God speaks. People listen. God leads. People follow. This is how history describes revival. People in the Church often say they want revival—the problem is that they do not know what they are asking for! People want an event to go to, a cheap thrill, a low calorie, no cholesterol, watered down imitation. Christians want a cross with no splinters or spikes. Revival is open heart surgery for the damaged heart. Revival stings. When we come into the presence of God we cannot remain unchanged! Let us realize that we need the surgery that only God’s scalpel can bring. Let us be changed so that we can begin changing this world around us.
The Psalmist prayed, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalms 85:6—NIV) This is the cry of one who wanted God’s people to come alive to God’s grace and power. This is what revival is all about—the restoration of something to its true nature and purpose. Scripture reveals nine characteristics of revival.
1) Deep spiritual decline. No one would argue that our world and the Church fit into this category.
2) Revival begins in the hearts of God’s servants. Will we return to God and be what He wants us to be? Will we become the flint and steel that God uses in starting the fire that melts and purifies the hearts of this generation?
3) Revival begins with a bold preaching of God’s word. Will you pray for your minister to boldly preach and lead in God’s word? Will you accept and spread that word as it is preached?
4) Return to the genuine worship of God. We get so worked up about the ornaments of worship that we forget to worship God! Revival returns God to the center of worship and our lives!
5) There is a destruction of idols. What idol are we bowing to? We all have sacred cows that need to be sacrificed to God!
6) There is a deep sense of sin. We cannot be crusading over someone else’s sin until we get on our own knees and confess our own sin. Let us put aside the sin that entangles us.
7) A return to blood sacrifices. When was the last time we really sacrificed for God? When was the last time we placed our lives on God’s altar and cried out for Jesus’ blood?
8) A return to unbounded joy and radiant gladness. There is no room for sour pusses at God’s feast. Revival brings joy!
9) Revival is the basis for prosperity and productivity. We cannot be productive as God’s workers until we return to the jobs God has given us.
For the next few weeks this column will focus on Revivals found in the Bible. It is my prayer that we will be used of God to start a Revival in this church, this town and this world!