527: The Worst Thing for a Christian… Getting Civilized!
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From Raw, Reckless Abandonment to Christ…
In the classic movie Rocky III, we saw our hero going from underdog to the Heavyweight Champion of the World. And in achieving his goal, Rocky went through some internal and external changes. No longer was he full of passion for the fight game. No longer was there a lofty goal to achieve, a supreme purpose in his life. Now, as champion, his days were no longer filled with dreams of sacrifice and winning, but of the fear of losing what he had already accomplished. And this change is best described in the words of Mickey, his wise trainer.
“For years, you were supernatural. You had this cast iron jaw. But then the worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter. You got civilized.”
Ah, civilized. No longer the brute, the savage. But now a gentleman savoring the rewards of past victories and fame. Being more concerned about maintaining the status quo than serving with total commitment and reckless abandonment to a cause greater than himself.
And unfortunately, we could say the same about many, maybe most, in the church today. At one time, we were fearless, totally committed, passionate, and full of faith. We were ready and willing to charge the fires of hell with nothing more than a squirt gun in our hands. But not now. Not anymore.
Now we seem more content with being served than serving, to being taught than teaching, and to watching ministry rather than actively taking part in it.
What happened? Where did the passion and drive for Him go? The same thing that happened to Rocky has happened to us. We became civilized.
And what is the remedy for this dire situation? One word, revival.
To Comfortable Apathy and Compromise
So what is a revival? And how does a spiritual revival take place? First, let’s look at the definition of revival.
A revival refers to a spiritual awakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer.
Or, to put it another way, a revival moves a believer from being content, lukewarm, or “civilized”— to a person they once were, full of faith and passion and a great, fearless desire to serve the Lord. This is what His church so desperately needs.
Which brings us to the most important question: Does God show us in His Word how to move from stagnation to fervency? Does He reveal to us the steps to experience revival? And the answer is a resounding, yes!
In Revelation 2 and 3, the Lord, in His seven letters to seven churches, lays out for us the history of the church in advance (we have looked at this amazing truth in the past). And if God listed these letters in any other order, this would not be so.
But they also, amazingly, reveal to us the life-cycle of most believers and show us the key to experiencing revival and the Higher Christian Life. In some of these letters, the Lord has only good things to say. In others, only bad. But for most, He gives both a commendation and a rebuke, and demands repentance to do what they should have been doing from the beginning. Even the names of the seven churches are prophetic in nature.
But you will have to listen to discover more. Join us as we learn how to experience revival and the Higher Christian Life through the seven letters in Revelation 2 and 3 as we Leave Laodicea behind.