“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19
Revival. It’s a term we don’t hear much anymore. It used to be that a church would gather each evening for a week to worship, listen to stirring music, and engage in an inspiring message from Scripture, with the result of hopefully restoring the spiritual fire in the individual, the church, and in the community. It was a time to return to the things of God. History has shown that times of revival not only renewed the focus of the church and society to what was true, but it also was known to draw many people into a new relationship with their Creator.
Today, our culture has drifted away from revival meetings. With the busy lifestyles of today’s family, it seems we have lost sight of the importance of stepping back and refocusing on the things of God. What used to be a week of meetings was later reduced to three nights to accommodate our busyness. And now, we seem to have erased it altogether. We don’t see revivals taking place like we used to. It is definitely becoming, and has become in many places, a forgotten tradition. But from all I can see, the need is still present, and seems to be a much stronger need than I can ever remember. I say that, because I sense it in my own life.
I received an email last week from a missionary friend who is serving in Papua New Guinea. In his email he shared a devotional thought from James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Church. In this devotion, pastor MacDonald shares ten things to look for in our lives that precipitate the need for revival. He says revival is needed when:
- My prayer life ceases to be a vital part of my life.
- My quest for Biblical truth ceases and I become content with the knowledge of Scripture already obtained.
- I have family, friends, and co-workers who are headed for a Christ-less eternity and eternal separation from God, but that fact ceases to move me to action.
- I do not rejoice in the blessings of God upon others, but struggle secretly with envy and resentment.
- Aspirations for Christ-like holiness cease to dominate my life and thinking. “I want to be more like Christ. I want to be more like Christ.” When that ceases to dominate my thinking, revival is needed.
- I can hear the Lord’s name used in vain, and I am not offended.
- I can listen to spiritual things mocked and eternal things flippantly treated and not be moved to indignation.
- I can watch degrading movies and television and read morally inappropriate literature and not be deeply grieved in my heart and shut it off and walk away.
- I find more delight in the promotion of discord than in working for unity and harmony among the Lord’s people.
- Injustice and human misery exist all around me and I do nothing to relieve it.
As I reflected on that list, I realized that more than ever, in our homes, our communities, and in our churches, we need revival. But the truth is, we don’t necessarily need more meetings, we need a stirring of God’s spirit in our own lives. Many times that will come in times of worship as a collective church, and that’s quite possibly what our culture needs, but sometimes that comes in personal, intimate times with Jesus Christ and His word. It comes by getting serious with ourselves, recognizing where we are and having the courage to turn away from our current direction in life and realign our focus to that which is true and right. I don’t know about you, but in my life, I need revival. I need a freshness in my spirit that will only come from personal reflection, personal repentance, and a new accountability to my Savior.
God, would you send revival to my spirit today? Breathe your life into me and realign my heart to chase hard after you. After you begin it in my life, may it spread to my family, my church and my community. We need you more than ever. Amen.