Recently friends of mine from a number of countries traveled to Russia to attend a conference with some fairly powerful speakers. If I were to name them you would probably know two or three of them. The others would be well known to Russian speaking Christians. Many of my friends posted pictures of themselves with the speakers … you know, the constant flow of selfies. What did we ever do before selfies?
Several posted videos of the worship and the speakers on Facebook. I didn’t listen to the speakers as I am a reader and not a listener. And, I have read their books and so have heard their message. And, I am busy working to apply God’s Word in my life and that is more important. But, I was struck by the worship videos. Great worship leaders and teams backing them. Good music. Great songs (I know enough Russian to be able to sing along to some of them). But, what struck me was how many people were not engaged in the worship.
The people were standing there as the worship was going on and they were texting, talking on their phones, speaking to one another, looking around, taking selfies, taking videos, just standing there motionless. So, so many of them were not engaged in the worship – including those taking the videos. They were not standing in awe of Him who called us to Himself and loves us with an unconditional and never ending love. I wept.
But then you read the write-ups and the summaries and almost every one of them talks about God moving, the Holy Spirit’s presence being powerfully there, revival is about to happen or is happening, and that there is a new wave of the Spirit…
I wonder how much of what they sensed and felt was God. I am not judging anyone. I was not there to experience what they saw, heard, and felt. But, I believe that at times we have ‘man-made’ waves of God. It is emotion and not the Holy Spirit. It is ‘feel good’ that pats us on the back and lets us know things are good and God is pleased even if they aren’t and He isn’t. We are not feeling challenged. We are not being stretched spiritually. We are not being encouraged to love the one beside us back at the home church. We are not being trained in witnessing and evangelism so we can win the lost and fulfill the Great Commission.
Yes, it can be exciting and a powerful experience. I would hope that people are touched and encouraged. But, a lot of what we claim to be the Holy Spirit is often, at least in my 46 years of experience as a Bible teacher and conference attender, simply emotion. And, that many of our “waves” and “revivals” are not in the least a serious move of God. They are, at the worst, emotions let loose and, at best, a desire for true revival to come upon the world. We are settling for man-made waves of God and not a true life-changing move of the Spirit of the living God.
Just a thought and observation.