What Hinders Revival by Bille Johnson   

What Hinders Revival?

Jan 8 2022. Written By Bill Johnson


I’ve heard people say, more times than I care to remember, “God knows we want revival. If it’s His will, He’ll cause it to happen. He knows where we live.”

I’m sure the intentions are good. But that kind of praying violates so much of His heart and nature that it’s scary. We have the responsibility to pursue Him. He’s not the cosmic bell-hop looking for a way to please us. He is a loving Father, for sure, but He remains the sovereign Lord over all, who longs for partnership with those who have received His Son Jesus. Scripture calls it co-laboring.

He has given us His promises and a covenantal agreement to meet us when we seek Him. While He knows what we need before we ask, He requires us to ask, even for our daily bread. It’s not that He doesn’t know or remember. It’s that He longs for us to pursue Him, mindful of His covenant and promises. Aligning with His Word is essential in learning to apprehend all that He has made available in this life. Most of what we need in this life will be brought to us. But most of what we want we’ll have to go get. The pursuit is needed for our sakes. It is in the pursuit that we demonstrate great faith in His Word and covenant. Plus, the pursuit changes us into the kind of disciple that will better steward the answer once it comes.

Designed for Hunger

Becoming hungry is really not that hard. It is our nature in Christ. It is equally true that is in our new nature to believe God, to have faith. We often live overly aware of the old nature, so much that we shut down the reality of who we are in Christ, and who He is in us. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). It is not a vain imagination to see ourselves as a new creation. In fact, it is the new logic. Paul put it this way, “Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again . . . even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:9-11). The resurrection of Jesus, who will never die again, is the basis for the reality that I am dead to sin. I am to think of myself in this way because of His resurrection. They are equal realities.

But if I have more input from mainstream media than I do from the Word of God and the testimony of the Lord, then my discouragement and lack of focus are my own doing. I have mandated a worldly view by my self-imposed feeding ritual. You are what you eat. And when we feed on the inferior realities of this world, we cannot be surprised that we fall short of the Kingdom lifestyle we’ve been invited into.

Creating Personal Hunger

If you lack hunger for revival, acknowledge it before God. Shame won’t help, so avoid that at all costs. Thinking happy thoughts is not the cure, either. The blood of Jesus in the only answer. And confession connects us to the cleansing provided for by His forgiveness. (See 1 John 1:9.) Confession is powerful and highly valued by God. It’s valuable because it basically means we agree with Him. He points to a sin, and we agree by confessing what He pointed to. Returning to the Word of God is next. Probably most of you don’t need to return, as you never left it. Yet many read out of ritual, and not for encounter. The Word of God in print is to lead us to the Word of God in Spirit. He is a living person. That’s not to discount the printed Word, as it is the living heart of God released to bring transformation to the individual. Just read to obtain.

“If I have more input from mainstream media than I do from the Word of God and the testimony of the Lord, then my discouragement and lack of focus are my own doing.”

— Bill Johnson

Specifically, read about the transformation of Nineveh, one of the greatest miracles in the Bible, found in the Book of Jonah. A whole city, in fact an entire empire, repented. The prophet didn’t even tell Nineveh to repent. They simply discovered that the hand of God was against them, and they sought Him for mercy. God’s heart was so tender towards them that He forgave them and healed their land. They weren’t Jews. They were heathen. And yet God gave them something that would become common in the New Testament. Meditate on that, then consider the sin-filled cities of the world and which ones you think God would like to visit in that way.

Read of the story of the transformation that took place in Ephesus, addressed in Acts 19. This is where Paul broke into extraordinary miracles. That’s amazing, as apparently miracles had become normal, and it was time for the increased level of breakthrough that Jesus promised when He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (Matt. 11:21-23). This reality of greater works started to take place in Ephesus. People touched Jesus’ garment and became healed. In Acts 19, they took articles of clothing from Paul’s body and laid them on people with disease or demons, and they were healed/delivered. Here they didn’t come to Paul. His clothing went to them. Greater works! Should these kinds of miracles and city transformations be happening today? See it. Pray it!

Prayerfully study Jesus’ warning to the cities most familiar with His ministry:

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes . . . and you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day” (Matt. 11:21-23).

Historically, the sin-filled cities mentioned in this passage have become the ultimate illustration of debauchery and evil. In Scripture, just the mention of their names evoked a context of evil that was unsurpassed in history. And yet Jesus made a startling statement here, one that should trouble every believer, that these worst of the worst would have repented, and as a result would still be among us as the great cities of the world.

Dreaming what God dreams of connects us to our purpose and destiny. Hunger is not a problem in that context. It’s natural. And yet there are still many that have been buried in bad teaching that even surpasses the devastating words and practices of the Pharisees. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were guilty of speaking truth but not living it. Today’s Pharisees contradict the truth by cancelling what Jesus taught and practiced. “Miracles are not for today, and if you pursue them you work against Christ!” To believe such nonsense, you have to remove the commissions Jesus gave His disciples and cancel His promises and His pronounced purpose for our becoming full of the Holy Spirit, which is a biblical command. And while they often point to a group of people that got it wrong to justify their beliefs, you have to leave the Gospel as Jesus taught and practiced it to get that outcome. Sometimes, it takes a while for someone raised in the environment to become hungry according to God’s design. While wrong teaching has removed many from the frontlines of the battle, disappointment is probably a greater enemy to revival. Even greater than wrong teaching. I deal with this subject much more thoroughly in my book Strengthen Yourself in the Lord. But suffice it to say, surrender your disappointment to God, and become renewed in hope again. Don’t stop pursuing Him until your heart overflows with hope. Come to grips with the fact that your being filled with hope is no one else’s responsibility. My hope is my own responsibility.

One of the most important things you can do to become hungry is to read about past revivals. Let me put it another way: Hunger is created whenever we expose ourselves to the miraculous testimonies of God’s supernatural invasions throughout history. The testimony prophesies hope and hunger into the human heart. I remember a pastor friend who, when he finished reading Rick Joyner’s book on the Welsh Revival, called World Aflame, couldn’t stay in his office or home. He went into the woods to pray. Something was exploding in him that could not be contained in a proper setting. It had to be expressed.

There are many great books on revival, ones that tell the stories of the miracle workings of God in the transformation of people and cities. Testimonies prophesy. It is nearly impossible to read these stories and not get hungry. In fact, we don’t even think about our need to be hungrier for God, for out of our innermost being comes a cry, almost volcanic in nature, for more of God at any price. The prayer that comes forth is not rehearsed. Nor is it written down. It is also not a rote prayer done that we might check it off the list. It is the prayer, manifesting hunger and passion, that only a Father of promises could inspire.

I have witnessed people who had zero hunger for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who witnessed a miracle in their own life, or even with a close friend, and were ignited in a moment. One pastor came to me after experiencing a creative miracle in his body that was undeniable. We both actually watched it happen over a period of about 30 seconds. In response, he told me, “I don’t believe what I just saw.” He was serious. He walked around dazed for a good half hour. After the significance of his miracle impacted his heart and mind, he came back to me and said, “I have discovered why I’m alive.” That night a fiery passion was born. Not the short-lived emotional burst. But the kind that is anchored in our purpose for being.


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