I grew up in the church and often heard about revivals that happened over the years in various places. Yet I never had a working definition for revival. Earlier this year I began asking the Lord to give me a better picture of revival, what it is, how it comes to us, and the impact it leaves in our lives.
To begin, let’s define revival. If I had to give a definition to revival it would be when the Kingdom of God breaks in upon our realities; it is when we are touched by the living God and our lives no longer remain the same.
In my study of revival I found out is that Revival requires three necessary ingredients.
- A Hunger for More of God
- Repentance & Humility
- Religious Stronghold Broken
Lets take some time to look at these three key ingredients for revival.
- A Hunger for More of God
When I think of a hunger for God I think of someone who wants God so much that he or she is willing to come to him regardless of what is in their life. We may have sins and regrets but we push past the shame and condemnation of those things to come to God; we may be nervous about being seen by God but we come anyway.
A hunger for more of God brings us beyond ourselves and we seek Him out. We no longer hide and we are ready to reveal our whole hearts to the Lord while we wait expectantly for him to reveal himself to us.
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9
“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Matthew 5:6
We must ask ourselves, how hungry are we for God, how thirsty are we for Him?
A hunger for more of God brings us past our need to make things right before we come to him. Instead, we learn to bring ourselves to the Lord even in our sin. We do not hide our sin, cover it up, try to do away with it ourselves, but we become quick to be turned back to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we fear, doubt, worry, are in dismay and discouragement, a hunger for more of God has us turned to Him even at these times, especially at these times. And as we keep turned toward Jesus we come to be known by him and to know him better.
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like him as we are changed into this glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
And as we remain turned to Jesus, hungry for more of God we, by our hearts action, renounce the shame and the condemnation that the enemy would have us under. We, like Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) despise the shame and refuse to have it keep us bound to ourselves — we live free unto the Lord.
- Repentance & Humility
We may think that repentance is only for those people out there. But repentance is a call to the body of Christ to intercede and to lead the way forward on behalf of our communities and nations. As the body of Christ takes the responsibility for the sins of their own lives, but then for the sins of their communities and nations, we become salt and light for this world.
This is an incredible invitation by God himself to participate in the coming of the Kingdom of God to this earth.
“But if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
We must remain bowed to the Lord in our spirits, hearts, and minds. We must continue to know our need before the Lord. We must live with a heart that is eager to acknowledge our wrong before the Lord.
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drink the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine, they say.’” Luke 5:37-39
In this passage the new wine is the fresh move of God through the work of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit personally and intimately through each person. The wineskins are us as people.
Jesus is saying that if we want to contain this new movement and work of Jesus Christ that we must become new wineskins. We must become new in Him or we will not be able to contain all that God has for us.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24
It is incumbent upon the body of Christ to lead the way in repentance and humility for repentance is the key to our own freedom and is the key to releasing the spirit of the living God into our communities and for the transformation of our nations. As each one of us comes in repentance we do our part and we participate in this coming of the Kingdom of God to earth.
- Religious Spirits must be Broken
Lastly, religious spirits must be broken. The things of our lives that reflect religion must be renounced and broken off of our own lives and off of our communities and ultimately our nations.
Now, for many of us who have been in church a long time we may not be able to discern the difference between religion and the gospel of Christ. Unfortunately, we have within our churches often taken on elements of religion. So, let’s look at the difference between religion and Jesus.
Religion says “Try harder.” — Jesus says, “Enter into my rest.”
Religion says, “Be perfect.” — Jesus says, “I am making all things new.”
Religion says, “You must always and forever more bring a Sacrifice.”
Jesus says, “I AM YOUR SACRIFICE.”
The gospel of Jesus is simple:
- receive Christ
- rest in him
- be the light of Christ
Yet it is so simple that we often complicate it in our quest to be more sophisticated. The gospel needs nothing more added to it and we must be careful that we are not coming back under a spirit of law and condemnation.
Paul in Galatians is strongly warning against this very thing:
“Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law it condemned me. So I died to the law — I stopped trying to meet all its requirements — so that I might live for God.” Galatians 2:18-19
“But those who depend on the laws to make them right with God are under his curse.” Galatians 3:10
“This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, ‘It is through obeying the law that a person has life. But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.” Galatians 3:12-13
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1
To remain in the work of Christ is to be diligent against anything that is of religion. We are called not into a religion of rights and wrongs but into a living relationship with God whereby, by his Spirit and by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, we are freed unto living.
The world is chock-full of religions, all of which are demanding penance and paying dues and making sacrifices, but Jesus comes and frees us from this.
I am convinced that the wide way (Matthew7:13-14) that Jesus says many will find, is religion, and that the narrow way that few find is this relationship, grace, and freedom with Jesus. We want to be people of the narrow way.
It is hard to rest in the work of Jesus Christ. It is not in our nature to stop trying so hard and to trust someone else and the work they have done. Yet, this is the invitation implicit within the gospel — Jesus says come to me and I will give you rest.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Revival is a call and an invitation to every single one of us to enter anew into the rest of the Lord Jesus Christ. Revival is a call to stop trying so hard and to begin resting in Jesus and the work he did on our behalf.