Revivals are one of the rarest occurrences in Christianity and for this reason they are also one of the most desired experiences in Christianity. Like the illusion of the rarity of diamonds that causes their prices to remain very high, those things that are rare are the things that we deem as the most valuable. I suspect that it has always been so.
We understand why we think that diamonds or precious stones are very rare but why is revival so rare? Does God simply not desire to show himself in our day? Is he content with all of the charlatans in the pulpits and the sins of society? Is he perhaps so repulsed by all of us that he just would rather keep His distance?
Find yourself in any given Churchian circle and you may find the commonly held belief that there is no revival because we don’t ______ enough. Now, I will leave the blank for you to fill in because it all depends on your little group. Some commonly held entries would be: pray, repent, give, care, travail, laugh, read, etc.
Now there may be some truth to all of these sentiments. Who can argue that not _____ing is a bad thing and certainly not conducive to having a revival? But let me break from the herd here a bit and share what I believe the real problem is. I believe that the reason that they are so rare is mainly due to two reasons: firstly, we are in large part almost totally ignorant of God’s ways and secondly, we are ignorant of the satanic attacks that come as a result of seeking revival. In short, many in the church exhibit on a regular basis the simple inability to understand their own moments of divine opportunity or the satanic resistance to them.
I have watched God move many times over the years and those are the times that I live for. It seems that it is only in that ‘pocket’ that everything lines up for me. I have watched God show up on a Sunday morning in a United Methodist church and the entire congregation got saved with many getting baptized in the Holy Ghost for the first time, demons were cast out there and the Spirit of God forever changed the course of the lives of the people in that small church.
I have watched revival hit a small town in Nebraska with the numbers present at the meetings growing every single night. Tattoo parlors closed down to attend the meetings and the altar was constantly full. All advertising was done by the young people that attended those meetings; they made their own flyers and held placards on the streets. At the end, it was told to me that an entire year of the local bible college was filled with the people that were saved during this revival.
But more often than the times that I have watched great success, I have watched the church’s miserable failure to accurately discern the days that they live in. The Jews were accused of not recognizing the time of their own visitation and I can count off scores of churches who fit into that category. I would tell those in authority that I felt strongly that God wanted to move there and they would smile at me the way that you smile at a 2nd grader telling you what he learned in school that day. And there never has been a move in those places, they are exactly the same or worse off than they have ever been. We have no greater obligation to those who follow us in ministry than to be able to sense when the cloud moves and to follow it no matter the cost and it is right there that I feel most of us miss God when it comes to revival.
Then there are those instances when the church bows to satanic pressure and the assault of the enemy. Now, I believe that these attacks that we have seen hit the church when it has set revival as its goal can be understood as the enemy’s modi operandi, his modes of operation. He does not change them up very often so far as I can tell but why would he when they work so very well for the most part? I have watched many churches and groups torn apart after they started seeking revival simply because they did not know how the enemy was going to attack or because they chose to ignore the fact that he really does attack and attributed the work of satan to the hand of God instead.
Most believers think that they understand what a satanic attack is. We proudly regale one another with tales of our warfare, how the enemy is “after” us or how he has been doing this thing or that to us. I have learned through experience though that most of us have no clue what a real attack looks like, especially one aimed at a church that is seeking revival.
Would it sound far-fetched to you if I were to suggest that there are a few words that the enemy simply loathes? That as soon as those words are uttered across a pulpit, demons scurry to their superiors to inform them? Like the NSA watching emails for certain “buzz words” so too the enemy’s servants are constantly listening for those words that could actually hurt their master’s kingdoms. I imagine that so long as your church does not utter these words in an offensive fashion, you would see no attacks whatsoever. Some call this happy state “favor”; I call it base compromise and a sure sign that you are fulfilling the requirement for being a false prophet and damning those that follow you in the bargain.
Wondering what these words could be? If you want to know, simply look at what has grown to be out of fashion in the American church system and you will quickly begin to deduce them. The Blood, The Cross, Pentecostal, missions, martyrdom, prayer and perhaps the most offensive word to satan and his angels: revival.
I believe that it is important to learn from the defeats of ourselves and others because in understanding how he stops a revival we can understand how to thwart his plans in theory. I say in theory because some people become so determined at these times to agree with satan that no one will ever talk them out of it.
But for the rest of us, there are lessons to be learned and applied as we enter this season in the church. This is the time preceding the greatest harvest the world has ever seen and we must not be unaware of the enemy’s schemes. Many will hear the warning and go on to commit the error laid out, I can not stress this enough. Even if you perfectly lay out the upcoming attack to those around you, the delusion that falls on people is so strong that they will continue in it, justifying themselves as they go.
When seeking God for a revival, the very first attack that comes in is offense that leads to leaven.
Now, that offense may come against any number of things; the church as a whole, the vision of the church, other members of the church, the doctrine of the preachers, all of these are valid targets for this offense. The number one target however is the preacher. Matthew 26:31 says “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”
In standing for a revival, the enemy’s number one target is the preacher. Anything is good cause for this offense; his past mistakes, wrongs that he committed, something he said from the pulpit, anything. This is the single best tactic for the enemy to use and the one that he uses more often than any other. He begins to “reveal” problems with the preacher in question, showing you how he is in the wrong. After you see the problem, he begins to show you additional proof until you are totally convinced that there is a serious problem with the man or his message.
In no time you will begin to get “led” to start sharing this information with other members of the congregation, all in order to protect them of course. Soon, you are talking bad about the preacher every single day to as wide of a range of people as you can within the ministry. This culminates until one day you decide that you have had enough and leave the ministry but not without making sure that as many others go with you as possible.
