All too often, many of today’s Christians will experience a certain tugging at the heartstrings, for what appears to be a long overdue fulfillment of revival. They eagerly search for a particular event or noticeable movement someplace where the Holy Spirit is afresh at work. With earnest desire they want to be in the midst of where the fire is burning hottest. This often leads to various forms of jealousy, frustration or complacency within the body of believers as they realize there is a lacking of the Holy Spirit working in their midst.
I know what I’m talking about here, because truth be told, I’ve been there on more than one occasion. Reading of a particular revival or learning of a certain outpouring of the Holy Spirit at this church here or over at that church there. Heck, I want that! I want to experience what those folks got going on.
What’s amazing about all of this is just how much I didn’t know about revival. The issue for me was for most of my Christian life I hadn’t a clue of how revival transpires. Because I was always looking for where revival was happening, I missed out. Let me say that again: “Because I was so eager to find the event, the movement, the place where the roof was being blown off, I missed out!” Why? Why is that?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about revival is this: Revival begins with repentance!
Instead of my looking outward to an event, I should’ve been looking inward towards the evidence. The evidence that the Holy Spirit desired to convict me of the sins in my life, that were hindering my relationship with God and tarrying the very revival I so longed to experience.
The high an lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” Isaiah 57:15 NLT
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. Psalm 19:13 NLT
Perhaps far too many of us have been approaching revival all wrong. If I begin to approach revival as my personal responsibility to confess my sins, to seek the Holy Spirit to revive me, to light a fire in my life and then, one by one, those around me begin to do the same… well, we just might begin to experience revival in our homes, our churches, our communities, cities and our nation.
How glorious that would be… but first dear LORD, let it begin with me.