A third potential obstacle to personal revival and spiritual awakening is the very real fear of not being accepted (and feeling rejected) by others. Imagine Jesus being so real, so close, and so alive that you begin to devour the Scriptures with a voracious desire to know Jesus in a way you’ve never known. As you grow to know Him more, sins you once rationalized or ignored now feel like damaging, personal affronts to your best friend.
This 180-degree turnaround is true repentance. When people want to know, “What’s different with you?” you know the answer, and a thousand thoughts go through your mind, among them: “What is he or she going to think about me once I start talking about God?” This is the deep human need to be liked by others. This is the willingness to be accepted even if it means silencing the undeniable truth that God is alive and at work in you.
During the summer of 1992 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was one of more than a thousand believers packed inside a Baptist church for a pre-Billy Graham Crusade meeting. That evening, as a Presbyterian minister preached, God’s Spirit began to move mightily in ways I had never observed. One moment, people were standing in the aisles lifting their hands in praise to God. The next moment, they were dropping to the floor, catatonic, without anyone touching them. There was no rhyme or reason why men and women were falling to the floor except that they were feeling a powerful touch of the Holy Spirit. I should have been celebrating this great work of God! Instead, I became terribly anxious inside. I looked around at people on either side of me and thought to myself, “Oh God, please don’t touch me like that.” Instead of praising God, I worried, “Oh God, don’t let this happen to me. I don’t want to be embarrassed!”
For God, our lack of courage is not an ultimate obstacle to revival, but an opportunity to work through fragile egos and sweaty palms. So whether it’s in a church in Argentina or in your own congregation, we can know that our need for human affirmation and acceptance is no obstacle for a God who is not ashamed to be seen with us. Even though He knows we are flawed vessels, He is ready to pour His Spirit into those who are willing to acknowledge the potter and be remade by Him.
Acts 1:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Colossians 3:23 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
Romans 1:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Just Live by Faith
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
To stay up-to-date with Jesus Now Awakening:
Phillips, Tom (2016-11-01). Jesus Now: God Is Up to Something Big (Chapter 6 p. 141-144). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC.