather hold on to their bitterness and resentment than to hand it over to God. Unforgiveness robs you of peace and joy. It has been said that resentment is like drinking poison in order to punish your enemy. The solution is to repent of the sin of unforgiveness and ask God for greater love. God will pour out His blessings upon you, but He will first cleanse you of your bitterness and help you forgive. His love will help you have the desire and ability to forgive the person who has hurt you.
- Unfaithfulness: We do not have Love. Revival does not come because too many Christians refuse to obey God’s commands; especially, in regards to sexual purity. Sex is designed by God to be enjoyed between one man and one woman in marriage. Sexual immorality is a hindrance to revival because you are contaminating the body God has given you to do good works. You cannot enjoy pornography, cheat on your spouse, engage in premarital sex, etc. and presume that God will bless you. “The Lord disciplines those whom He loves” (Heb 12:6) and “God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness” (Heb 12:10). The solution is to repent of the sin of sexual immorality and ask God to help you exercise self-control.
- Indifference: We do not Care. Apathy is a hindrance to revival because it is a lack of concern for the glory of God and the salvation of the lost. Our indifference testifies against us that we do not believe God’s mission is important. We foolishly say to God that His Great Commission is actually an “Insignificant Commission” because is not as important as our TV shows, sports, etc. Too often we simply do not think about the eternal destination of the lost because we do not care. If every lost person you prayed for this week became a Christian, how many baptisms would we have next week? We have scheduled revival services because we desire God’s revival in our life, family, church, and community. But, if nothing changed as a result of the revival meetings would we actually be disappointed? Our indifference is the result of our comfort. Too many Christians are indifferent to revival because we have become too comfortable with the status quo. We may not like everything going on, but we have become so accustomed to it that we develop a vested interest in maintaining it. Apathetic Christians and churches must repent of being lukewarm (Rev 3:16) and ask God to fill them with a zeal for the lost.
The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). The second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). If we personally and corporately repent of our sin and cling to Jesus Christ, we will see revival happen in our hearts, homes, churches, cities, and our world. Are you too busy? Have God reprioritize your life. Are you refusing to forgive someone? Have God reveal the power of forgiveness. Are you unfaithful? Receive God’s discipline and share in His holiness. Are you apathetic? Have God fill you with a hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matt 5:6). Pray to God and ask Him to forgive and cleanse you. Plead for Jesus to revive your wandering soul.
*There are many other hindrances, but these four are the most common.