Dear People Who Keep Company With God,
During our most recent visit to China we visited the old town of Lijiang. The town has a history going back more than 800 years and is famous for its system of waterways, bridges and it is laid out like a maze. It seems like there are innumerable narrow stone streets and side alleys lined with shops. I almost got lost because I made an assumption on how to get back to our hotel based on how streets are laid out in the U.S. instead of how they are laid out in Lijiang.
When you are in another culture you can’t always think like your home country culture. You have to adjust yourself. The same goes for the spiritual realm. We live in a world whose reality is defined by a combination of both a visible material world, and an invisible spiritual world. When we interpret spiritual things through the senses and reasoning processes of the material world we can end up far away from the truth and not even know it (1 Cor. 2:12).
We all are guilty interpreting spiritual things through our natural senses and reasoning. When things do not work out, as we believe or assumed they are supposed to, we struggle with disappointment and discouragement. I think there is a lot of that going on in these days. Yes, we have made some assumptions that have created a mess, but let’s be careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Revival is one those “babies” that seems to be getting tossed out today by a lot of believers. We have seen some excesses, mixtures, and misdirected outcomes from recent revivals. There is no question about that, but to be ambivalent, skeptical or deny revival you will have to do away with major portions of scriptures going all the way back to Genesis 4 and much of the rich history of the church. In fact, our nation may not exist apart from the First and Second Great Awakenings.
Billy Sunday, the great baseball player who became a world famous evangelist back in the early part of the 20th century, called revival “God’s Bathhouse”. When critics rose up against revival in his day with their objection, “It won’t last,” Billy’s response was, “Neither does a bath.”
Jesus told us this and it is brought out well in the Message Bible. Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. John 13:10
I think we can all agree that after days, weeks, months and years without a bath one may do some good. It is possible to live so long without a move of the Holy Spirit and believe it is the normal way to live. The abnormal can be embraced so long that it appears to be normal.
Many Blessings, BW