Surprisingly, it is not just the spiritually apathetic or spiritually slothful people who flee a deeper relationship with Jesus. The following are three types of spiritual impairments that keep people from enjoying communion with God in their lives.
The first is complacency. Over time, many denominations throughout history have gradually slid away from God's heart on different levels. It is such a slow process that very few people ever notice it. It is like the erosion of a rock at the seashore. People are often blinded to it by their denominations’ rapid numerical growth. We as congregants tend to slowly become more and more like each other spiritually. We can then develop into a people-pleasing mono-conscious association. An in-group society, which many times foolishly believes that it holds an absolute monopoly on the truth.
Anyone who dares to deviate from a tradition is often considered rebellious and even heretical. Just ask the prophet Jeremiah or Martin Luther. Once one has been labeled a rebel, trying to reach these groups who have been set in their ways for some decades is almost impossible, making group complacency revival enemy number one.
The second and most well-hidden wall between an individual and God is the wall of being "angry at God." It most commonly has to do with the untimely death of an individual after a person or a group of people prayed for someone to be healed. Oftentimes this is a quiet and hidden anger that no one knows about. These individuals work hard at covering up their anger, which only surfaces when someone suggests that they fully surrender their life to Christ. Their brain seems to go immediately to "Yeah right, surrender to someone who did not heal my loved one, but allowed them to go through great suffering before they died?”
Fortunately, over time if these individuals desire to grow in God and mature in their faith, they will let go of their anger and once again be open to His working in their lives. But until that happens, many simply dig their heels in spiritually, and no amount of good teaching or preaching on their need for revival breaks down that wall.
The third restrictive force is the presence of an unacknowledged sinful practice. One they either do not know is sinful, or they are in rebellion against the Holy Spirit Himself. Generally, this is also a hidden sin. No one knows about it but the individual, and they purposely keep it that way. Such individuals want nothing to do with becoming spiritually revived and are often the leading opponents of any church that promotes a deeper walk with Christ.
The wonder of revival is that it is very similar to when we were first born again. A new life develops in Jesus that has been either lost or never fully experienced. God has so much more for everyone than many people have ever experienced. If any of the above three restrictive forces are holding you back spiritually, I pray that this article will help you find freedom from their deceptions so that you can fall in love with Jesus all over again and experience Him in all His fullness. Quite possibly in a way you never knew you could.
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.