I wrote this in my second year in Bible School, I was about 20 at the time. It’s a long one so enjoy the ride ;)
Many people think that revival is a church thing, it happens in a building, it is limited to some kind of conference or it is just for a period of time. At least that is what I thought for a long time. Yes there are revival meetings that do take place in a building and end at a certain time and the church does need them. But revival is not limited to a meeting with a song and a microphone. And you know what? You are the church and it is you who need revival. Revival doesn’t start as a corporate revival an then it becomes personal; Revival starts being a personal revival and then it becomes a corporate revival. It is you crying out for revival that will cause others to cry out. It takes one person who experienced revival personally, who takes it and carries it everywhere to shake churches, cities and nations with the power of God.
What does revival even mean?
Even as a Christian I did not know what revival actually is and what it means. In the natural I knew but not in the spiritual. It is interesting though that many things in the natural are a type and shadow of the spiritual. To get a better understanding I looked the word “revival” up in a dictionary. This is what the Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary says: “Revival. The act of reviving, or the state of being revived. Specifically: (a) Renewed attention to something, as to letters or literature. … Renewed interest in religion, after indifference and decline; a period of religious awakening; special religious interest. (d) Reanimation from a state of langour or depression; – applied to the health, spirits, and the like. (e) Renewed pursuit, or cultivation, or flourishing state of something, as of commerce, arts, agriculture. (f) Renewed prevalence of something, as a practice or a fashion […]. This is not even a biblical explanation of revival, but you can already see that revival concerns many different areas of life and it has many aspects to it. So does the spiritual revival. What I understood in the natural was that you cannot revive something that never lived. Only God can create life and He was the One who created us as Spirit beings that live in a human body. The Bible says that if we don’t have the Spirit of God we are not of God (Romans 8:9). So there is a difference between revival and bringing something to life.
Does God want you to have revival?
God’s original plan for us was to live like Adam and Eve; who had no sin and who were supposed to live forever in the presence of God. But the moment they ate from the Tree of Good and Evil they experienced spiritual death. The Word says that all mankind died in Adam, but because that is not God’s will for us we shall all be made alive through the last Adam, which is Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:23). By accepting Jesus we are being born again of the Spirit. Being born again and being revived is not the same thing though. The Bible says that the natural man does not understand the things of God, they are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14) and revival is one of the “things” of God. So revival is an experience only born again believers, who are the church of Christ, can and must have. You see that there is a difference between evangelizing the lost and reviving a church. Nevertheless it is so essential to revive the churches because revival will always cause the people to go outside the four walls of the church and bring in the lost. The problem is that many churches want revival not knowing what revival actually means. Or they have preconceived ideas about how God is going to move. They want the signs and wonders and the blessings but they are not willing to do anything for it. People expect that God moves in there lives but they forget that God’s promises are always conditional. So when revival actually happens they do not really want it, because they realize what it takes to maintain it and that it will cause them to step outside of their comfort zone. What ends up happening is that people are getting touched by God but they don’t do anything with it. Those people will never have true revival because the Bible says when you ask and don’t receive it is because you ask wrongly (James 4:3). They might get a taste of revival but that is about it. And just tasting it will just make people more miserable because they saw what they can have but they didn’t grab a hold of it and they end up in depression. So the biggest problem is fear. Fear of what people might think or say about them. You have to choose if you want to be acceptable to God or to men. My question is though: What did man do for you so that you want to be acceptable to them? Comparing to what God has done for you, why would you choose men over Him? If you would just remember what God has done for you, if you would just think about what Jesus has gone through for you, how can you even hesitate to do what He tells you to do? How can you be ashamed of the One that died for you?
How can you have revival?
