I was talking the other day when a missionary friend from Mexico and we start discussing a guy we both know that is basically living overseas but has not talked about missions, revival or Jesus is about 18 months. I took a look at his website and it has been 23 posts since anything about the mission that he went to the country for. By all accounts, it looks like he is just an expat at the point.
My question to my friend was simple: how does someone that got touched in the fire of revival at Brownsville get to the point that they are just living overseas and not actually doing the work of the evangelist? It does not make sense to me to be honest.
Once someone is branded by fire, I would think they could never be the same. In fact, we use to sing a song about that very thing! However, I have taken the last 20 years looking at the scriptures and I believe there is some truths that tell how people go from the fires of revival to “the love of many will become cold. (Matthew 24:12)
Let’s unpack these three reasons that people walk away from the encounter of revival. In some cases, they walk completely from the faith and are hell back with a date in their bible of praying the sinner’s prayer!
Reason #1: They never had revival, they had an emotional response.
As I talked with my missionary friend, he made a very good point, “some never had it and got caught up in the excitement.” This is the harsh reality of revival. It is exciting, it is pure pandemonium. Seeing the altar full of people getting saved from a life of drugs and prostitution is dramatic. It is easy to get caught in the emotions of it all. Many did.
As my friend said, they did not have the fire of revival to start with. They just has encounter of excitement. We see this happen at conferences all the time. People would come to One Thing in Kansas City committed to pray for the rest of their lives but a week later, they are just as prayerless as they were before it all started.
One of the most common complaints from the reformed camp is that Charismatic (and Pentecostals) can caught up in emotionalism. Sadly, this is a legit issue and one that people within the Pentecostal movement need to address. People come to Christ only to walk away from it and lose their salvation. This is a far bigger problem than any of us want to confess to.
However, people who really do get touched will have emotions attached to the encounter. Scripture is clear that the Kingdom of God is…joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17) Joy comes to those who have true encounters with the Spirit. That’s an emotion. It is biblical because the whole man is converted and part of the soul is the emotional realm.
Emotions come with salvation but salvation does not come because of emotions.
Reason #2: Neglecting the fire!
Leviticus 6:8-13 tells us about how burnt offerings were to be done. In Romans 12, we are told to be a offering to the Lord. There is something in this text that people seem to forget about or just ignore. Let’s unpack this.
Every morning the Priests were have to remove the ashes from the fire from the day before in make way for that day’s fire on the altar. The truth is that yesterday’s ashes must be removed to make way for today’s encounter or fire of God. This is the main reason people end up losing the fire of revival and in many cases, returning to a life of sin.
Someone touched at Brownsville in 1997 does not matter today in 2020. You have to get a fresh touch from the Spirit every day, People living in encounters from years ago is dangerous at best. The fire they once had is become mere cold ashes on the altar. This is damnable.
I know of an Assemblies of God pastor in Missouri that literally tells everyone about how he got touched in a meeting of Kathryn Kuhlman in 1972. He is dead as a door knob spiritually but he is happy telling about the fire he once had almost a decade before I was even born.
When I first got saved in the Brownsville Revival, there was a popular song called Breathe on me. Part of the lyrics should writing on the wall for us: Yesterday gone, today is a new day. Holy Spirit fire, Breathe on me.
Reason #3: Cares of this world
I have noticed that a lot of people who lose the fire did so after getting married and having kids. They get caught up in the married life and just don’t have time for the Holy Spirit fire anymore. They never make the prayer meeting because of the PTA meeting.
When I sit down with these old contacts, they talk about their kids, making the house payment and making sure they are saving for retirement; nothing to do with the Holy Spirit, revival or the cause of Christ. The values they had when they got born again have been replaced with the cares of having a family.
It is concerning to me that some of these people who got touched in the Brownsville Revival have let what Solomon called “the little foxes that destroy the vineyard” cool down their fire and in some cases, living completely in sin. They have turned their children, a gift from the Lord into an idol to keep them from the Lord. It is idolatry in the camp.
Paul warned against this. He knew that people that get married do not commit themselves to the Lord like they should. This is why the church is full of spiritual dead parents and sons on drugs with daughters living in fornication. The compromise does not start with adultery. It starts with being “too busy” with the PTA activities and getting to the kid’s ball games.