14 Oct Eight Obstacles to a Revival Breakthrough, By Pastor John Kilpatrick
A revival outbreak cannot flow through unforgiving hearts. When we come to Jesus Christ in repentance, we acknowledge that He has forgiven us from all our unrighteousness. But if we hold unforgiveness in our hearts, it becomes a weight that hinders our faith and disarms us of our power to pray with assurance and confidence. It can quickly turn into bitterness, and this is the first and perhaps most serious blockage to revival.
Releasing those who have hurt you will release you to progress in God’s plan. It will free your faith to see your prayers catapulted heavenward every time you pray. Be slow to anger and quick to forgive; it does not pay to hold a grudge! There is no offense worth separation from God that we experience when we harbor unforgiveness. It is hazardous to your spiritual health and will inhibit revival in your life.
- Regarding Iniquity
Iniquity destroys the power of a revival breakthrough. Eli the priest was used by God to train Samuel from his early years to adulthood. Samuel was destined to become one of God’s greatest prophets. Samuel would one day anoint Saul, Israel’s first king, and David, Israel’s greatest king.
But Eli also raised two worthless sons who are among the most despised men in the entire Bible! His sons made a mockery of the temple and the sacrifices offered to God. These young men were literally committing adultery with women right in the temple, and Eli failed to correct and discipline them. God finally did what Eli would not. Not only did God stop the blatant iniquity of Eli’s sons; He also cut off the entire family line. Eli’s wicked sons were both struck done in their sin, and Eli fell and broke his neck when he heard this news. Thus Eli’s family line came to a bitter end.
The story of Eli should be a chilling warning to parents. We have no business trying to cover up or condone the sins of our children. God knows what they are doing, and He also sees our failure to correct them. He cannot be hoodwinked or distracted from the real spiritual condition of our lives.
The Hebrew word for “regard” is ra ̒ah. Among other things, it means “to gaze, to look joyfully, to enjoy, or experience a thing.” It is a tragedy that sexually explicit videotapes, television programs, and situation comedies that scornfully ridicule righteous principles and godly living today contaminate many Christian homes. Every time you feed on such TV programs, you are literally regarding iniquity in your heart! Another meaning of ra ̒ah is “to spy and stare.” Brother, do not grab your wife’s intimate clothing catalog and hide in the bathroom. You are spying on forbidden fruit when you look on a woman other than your wife and allow your mind to fantasize. Sin occurs in the mind and heart, even if your body never gets involved—which it does. Repent of any sin, renounce any thoughts to return to that sin, and get back to the business of holiness. Guard your heart and do not let iniquity find a home in your life or affections. A lax attitude toward sin amounts to regarding iniquity. Remember that revival will never flow if it is blocked by disobedience.
When prejudice is truly done away with, a revival breakthrough can come. In God’s presence, all people share one common status. We are all sinners saved by grace alone; it is by His grace that we dwell together in unity. All have common access to the presence of God through the name of Jesus and the power of His shed blood. If we insist on clinging to our prejudices, we are literally failing to recognize the true body of Christ. This is an affront to God. One mark of true revival is that it gathers all people under the Son, bridging the chasms that separate the races, the genders, and the many social and ethnic groups of the world.
We have to let go of prejudices that prevent us from allowing God to work in our lives. What will He require you to release before He brings revival to your life or to your church?
- Judgement of Others
A judgmental heart hinders the prayers that could bring a revival breakthrough. Judging your neighbor is another sin that can clock or hinder revival in our lives. You may occasionally have to judge the fruits of righteousness in a person’s life, but that does not mean God has called you to a new career as “holy fruit inspector.” This is nothing more than a fancy name for gossiping and self-righteous hypocrisy. Follow the counsel of Jesus; He warned His disciples and all who would trust in Him, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1).
Let Jesus be your plumb line. When God truly moves in revival, He very often shows people pictures they rarely see: pictures of themselves. This supernatural shock treatment usually leads to repentance. This sobering appraisal will most certainly silence the hypocrite within. Jesus commanded this personal introspection when He told the crowd that was about to stone the woman caught in adultery, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).
Be careful, if you are devouring your brothers and sisters with your tongue, you have yielded your member to evil! If you are continually critical of your brethren, and your mouth spews out sharp accusations, perhaps you had better ask yourself, “Which master am I serving with my thoughts and word?” You may need to be delivered from a critical spirit, my friends. Stop judging. Repent. You will see the brassy heavens shatter and revival will break through.
- Ignoring the Poor
When you open your heart to the needy, God opens the heavens to you and can bring a revival breakthrough. One of the most stinging accusations leveled at the Church today is that she has abandoned the poor and needy. It stings because it is for the most part true. No matter what the federal government has done in the past or plans to do in the future, God has not suspended or revoked our obligation to care for the poor! Solomon warned, “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard” (Prov. 21:13).
This is a sobering statement. I do not know about you, but I never want to be in a situation where God will not hear my cry. Most Christians are so insulated from contact with the poor that they do not even know how to reach out to the needy! But the Spirit of God within us rouses our sleepy senses and urges us to action. The truth is that if Jesus walked the earth today, we would more likely find Him with the poor than inside our church doors. This may not sound like the usual revival talk, but I tell you it is Bible talk. The revived Church is a caring Church. The revived believer is a serving believer.
- Teaching the Commandments of Men
When we are willing to turn from the precepts of men, we will see the commandments of God breaking through cloudy skies in revival. Often time, believers pray ineffectively and live in continual, discouraging frustration because they have believed the commandments of men rather than the doctrines of God. Many of the commandments represented in our churches as doctrines virtually require Christians to disallow or recast the Word of God. It seems that everything that has anything to do with a supernatural God who does supernatural works in our day is systematically purged to conform with the tidy commandments of men.
My friend, the truth is that the God of revival cares nothing for commandments of men, though He dearly loves every man. He longs to see His river flow through the hearts of all who call on the name of His Son. But this cannot happen as long as many Christians confuse doctrinal belief with genuine experience. There is a huge difference. Just because you have been raised in a church tradition does not mean that you have experienced the presence and power of God. Many who have heard about it and believe in it have never experienced it.
You must remember who you are. The lies of the enemy cannot condemn the sons of God and block a revival breakthrough. Any time you separate yourself for a time of focused prayer in God’s presence, your accuser is waiting. He will do anything to keep you from praying, and condemnation is his favorite tactic. The surprising fact is that if Satan should ever take a holiday, we would probably continue his condemning work without his help!
Come before God in prayer and assure yourself of your standing before Him. Remind yourself that Jesus Christ alone has qualified you to enter the presence of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin that might be blocking your direct communication with God, and then confess it and repent. Begin to praise God and recall some of the verses from His World that declare your identity in Christ.
- Disrespect to Spouse
Suppressing the anointing and gifts in your spouse will rob you of the full power needed to break through in revival. Many marriages are destroyed and revival is hindered when there is contempt in the home. Although contempt born from familiarity is quite commonplace in our world, it need not destroy our families. Love and genuine concern expressed by both members of a well-kept marriage will do much to keep this destroyer away.
Safeguard your marriage by recognizing that differences in perspective do not necessarily mean that your spouse does not support you. Be careful not to let assumptions about your spouse’s commitment to you , your ministry, or Christ rob you of the blessings and joys committed marriage partners can find. Two are always stronger than one. Value and safeguard that strength, being attentive to the needs and giftings of your spouse. Above all, pray together. Couples who pray together discover much about themselves, their marriage, and their ministries that they would not otherwise learn. Then trust God to protect your hearts and minds. In so doing you will keep the skies over your home clear and open for revival.