If you are just willing, God will raise you up to do mighty works for Him. God wants people who are totally unashamed to do what He calls them to do. People who are willing to pay the price even if it might cost you everything. God payed the highest price for us. He payed with the precious blood of His Son. How do you show your regard for that? Churches need to be prepared so that when revival comes it is going to last. It takes people who are hungry and thirsty for the deeper things of God and who are willing to be completely changed. It is so important to realize that revival begins in the heart of a consecrated individual and it never ends if you obey the will of God. Revival mustn’t just stay a personal experience. Revival is a message that comes straight from heaven and if this message is not being proclaimed it is useless. Now whenever the Word of God is preached there is going to be persecution and affliction. Jesus said clearly that the world will hate us (John 15:18) and John said we should not even be surprised about it (1 John 3:13). This is what keeps so many Christians from fulfilling their call. But why should it even bother us what the world thinks if we are not even of this world any longer? The Bible even says that if we try to be friends with the world we make ourselves enemies of God which is considered adultery (James 4:4). That means we are cheating on God if we still have compromises in our lives. And as long as you have compromises in your life your spirit man will feel miserable because you cannot step into the fullness of God. Revival has to do with your spirit and your spiritual condition. Your spirit man constantly needs to be revived because the enemy will constantly try to kill your spirit man by penetrating your flesh, mind and emotions. The revival of the Spirit means completely die to yourself, die to the world and kill your flesh. And by killing your flesh I don’t just mean to crucify it. You speak in authority over you flesh, you beat it up, whip it with the Word of God, nail it to the cross, take it off the cross and burn it, then take the ashes and through them into the sea where they get lost for ever. And if the devil comes against you like a flood, and the world comes against you and you walk through the fire and you feel like breaking you will yield to the Spirit and not to the flesh. The flesh will just gross you out and you will feel sick whenever your flesh rises up. This is how it feels when the Holy Spirit has the complete control over you. When you are at that place you will stay strong in faith and the Holy Spirit will give you the strength to be an overcomer in any situation (Ephesians 3, 16). Be prepared and be ready, because as soon as you take this revival and run with it, the enemy comes in because now you are getting dangerous. And the enemy will try anything to take you out. But greater is the One that is in you than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4)! So what do you have to do if you find yourself in times of affliction? David was going through that and he prayed to the Lord to let His salvation set him on high and he praised and thanked God. He also said that the humble will be glad and those who seek God should let their hearts be revived (Psalm 69).
How do you revive your heart?
Revival has to do with your heart and your heart attitude. David had a heart after God, he had a humble heart. You have to seek God; that means you have to get into the presence of God. The only way to come to God is in humility. So only a humble person is able to enter into the presence of God. And the Bible says that God will lift up the humble (Psalm 147:6). How does He do that? He revives your heart by restoring your first love. You have to fall in love with Jesus over and over again, because the devil will try everything to make you fall out of love with Jesus. But if you fall out of love with Jesus you will lose your joy. Revival is returning to what you first had, returning to your first love. Always remind yourself of God’s love and how much you love Him. Ask yourself: how do I show God that I love Him? David worshiped the Lord and magnified Him with thanksgiving. Jesus says that if we love Him we will keep His commandments (John 14:21). That means we have to submit to His Word. The Word is the foundation of your life and the foundation of ministry. If you build on anything else but the Word you will fail. Without the Word you will preach your opinion and you will be flaky and you will mess up many peoples lives. You are only safe if you stay in the Word. And the Word will keep your heart right and submissive to God. Your spirit is what connects you to God and your heart is what connects you to people. Both work together. The Bible says to keep your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4, 23). And life consists out of relationship with people. You cannot allow anything that is not from God to drop in your heart. Especially not offense. Offense will develop roots and cause bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart and unforgiveness is a terrible thing. Jesus said if you do not forgive, God will not forgive you (Matthew 6:15), which means you lose your salvation and go to hell. So never ever pick up offense. You might have a reason but you do not have the right. God has given you a new heart because if you pick up offense you are polluting the heart that God has given you. Moreover if there is something in your heart that does not love God you are breaking the first commandment that says: love God with all your heart. Offense is not from God, so do not give room for it in your heart. You have to get past your point of offense because it will hinder you from stepping into the blessing. It is like a rock that sits right at the doorway to your breakthrough. I think the greatest example for this is the story about Jesus and the Canaanite woman. She was crying out to Jesus because she needed a miracle. At first Jesus totally ignored her. But instead of getting offended she kept crying out to Him. Then Jesus even called her a dog, but she still didn’t pick up offense, instead she humbled herself even more calling Him master and herself a dog who just waits for a crumb to fall from the masters table. And Jesus gave her what she asked for because of her great faith that came out of a humble heart. There was not a bit of pride in her, no self-righteousness, but pure humility. She did not account her life of any value. So did Paul, who said that he served the Lord with all humility and tears and trials and his life is not precious to him so that he can finish his course, the ministry of Jesus with joy (Acts 20:19-24). Yes ministry is hard work and you will cry and you will break but you will not be moved and you will be strong in faith so that you are acceptable to God.
