When our children were younger, our family loved to go camping. It was an inexpensive vacation but it also allowed us to enjoy the resources and beauty of God’s creation. We would build a campfire every evening, upon which we would often cook some of our meal. After dinner, we would snuggle by the warm fire, sharing stories or simply talking with friends and family. I loved hearing the logs pop, and watching the flames dance. By bedtime, the wood logs had burned down to the size of charcoal and the ashes had covered any visible fire. It looked and felt as if the fire was extinguished altogether. Sometimes we would dust off the cooled ashes with a stick stirring the coals. Then we would blow on the coals to cause the dormant fire within to blaze hot again. The greyed coals would turn orange, indicating the fire was still inside. By adding a few more logs and blowing more puffs of air on the coals, the small coals would again ignite into a roaring bonfire. The fire was revived back to life!
For one to revive a cooled campfire, there are several steps necessary to “stoke” the fire to bring it back. It is the same with spiritual fire. There are times when we allow the cares of the world or activities to keep us so busy we become distracted from the presence of the Lord. It is His continual presence that keeps us on fire. When we become lax in our relationship with Him, our hunger for Him can wane. Our passion for the Lord becomes cooled, making us feel dull spiritually, uninspired, and unfulfilled. Revival becomes a necessary remedy for spiritual burn-out.
Revival is a sovereign act of God’s grace. It is not man-made. Revival comes when the Lord discerns our hearts are ready to receive His gift of renewal and transformation. The Lord prepares us for revival by moving us through a process of steps. Each step He initiates opens our heart to a greater level of repentance and humility. When we surrender to His process of preparation, we can then become a catalyst for revival.
Holy dissatisfaction is the state of being dissatisfied with church as usual and Christian life as normal. The Lord is supernatural. He turns our normal into an adventure of discovering who He is and who we are to become. God is eager to do miracles in people’s lives, but He is waiting for us to allow Him to do them through us. He chooses to use the weakness of man to partner with Him but only God can do a miracle.
It is easy for us to regiment our lives to the degree we become pre-occupied with our agenda, unintentionally leaving the Lord out of our plans. We walk past people all day but our mindset is to remain on our plan. With such concentration, we fail to recognize those around us who may need a prayer, a word of encouragement, or a helping hand. It doesn’t take long for us to become complacent by doing the same routine day after day making us blind to the needs of others, and unable to see the brokenness around us. The Lord desires for us to allow Him to interrupt our “normal” activities to draw our attention to someone’s need, creating a miracle in their life.
We can also become complacent in our worship as well as other church activities. Being a little too content or comfortable with our prayer groups, our fellowship and church meetings, we can slip into complacency without even realizing it. Without some kind of intervention, complacency can easily turn into stagnation where we go through the motions of church life, but the fire and passion for God is no longer in our hearts. Life with God that is real must be passionate, invigorating, challenging and on the cutting edge, even though we also have normal every day activities.
The gift of holy dissatisfaction is intended to shake us awake from our complacent stupor. The Lord desires for us to become dissatisfied until we experience all that He has provided for us to receive. Satisfaction keeps us from pressing forward for more. Holy dissatisfaction motivates us to reach for and obtain what others have already proven is possible with God. John G. Lake (1870-1935) broke the bonds of chronic infirmity and sickness in his family by having holy dissatisfaction. He was one of 16 children in his family and by the time he was an adult, 8 had died from various forms of disease. Rather than allowing sickness and disease to continue killing his family members, he rose up and sought the Lord for healing. His ministry in Africa and his healing centers in the northwestern U.S. had astounding results.
He knew disease was not from the Lord, but healing was. His life was changed when the revelation of Acts 10:38 overwhelmed him. “How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him.” Lake amazed the doctors when by faith in the completed work of the cross, he was able to minister healing to plague victims in Africa. Local doctors put him to the test and discovered by placing his hand with live bacteria under the microscope, the bacteria died immediately when it came in contact with his skin. Through faith in God’s healing power, Lake touched and inspired hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.
It is a holy dissatisfaction given to us by the Lord, which causes us to diligently seek Him for more. We must avoid the ruts of ministry and church life which anesthetize us into complacency. Discerning good works from God works is vital to our avoiding a complacent Christian life. Developing a holy dissatisfaction is the antidote to becoming complacent.
The first time I heard the words holy desperation was in the late 1990’s at the Brownsville Assemblies of God, Revival School of Ministry. We were invited to join our daughter’s church for a long weekend in which we not only attended the revival services, we were also allowed to audit several ministry school classes. I went to Dr. Michael Brown’s class. It was in that class He taught on Holy Desperation.
When we are desperate, we are willing to try something we have never done before. We are willing to reach out beyond the limits we have previously experienced, to change the dynamics of our situation. We are ready and willing to do whatever it takes for effective change to occur. Many people have become Christians because they had nowhere else to turn, or they had already tried every other avenue of deliverance except God. Desperate people who call upon the Lord are ripe for total transformation.
Gideon is an example of one who experienced holy desperation. Judges 6:12-14 says, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage. And Gideon said to him, O sir, if the Lord is with us, why is all this befallen us? And where are all His wondrous works of which our fathers told us, saying Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian. The Lord turned to him and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Read Judges 6:1-8:12).
Through holy desperation, Gideon learned it was not the Lord who had failed His people, it was His people who had failed the Lord. They had erected altars of worship to false gods on their land causing the land to become cursed. The covenant the Lord had made with them was contingent upon their worship of Him only. (See Deuteronomy 5:6-10, especially vs 7 &9). Through holy desperation, when we become willing to face any giants that have hindered us, we become fearless to obtain victory over our lives. Holy desperation gives us breakthrough over seen and unseen enemies, whether the result of our own sin, or spiritual attack.
When we become desperate for more of God, He will be determined to meet us as we cry for more. His Word promises us that if we seek Him with our whole heart, we will surely find Him. 2 Chronicles 15:2b admonishes us, “If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you; but if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you.” King David knew holy desperation. In Psalms 63:1-2 he wrote, “O GOD, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory.” (See also Matthew 7:7-8, and 1 Chronicles 28:9).
The complacent are not desperate. We must not develop such contentment with our current understanding of God that we fail to become desperate to fully KNOW Him in all His glory. The Apostle Paul charged the church to strongly desire the spiritual gifts God has for us. The Lord is looking for the passionate and desperate hearts to press in and pursue the things of God and when we do, He will freely give us that which our hearts are yearning to obtain.
Revival is first for those who were once ignited with fire (the church). When the revival fire re-ignites the church, it will then affect those closest to the fire. Then the Lord uses the church, burning with new passion for the Lord, to spread the fire beyond itself to reach the lost. There are seven steps to revival. The first two are Holy Dissatisfaction and Holy Desperation. More on the remaining five steps to revival will follow. If you are hungry for more today and desperate for change, you have entered the process of revival! It is the beginning of an incredible journey with God, but our Heavenly Father has much more for us all. May revival begin in His people NOW!