As I journey through a vocational transition from formal ministry into creating art for a means of livelihood, my heart is drawn to the subject of revival. I’m feeling an increased hunger for God in this time of change. Perhaps part of it is that we have to trust Him in new ways. Our routines have changed. Our source of income has changed and will no doubt have a lot of ups and downs. There are questions about the future and what direction we should turn. I’m impacted and comforted by the devotional writings of Mrs. Charles E. Cowman who reminds us, “There is no way of learning faith except by trial. It is God’s school of faith.” And so, evidently I am in school again. This time of change is producing a growing yearning for the things of God.
I picked up a copy of “Seeking Him” by DeMoss and Grissom, a workbook that explores personal revival. We are reminded, “In times of personal or corporate revival, God’s people experience His presence and power in ways previously missing from their lives and to degrees never thought possible. A revived church is the greatest means of making God’s great redemptive plan known throughout the world.”
The history of widespread revival teaches us four things. First, individuals and groups of believers are quick to confess all known sin. It’s not about pride or saving face anymore. A brush with the supernatural makes us want to get all the mess confessed. God knows all about it anyway. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Celebrate Recovery is big on helping its participants to understand that we can’t walk the road of spiritual growth alone. We need God and we need each other. This need includes sharing our life stories with others and being real and transparent about where we’ve messed up. Some people with the biggest most genuine smiles in the world have told me that they have nothing left to hide and now feel an enormous sense of freedom. Confession does just that.
Next revival says we have to put away our nagging doubt and forgive those who have wronged us, and anyone else we have grown to resent. Several Easters ago, our church presented three doors participants could choose to walk through at the end of the service. The door that said “forgiveness” was the busiest corridor. We as human beings struggle with forgiveness. Resentment is universal. Yet, these things are the keys that opens up so much in life, affecting our attitudes,ways we relate with people, solve problems and work through conflict.
With revival there is an obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We have to be able to hear that still small voice. In our busy lives it is easy to drown that voice out. I’m not the most technical person in the world and I do not have a sophisticated cell phone. Many times I have had the ringer hoping to hear the phone in my purse or coat pocket, but have been so busy or noisy that I have missed plenty of calls. Missing the Holy Spirit’s promptings because of the noise of our lives is commonplace, I believe. I’m sure I’ve missed many calls being preoccupied with other matters. For revival to take place individually and together, that listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit is a non-negotiable.
And last, in a time of revival, there are many who publicly declare that Jesus Christ is their Savior. It is an inevitable consequence of the pouring out of the Spirit. People are irresistibly drawn to the person of Christ and experience the ‘new birth’ talked about in the Scriptures. One becomes a new creation with a new life, a new future and a new hope.
Does the thought of revival stir your heart as it does mine?
DeMoss writes, “We believe that the God of the Scriptures, the God who displayed His glory in the great awakenings of the past, is the same God we worship today. He has not changed. He is no less able to turn the heart of a nation today than He was 100 years ago!”