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Treadmill Christianity…and How to Hop Off!

Treadmill Christianity…and How to Hop Off!

treadmill2Years ago I was at a Christian leadership conference in Asia.  One evening the guy leading that particular meeting felt to pray for anyone who wanted “a fresh anointing from the Holy Spirit.”  He asked everyone who did to step out into the aisleways and he would come through and pray.

Hey, who doesn’t want more Holy Spirit?  I quickly stepped out into the aisle.

No sooner than I did I felt a strong voice inside me, I’ve given everything you need already to accomplish what I have asked you to do”   Without even stopping to question where that was coming from I stepped back to my seat and waited for the rest of the event to continue.

That event still sticks with me.  Now it’s not that I’ve never had prayer for me since then or, of course, prayed for others but it does often seem like many Christians are waiting for something from God…an anointing…a movement… a revival?

I’m not ready yet Lord… i haven’t been “equipped”.  I need “more”…”

The only time I can remember Jesus say, “Wait” was in Acts 1 when he told the disciples to not go but to wait until the Holy Spirit was released to them and then they were to go.

Jesus has given us everything we need.  He gave us himself.  The work’s been done…but we often act as if it hasn’t been.

So I was scanning through some of the Christian news on the web and read where Lou Engle, an American evangelist, has just called for a 40 day ekballo fast.  He explains that ekballo is the Greek word for “driven” used in the Bible when Jesus was thrust into the desert to begin his ministry in fasting and overcoming Satan’s temptations.  Engle says he has moved to Pasadena, California to launch the initiative and call people to

join us in united prayer and fasting for the inauguration of a new era of revival and missions.

(Apparently the American version of “being thrust into the desert”…is Pasadena)

Why is it that Christians feel a need for a “new era of revival”?  Is the “new era” that Jesus instituted 2000 years ago by his crucifixion and resurrection not enough?

Prayer and fasting should certainly be a part of our discipleship, but Engle’s initiative seems laced with that “if / then” proposition.  If we “do” then God can “do”.  He states:

The Lord was groaning to bring forth a massive evangelism and missions movement. He was preparing an army to forcefully challenge hell but he could not do it until the disciples asked him—no, rather begged him—to thrust forth laborers…

…April 9 is the anniversary of Azusa Street. We must have a great revival and great harvest in America. And we must give ourselves to the great missionary program of Heaven for such a time as this.

Why does this sound less like making disciples of Jesus seeking to reflect his image and likeness, and more like a coach revving up the team for the big game on Sunday?

If you have been a Christian for more than ten years or so my guess is you are probably tired of being revved up. The big game is always around the corner!

* God is ready to release a fresh wave of his Spirit!

* We’re on the doorstep of a great revival!

* The Lord is preparing to expand our tent for the increase coming!

(and then sprinkle in a dash of guilt)

* And everyone should be doing their part or else it won’t happen

Tired of the working out on the evangelical treadmill that never ever stops?


I have something to share with you and his name is Jesus

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

We often don’t think of that scripture being directed to people inside the faith…but we should!

Hold on Steve…didn’t Jesus tell his his followers to pray for more harvesters because the harvest fields were heavy and ripe?

Yes, but that image often gets interpreted by people desiring a “new era in missions” as getting people to say a “sinners prayer” and then introducing them to how the treadmill works.

The context of the passage in Matthew 9 is Jesus’ compassion on weary people who are sick, confused, and wandering around like sheep without a shepherd.

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were wearyand scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Jesus’ compulsion for increased harvesters was his compassion for people…and you know what, Jesus needs a LOT more of his followers to me known for their compassion…an attribute that is not often associated with followers of Christ these days.

If we really want to see “revival” every Christian could start with loving God…and loving people

… oh, and hoping off the treadmill helps too!




  • Rupricht

    Well said, Steve. Not to deny that “times of refreshing” do come from the Lord, if we all realized that “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (Ps 19:7) we might be less inclined to be waiting around for an angel to stir the waters, like the sick at Bethesda, and more inclined to realize what we have everything we need to effect the transformation of lives, societies, the world.

  • Steve

    Thanks Rupricht. Yes, there are “times of refreshing” and pools of water during dry times. There are “seasons” as well…

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