Now this church may have been a place that only a few days or weeks ago you loved. You saw the power of God show up regularly, you loved the preaching or teaching. You were deeply involved in the ministry there and saw the hand of God moving all around you. That is until they started talking about revival. Strangely, that was when you began to see all of these “wrong things” that were being done to you and others. Soon you find yourself getting hit with negative thoughts about the ministry or the preacher day and night until finally you begin to listen. And in no time the very place where you saw God move and felt his hand at work is no longer a part of your life and you and those that you poisoned are left scattered.
This principle is one that the enemy uses constantly and it is called leaven. Leaven as you know is yeast. It is odorless, colorless and tasteless. On its own it can not affect anything but the second that it is introduced into dough, the leaven begins its work. It sets off spreading through that dough, changing it at a molecular level until the last state of the dough is not even recognizable from what it was at the start.
In the church, leaven is introduced into only one person initially. They begin to meditate on a perceived wrong or a fault until their entire disposition towards the person who is the true object of the leaven has changed. After they are fully convinced of the person’s alleged faults, the real purpose of the leaven is revealed as it begins to spread. Because they then begin to confide in others about their struggles and infecting them with the leaven that is killing them. Except of course they manage to leave out key aspects of the true circumstances and communicate their leaven only in such a way as to put their perception under the very best light to back up their claims. This is manipulation and witchcraft that has the sole purpose of destroying a work of God.
The leaven, if unchecked, spreads from one person to another until the whole is leavened and changed. This was the point of satan’s sowing into you the initial offense. It was never about whether or not you were wronged, it was about destroying the work. Most who spread leaven could have had their grievances answered easily but instead opt to sow rebellion and division rather than make amends.
In fact, many people who get leavened live to see their actions as being the biggest mistakes of their life. This is because shortly after the leaven has run its course they begin to see how out of character they were while they were under its influence. They were used by satan under the banner of self-righteousness to destroy something that they had very recently loved. The truly sad thing for these people is that the delusion is never lifted until the damage is done.
What is the solution for leaven? When yeast is introduced into a batch of dough there is only one remedy to stop its spread, common table salt. You must take your stand, hold the line and refuse to make yourself accessible to the enemy. The word says, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. Proverbs 26:20”. Leaven is stopped by refusing to be a talebearer. If you are so convinced of the wrong that you must leave a work, then leave with peace. Bring it up to the leadership and communicate what you are struggling with and give them the opportunity to either answer the question or release you. It is never your job to destroy a ministry or to pull people out from a church.
However since most of those who get leavened also manage to contract a lethal dose of self-righteousness; you will never be able to convince them to leave peacefully. They will fulfill the lusts of their father, sowing division, strife, tale bearing and slander until they have destroyed everything that they once loved and cut themselves off from the body.
You can tell when someone is under the effects of leaven because they seek to keep it hidden from the one that the leaven is meant to destroy. They will talk to others but not the leader about what is troubling them. This is because they know in their spirit that they are acting under a satanic delusion and yet they can not break free from it on their own. They have opened themselves up to seducing spirits and the lies of satan and those spirits are afraid of bringing it into the light for fear of exposure.
The effects of leaven in the body of Christ can be seen acting much like the spread of cancer in the human body. Normally the cells in the human body work together, dividing and reproducing in a strictly controlled and coordinated fashion. This collaboration keeps each tissue at the size, shape and architecture appropriate to the needs of the body.
Cancer cells violate this collaborative ethos, becoming ‘rogue traders’ that pursue their own agendas for proliferation. Such uncontrolled reproduction leads to the formation of a tumor, which is not necessarily dangerous to the body. But if the tumor becomes more advanced, acquiring nutrients by plumbing into the body’s blood supply and then developing the ability to invade other tissues or colonize other parts of the body, the cancer becomes very hard to stop. These events – the transition from a normal cell to a malignant cancer – are driven by changes to the cell’s DNA.
The lesson is easily seen here: when those who are leavened begin to seek their own agenda in the body, they begin reproducing (leavening) themselves into nearby cells. This leads to the formation of a tumor, a group sharing the exact same leavened DNA and this tumor of people ultimately become cancerous, destroying the local body. Be warned, those who destroy the body can count on one thing- being destroyed themselves. Titus 3:10 says “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”
The sad fact of the matter is that this is a favorite tactic of the enemy simply because it works so well. We have warned the church before that the attack was coming, urged them to not partake and to stand their ground and yet stood by helpless as the leaven ran its course through the church. It is due to this fact alone that most churches do not see revival. We know of churches that were close to revival and when the leaven began and they started losing people, they immediately crawfished and withdrew from seeking it altogether, going so far as to tell their people to stop praying for revival.
Sadly the enemy never forgets you once you threaten him with revival. He knows that you may utter those words once again and he will not stop until you are destroyed or until he perverts you so thoroughly that you destroy those that God has in your care.
And so once we put our hand to the plow, we simply must not look back. For a church this means to push through the loss of people, the loss of revenue and the loss of friends until you see the revival happen as God had shown you. For revivalists and evangelists we must be ready to stand with churches in seeking revival for as long as they want us. When we are rejected, shake the dust off your feet and move on. The work hasn’t ended, only a chapter of it.
And finally for some of us, we will see the revival occur. And to them that see that, nothing outside of the day that you stand before your Lord will compare with the glory that you behold. You will have paid an awful price for it but the souls that are won to kingdom in the first day alone is more than a bargain, no matter how hard it was getting there.