Sincere spiritual leadership can produce only the appearance of revival, never its reality. Stirring music and passionate preaching, though good, have no power in themselves to change what is wrong in people. Only death destroys evil. Only death opens the door to resurrection, to a new way to live. Without the Holy Spirit’s work, our “exciting” religious gatherings (and the boring ones too) do little that excites the heart of God. He wants us to see beneath appearances to the problem that only the Son can solve.
Surface change is often mistaken for deep change. When the medication of exciting worship and inspiring preaching relieves the symptoms of sin, the need for the surgery of brokenness is no longer recognized.
If we “follow Jesus,” believing that instruction, discipline, and inspiration are enough to keep us on track, we will see Jesus as merely our “religious cheerleader,” and not the holy Savior we so desperately need.