How will revival affect you?
Revival has also to do with your mind. You have to have the mind of Christ. The only way to get the mind of Christ is to renew your mind through the Word of God (Eph 4:23). You will start to see things differently and you will know how to discern what is from God and what is not. God will many times provoke your mind to reveal what is in your heart. Often times our mind turns into a war zone. Doubt and unbelief come against our faith and we fight against wrong thoughts. When God speaks to you your natural mind cannot understand what He is saying. Your mind cannot grasp it, is not logical or even totally crazy. We cannot always understand God, He is way to big and complex but we can trust God. So if God tells you to do something, do it and do not try to figure out how it is gonna work because you can’t. This is where faith comes in. And God will give you the faith and the Spirit will give you the strength. Revival never takes place without the supernatural power of God. You have to have the power of God or you will fail. With great power comes great responsibility. And you will have to pay a price and you will have to make sacrifices. But no price that is payed for God has ever been in vain. God will always reward you and he will bless you beyond your imagination. And you will see how God moves in your life and how He will affect many peoples lives through you.
Why do you need revival?
Generally said, revival is a place where God moves. If you want to have revival in your life you have to let God move in every area of your life! You must have revival to be a useful vessel for God. You must have revival all the time so that you don’t burn out in ministry. You have to cry out for revival, pray to God to revive you and He will. Throw yourself into prayers, remind yourself of your first love, thank God and worship Him at all times. Give the Holy Spirit complete control over you and you will see how the fire of God will destroy everything in you that is not of Him. This is exactly what I did when I started the second year of Bible School. I prayed and I asked God to show me the things in my heart that are not of Him. And guess what I found out, God answers prayer. It is not fun to go through the fire, it is a very painful process but you have to go through it. It was pretty shocking for me to see what came out of my heart when I was being squeezed. But you have to deal with the impurities of your heart you cannot ignore it; be repentive and humble, because you cannot have a release before you went through the fire. Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary says that “relief” means “to cool off” and you cannot cool off before you have been hot. Now that I was confronted with these things and correction was brought to me and I pulled it out before it could develop any roots, I feel really happy that my heart is purified. Every time I go through this process I experience a new peace and freedom. And every time I rise up as a stronger person and reach a new level in faith. But you cannot just be content with a touch. You must have this life changing encounter with God. Moses has never been the same after his burning bush experience. Paul was completely transformed after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. They had an encounter with the living God. And you can have an encounter with the same God. The same God that is now living in your heart. He speaks to you, and when He does you have no doubt about it. You will be changed and you will never be the same again. Do whatever it takes to have revival, because that is what will keep you alive. I thought it is really powerful what the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary says about the word revive: “(חיה, châyâh) […] to revive: - keep (leave, make) alive, X certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (X God) save (alive, life, lives), X surely, be whole.” You need revival to be whole! What amazed me even more is the meaning of the actual word revival: “(ἀνάψυξις, anapsuxis); properly a recovery of breath, that is, (figuratively) revival: - revival.” If you do not have revival you will suffocate spiritually. In Isaiah 57:15-16 God says that he revives the Spirit of the humble ones and the hearts of contrite ones, because He does not want to see the Spirit (or the breath of life) fail that He has given us. Even if we mess up, God is always faithful to forgive us and He will keep us in His will. We serve an amazing God.
...unless you want to tell me something really flaky, please don't ;)