We live in an age where revolution is in the air. This is not unusual; we have numerous instances of revolutionary fervor throughout history. When discontented and hasty fools band together in sufficient numbers, a revolt against the status quo is almost inevitable. The likelihood of achieving their intended end is questionable, because they didn’t think that far ahead, and probably have a thousand different definitions of what the intended end is.
Christians are not opposed to bloodshed in the cause of justice, liberty, and virtue; but largely have a history of overturning world powers without raising a sword. The Roman Empire was conquered by Christianity without the Christians raising a sword, while being violently slaughtered. Go figure that one out!
Many a young man, zealous for truth, neglects to understand that the word of God commands us to discern “what manner of spirit ye are of (Lk. 9:55)”. Passion and pride have had many a tryst in the souls of well-intentioned zealots, giving birth to their children: division, schism, dissensions, and murder. The fool is hasty for he knows not what. The godly man is hasty to obey God’s Word, which requires patiently waiting for the fruit of diligent study. Forests take longer to form than a thistle grove. All too often, godly young men are allured into the temptation of wanting to change the world in an instant, and instead they make the world miserable for everyone around them.
The desire for instant change will inevitably become idolatry if it is not rooted in the understanding that only the Holy Spirit of God can bring about such sweeping change. Elijah stacked and soaked the wood first, and only after God answered by fire did he slay the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Undisciplined young men, without self-control, want to honor God by slaying the prophets first, before they’ve done the seemingly menial tasks of chopping wood and then soaking it. Notice that judgement fell upon the prophets of Baal after God had answered by fire. God overcame insurmountable odds and circumstances, validated Elijah as His spokesman and then condemned and punished the murderous priestcraft of Baal worship. Elijah humbled himself and allowed God to speak for Himself, before he responded in obedience and compliance with God’s judgement.
Many a fool has been seduced by the whore of revolution. He thinks he is doing God’s work, but he has failed to have a teachable and humble spirit, and learn that there is a higher right than being right. Discipling the nations demands patience and long-suffering from us as believers; many young men replace discipling the nations with disgust and disdain for “those idiots”.
The nature of revolution and the nature of reformation couldn’t be more at odds with each other:
Revolution arouses our most violent passions.
Reformation requires that we exercise patience.
Revolution disregards restraint in its insistence upon immediate change.
Reformation uses restraint to tactically bring about strategic change.
Revolution intimidates into coercion.
Reformation informs & educates into agreement.
Revolution is the child discontentment and laziness.
Reformation is the child of wisdom and enterprise.
Revolution wants change through cataclysm.
Reformation wants change by degrees.
Revolution makes radical demands and then persecutes any dissidents.
Reformation debates its position and endeavors to persuade those who differ.
Revolution will have all now, and nothing in the end.
Reformation is willing to go without now, and get everything in the end.
Revolution is zeal without knowledge.
Reformation is a zealous application of knowledge.
Revolution can rely upon a momentary burst of fervor for an ambiguous goal.
Reformation is a slow, sustained exertion towards a clearly defined goal.
Revolution is flash paper.
Reformation is yeast in a lump of dough.
Revolution takes lives.
Reformation takes time.
Revolution rarely produces great works of art, beauty, architecture, or music.
Reformation…have you heard of Bach, Handel, Bunyan, Tolkien, Galileo?
Revolutions have generally only produced needless bloodshed.
Christian Reformations have given us the printing press, hospitals, pasteurized milk, vaccines, stable governments, & the Protestant work ethic.
Pride and folly will act hastily often bring about a godless revolutions; this results in the revolutionaries getting what they want, and realizing that’s not what they really wanted. So, this is a call to renewed prayer, as Christians, for revival and reformation. God brings revivals which invigorate reformation efforts, which sows the seeds for future revivals. Beware the revolutionary spirit, which boasts of man and his doing; revival and reformation can boast only in the Lord.