The Mandatory Requirements For Encounter (Part 1)
John 7:37-39 (KJV) 37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
We shall be looking at three critical ingredients for revival and divine encounters in any generation.
The very first of these ingredients is: A HUNGRY HEART
God can never revive a heart that is not hungry; he is always looking for a hungry heart. He only fill the hungry heart and only pours water on thirsty souls. Many times, revival never starts in our life because we are not hungry for God.
God only has time for the hungry. However, for those who are filled and satisfied (although, they are not), He does not waste his time on them. No one can be filled and satisfied by himself; True satisfaction only comes from God and since no man can know God’s end, the more you search, the more HE shows HIMSELF; when you stop, He stops.
The first order of revival is those men who continue to hunger for more of God, men who are not satisfied with the status quo. Many of us have been so filled with earthly things that we are no longer hungry for God. For instance, if you make up your mind that you are tired of how things are in your spiritual life, enter into fasting and prayers, pray daily for like 3 hours for one month. You Can Never Remain The Same After That Time!
We are no longer hungry; we have been filled with religious titles and programs, even though we do not encounter God in any of these. Unfortunately, we have men who make us feel calm even though we have lost the king of glory. I remember when I gave my life to Christ, we would hear some brethren are praying for 10 hours, we also desired to do it when we see the power of God manifested through their encounters. You CAN NEVER be empowered by chance. It comes through intentional and diligent craving of the supernatural. Exactly! We used to go to the bush (to avoid distraction) on Campus to pray. It was so challenging that when a brother says, “I just finished some hours of prayer”, you would want to carve out your own time to do more so you will not be left out. (It was a genuine hunger for Him). Today, when brethren gather, we still discuss our Hunger, but the desire has changed; the things of this world have become our pursuit and thirst. Why should our yesterday’s encounter be more spiritual than today? We need to find our way back to the altar of consecration. Some of us glory in our yesterday, not knowing that yesterday has gone. Phil 3:13-15 (KJV) 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Many of us are hungry today, not for God but rather for cars, houses, affluence, etc. Hunger for God makes you unsatisfied for less of the reality of the Bible and God in your life. Hunger turns you into a seeker of God by all means. Psalm 42:1-2 (KJV) 1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? When you are hungry and thirsty, you ignore what will not satisfy your soul, your only desire is the utmost satisfaction of that hunger and thirst. This is the attitude and posture expected of us to receive our desired spiritual encounters. Our hungry hearts will lead us to continue to seek God. Every man not thirsty for God is filled with something else, either the ambition of life, affluence, cars, etc. Unfortunately, some leaders within the church contribute to this unholy desire for the things of the world. However, remember we have no justification that someone led us astray. We are all responsible for our soul and if you notice anyone leading you to a hunger for the world and its cravings, RUN! See what the psalmist said: Psalm 63: 1 (KJV) O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee. My soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for thee, in a dry and thirsty land where no water is.
No revival comes to a soul that is not thirsty. Even in this current situation of Christianity, God is looking for thirsty men and women in this dry land. Anytime you want to check your soul, check your Hunger? When last did you start fasting, and you said until I see God am not stopping. We have not seen the outpouring of God over our lives because the desire to Hunger for God is dead in us. We have exchanged our Hunger for something else. The disciples were in the upper room because they were hungry. When there are prayer meetings, hungry souls do not have excuses. Anything that will make them closer to God is their target. Are we starving? Hungry souls do not look at distance. Some people will come from Kaduna for Bible Study in Lagos and return in those days. Some people will trek to camp meetings and seek where to pray even without money. A hungry soul does not seek any excuse, he needs God, and whatever would be required to get Him, he is ready to do it.
Can you check your Hunger? Today, I do not have money, I don’t see a car that will pick me, they don’t check on me, and I do not have much time; these are our complaints. However, hungry souls trek and walk the journey of faith until the longing is fulfilled. They do not care if they have bruises on their legs; they need outpouring. Distance is not an issue. They walk in the desert to seek water. Oh, give us a hungry soul Lord.
Show me a revivalist patriarch, and I will show you a man of DEEP Hunger. When I am talking of revival today I am referring to our own personal revival. Let us leave others first; when we are revived, we will revive others. I remember in those days, and I know a brother that hungered for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He did everything we asked him to do: read books, prayed for hours etc., until one day, he was alone till 10 pm at the Campus field where believers go to prayer; he received an encounter that he has not recovered from till today.
The period we are looking for water is never wasted, but instead, they are when God continues to exchange himself in us, preparation for the fullness. Can we get hungry men and women in God-seekers today who will say that we would not stop seeking God until we see the Apostolic Dimensions? We do not need intellectuals, theologians etc., we only need hungry men. When God filled hungry men, they would be more potent than intellectuals or theologians. Today’s challenge is that we have many, but only a few are hungry. A hungry man is targeting every message believing that anyone may be where God will encounter him, but a filled soul already knows the Bible from cover to cover and is no more interested. So we must move from ‘’the Talking to the Hungry”.
Now can you ever be satisfied? That is where the nugget is. The depth of God is deep that, as you are satisfied with the one, you see another depth. The hungered are never satisfied because there is no end to God. One of the great apostles who laboured more than his contemporaries said: “that I may know HIM” after achieving many exploits for God.
Church doctrine and Denominational traditions tend towards religion rather than encounter. A child of God does not primarily serve under a denomination but under Christ. The doctrine has never satisfied any man; I have never seen a Church that carries the fullness of Jesus. The Church is never our destination, Christ is your destination, and if what is to bring us to our destination is taking us somewhere else, it is our duty to take responsibility for that situation. No single Church under the earth can satisfy your Hunger; only Christ can. In Churches, there are thousands of things you will never find the answers to; you will be displeased with several ideas, but as you hunger for Christ, He continues to reveal Himself to you. What you need is Christ, not Denomination. We are not against Denomination but do not ever think a denomination will satisfy your Hunger, only Christ can! The Denomination is a path to lead you to Christ, but there would be several answers you can never get in your Hunger for God if you follow denomination. The current denominations have not entered into the deep depths of God, but if you are a hungry soul, you will enter into it.
You are an entity like Paul and Peter, and if we hunger like them, we will enter into depths even more excellent than theirs. We are in an era of great moves of God, but unfortunately, the devil has killed our Hunger. Hunger is the rope that draws revival from God. Do you know how long Evan Robert prayed for Wales’ revival? Do you know how long William Seymour prayed before the Azusa street revival? Your Hunger will draw God to you. Your Hunger will always draw you to a place of prayer, and that is where you continue to get instruction for the WHOLE journey. Today, hungry men are praying and labouring, and those filled are saying the move is not possible. You can never experience the sweetness of the water of satisfaction of God if you are not the hungry one. Are we still hungry Christians? Are we still passionate for more of Him?
One principle about God that makes him different from science is that He reveals himself to men individually, while a single discovery can be used by many in science. So why does the revelation of others edify us? God’s absolute truth is revealed to the individual soul and is a function of your Hunger.
In conclusion, you do not need to have everything at the beginning of the journey of faith, but you must have Hunger. That is what will draw God to you.
….To be continued next week….