Summary: Creating An Insatiable Hunger for God
Inside every human, there exists a yearning - a hunger for something more than what we have. It can create an ever-deepening void of loneliness and uncertainty. It is often mistaken as a need for new things, or new experiences, or new friends. We find ourselves dissatisfied, discontent and unfulfilled in our jobs, our friendships, and even in our faith experience.
We may attempt to acquire more possessions and greater wealth to fill the void. We may change jobs or even think that ending a relationship is what's needed. Worse still, some may even dare to consider that this emptiness has come from within their marriage.
Within the Church, we may try to fill this emptiness by chasing after the latest movement hoping that it is a sovereign work of Holy Spirit even though it may have no biblical foundation or historical precedence. Frustrated and fed-up pastors leave existing churches and start new ones. Hundreds of pastors leave the ministry each week due to burn out. Churches ask pastors to leave because their needs aren’t being met.
The void within gets bigger and deeper every time we try to fill it with anything, or anyone, other than Jesus. Our God is calling us to have an intimate and vibrant loving relationship with Himself. Our learning must be from Him not just about Him. We must begin to work with Him, not just for Him. Our great creator God longs for intimacy with us, His bride!
Here in the United States, the Church has convoluted the Great Commission by thinking about what Jesus can do for us, not what we can do for Him. Churches have become convalescent homes for Christians. We seek “new” manifestations of Holy Spirit and flock after "new" teachings. We use Madison Avenue marketing techniques to reach the lost. We “book’ celebrity speakers, musicians and comedians in order to attract a crowd yet the Great Commission is all about leaving the 99 to find the one.
We have filled our churches with programs and not His presence. We start more and more ways to meet our “inner” needs. Self-help groups abound everywhere. We build worship services and sermon series around what people want to hear, not what God wants to say. We are more sensitive to the spiritual seeker than to God. We are trying to give the world a new definition of the Gospel rather than a new demonstration of its power. We spend more time getting our clothes pressed than pressing into God! We want the “power of the resurrection”, but not the “fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil 3:10). Rather than pursuing a prophetic word from God, we settle for a pathetic word from man.
We exert all our resources preparing buildings and "felt need-how to" messages to attract visitors rather than becoming attractive, taking on the holy fragrance of Christ as we prepare ourselves for a Holy visitation. Our churches are focused more on becoming "healthy" rather than becoming holy, conforming to the will of man rather than conforming to the will of God. We’re driven more by purpose than by His presence.
Throughout the world, we are seeing supernatural outpourings of Holy Spirit resulting in record numbers of new believers and church growth. Yet, here in the United States, three out of five churches are either stagnant or dying. More churches close their doors than open them. New churches are being planted daily yet the statistical evidence says that less than 50% will survive. Church leaders are crying out for renewal and revival. Our churches have become weak, emaciated, powerless social clubs. The anointing of Holy Spirit has departed and Ichabod is written across the doorways.
The term 'revive/revival' does not exist in the New Testament. Modern day 'revivalism' has its roots in Pelagianism and should be studied for its true effects on the church. The closest Greek word to the English word 'revival' is "anazopureo," a word that means to re-kindle like a fire, and is used only once in the NT specifically directed at Timothy "to fan into flame the gift of God" (2 Tim 1:6). It has nothing to do with making something dead regain life or consciousness, which is the definition of 'revive'.
True revival will come about as a result of a deep hunger for God just as a helpless infant cries out and doesn’t care where they are or who hears them cry when they’re hungry. We must be willing to cry out to God and become humble servants of all, just as Jesus; “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Phil 5:6 NIV).
Watchman Nee wrote in The Normal Christian Life, "At the beginning of our Christian life we are concerned with our doing, not with our being; we are distressed rather by what we have done than by what we are. We think that if only we could rectify certain things we should be good Christians, and we set out therefore to change our actions. The more we try to rectify matters on the outside the more we realize how deep-seated the trouble is. Then we come to the Lord and say ’Lord, I see now! Not only what I have done is wrong, I am wrong.’"