1. EXTERNAL DISTRACTIONS
Attention is the building block of intimacy, but many of us are
finding our computers and cell phones more irresistible than
quality time with God. It is not overt rejection that repels God´s
presence, but rather momentary distraction with lesser things...
2. INTERNAL OFFENSES
The Western Church has developed an astonishing, and highly
unfortunate, tolerance for disunity. Instead of teaching and
practicing forgiveness, we have adopted our culture´s penchant
for demanding rights and living in a state of perpetual offence.
Others have become self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy,
criticizing and distancing themselves from those who do not
measure up. (Isaiah 58:9; Galatians 5:15; 1 Corinthians
12:21-27; Hebrews 12:15)
3. NO SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Whereas many of the world´s tribal and clan-based cultures are
able to make sense of corporate repentance, the fragmented,
individualized West struggles.
(Nehemiah 4:14; Acts 2:43-47, 4:32-35)
4. COMFORT ORIENTATION...
Oriented toward comfort and convenience, they are glad to receive
revival so long as it does not require them to break stride. In their
minds, preparations should be pain-free and part-time.
(Haggai 1:2-4; Luke 8:14; Philippians 3:18-19; 2 Timothy 4:10)
5. LIMITING THEOLOGY
Some Westerners view human preparation for revival as a
presumptuous encroachment upon God´s sovereignty. They insist
spiritual awakening is the product of arbitrary dictate, meaning
that faith does not enter the equation. One can only hope that
God might, one day, choose to visit. But where there are no
principles to apply, no guidelines to follow, no promises to
expect, and no certainty of success, the likely outcome is
diminished expectations and lamentable apathy.
(2 Chronicles 7:14-15; Hosea 6:3; 2 Corinthians 6:2)
6. ABSENCE OF HOLINESS
Although sin is present in all countries and cultures, those living
in the Western world are subject to temptations unprecedented
in their sophistication, availability, and persistence. Like Achan,
we have found ways to hide "devoted things" in our tents. Unlike
Achan, our individualized culture makes it more likely these
choices will go unchecked - which is why more than half of all
U.S. pastors report struggles with pornography.
(Joshua 7:11-12; Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 24:3-4, 66:17-19; James 4:8-9)
Despite the advent of the 24/7 prayer movement, many Western
believers maintain only marginal contact with their Heavenly
Father. It is a curious neglect that has prompted prayer leader
Eddie Smith to say, "Jesus is the only bridegroom I know whose
bride will hardly speak to him." Unfortunately, the very nature of
revival precludes it from being welcomed by a prayerless people.
(Isaiah 43:22; Hosea 7:13-14; James 4:2)
8. IGNORANCE OF THE PAST
Modern Westerners like to style themselves as "forward-thinking"
or "progressive" in outlook. Few possess the slightest
understanding of the spiritual continuum they are part of. Fewer
still show any interest....
9. RELIANCE ON PROGRAMS
For Western Christians beset with lingering doubts about God´s
willingness to reveal his thoughts and presence, the way of
revival is untested and often delayed. Program planning, on the
other hand, offers immediate gratification. The catch is that
earnest activity is often substituted for genuine change -
leaving communities improved, but untransformed.
(Jeremiah 17:50; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
10. LACK OF DESPERATION
Christian writer Norman Grubb once said: "Until there is a
conviction of need, there can never be a desire for change." For
many Westerners, desperation is an unattractive and unnecessary
condition. We prefer to view problems as challenges to be
conquered rather than emergencies requiring immediate and
radical action. Swollen with options and possessed with a false
sense of time, we allow incrementalism to supplant urgency.
(2 Kings 13:18-19; Ezekiel 9:3-4, 9; Daniel 9:13; Zephaniah 1:12)
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon