WHY REVIVAL STILL TARRIES
by Chad Taylor
Why does revival still tarry? Because God's people still tarry. We have not left the porches of complacency and entered the battle field of humanity. We linger in the conference lines and meeting halls hoping the Lord will "touch us" one more time. It's not a touch of comfort God longs to give us but a taste of His fire. We need a baptism, not of water or of wine but of the fire of God. We have been intoxicated with conferences and Christian gatherings now we must escape the maze of meetings and begin to invade the marketplace. God is looking for those that will come to the awesome altar of sacrifice and leave their life there. That is the problem - we are still alive and striving to succeed when the Lord simply wants us to die. It is hard to be "crucified with Christ" when living is our best friend.
Why does revival still tarry? Because our hearts are yet unbroken. Our pride and dignity is still intact. When we see the tear stained faces of humanity we can still walk by untouched and without emotion. When Jesus saw them He wept. When Jesus was confronted by their poverty and sin He healed them. He left the favor of the ninety-nine for the shame of the one. His was a life of lack but more love, ours is a life of prosperity but no power. We have no revival because we have not wanted one. Oh, we have prayed for one but we have not lived like we wanted one. Revival is not a program it is a person. It's the moment you reach out beyond the tapestries and trappings of contemporary Christianity into the broken heart of your neighbor. The warm insulation of modern church has created a chasm of tradition that the lost dare not cross. Rather than bridge that gap we have only emphasized it by our traditions and left behind the wreckage of a generation. Jesus said it better, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition..." ( Matt 15:6).
Why does revival still tarry? Because we let the fire of it pass us by. We are still standing at the depot of empty experiences with our religious baggage and the train of revival has already passed. When Jesus looked over Jerusalem and wept he cried out, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes." Revival had come to Jerusalem in the form of their Messiah and they never saw it. Their destruction as Jesus predicted only came because they did not discern the "day of their visitation." We have had a "day of visitation" for three hundred years in America and by and large we have ignored it. Revival has been waiting for us on every street corner, every marketplace and every dark back drop of American experience but we have passed her by on our way to the next meeting... (Luke 19:42-44).
Revival still tarries because it is no longer our highest pursuit. We have chased everything but it. We have been unwilling to pay the price that revival still demands. Revival cannot be scheduled or dictated in a day planner, it interrupts and disorganizes everything. It turns over the tables of pre-planning and leaves you with divine chaos. It upsets and offends. It reminds us who is really in control of our lives - God. It tears off the roof of religious structure and lowers the sick in. It stops the parade of spiritual plagiarism and cries out, "Jesus Son of David have mercy on me!" It ruins self effort and leaves our hands empty of striving and fills our heart full with the rarefied boldness of divine inspiration. It cannot be managed or manipulated but simply received as we embrace the sacrificial lifestyle that it requires; less of me and more of Him. "He must increase, but I must decrease..." (John the Baptist - John 3:30).
Why does revival still tarry? Because we have learned to live without it. By far this is the most serious dilemma of them all. We have grown so accustomed and conditioned to live within a passive state rather than a passionate one we have become satisfied and content with the lesser. We live from Sunday to Sunday or meeting to meeting and our entire Christian experience orbits around it. I dare you to peak through the key hole of the impossible and see beyond our current conditioned rationale into a different world; a revived one. One where church is everyday and the lost are added to it perpetually. Where the intense pleasure of this Holy pursuit is not rationed to us by conference speakers and church etiquette. But is a constant and daily adventure where the blind can see, the deaf can hear, and the lame can walk. Where Samaria is saved and the uttermost parts of earth hear our cry, "And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory..." (Moses - Ex 33:18). Friend, revival still tarries because we do.
A PRAYER OF REVIVAL
Lord, I see my lack, I see the emptiness of my own works. I see the dead efforts of my own hands and like Cain I have tried to pass them off as righteous. Forgive me. Burn up the wood, hay and stubble of my own works and replace it with the refined gold of your will. Remove far from me the ritual and routine of modern religion and burn in Me Your passion for the reality of the Holy Spirit. Clean off the debris of dead works that clutters the altar of my heart and help me make a living sacrifice. Help me to give myself to you completely.
Once your fire has touched me and consumed me Lord, then brand my heart with your passion; the lost and the dying. Give me a divine revelation of what it means to take up my cross and follow You. Show me that apostolic creed, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death..." Show me the what it means to suffer with you. To take upon myself the same pain that you feel for ones that are void of the knowledge of Your salvation. Show me the secret that, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him".
Lord, now show me how brief my time in this life is. If I can grasp that reality then I will live everyday as if it was my last one on this earth. I pray now with David, "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away..." Lord let me pour out my heart like water before Your face so that when You do come for me I am not fat and content but rather I am empty and poured out. Let me be a drink offering to you O Lord. Sip from the cup of my life and be satisfied. Search me and know me O Lord and see if there is any apathy in me that breeds indifference. Remove this far from O Lord and let me be a "the light of the world and a city upon a hill that cannot be hid." Let me be a blazing ensign of your life and death, your love and passion. Let me be revived O Lord.
(Phil 3:10, 2 Tim 2:12, Ps 39:4, Matt 5:14).
Nov. 21st 2004