So my last blog sparked a discussion, mainly on my FaceBook wall in regards to what is revival, why it tarries, is an end times revival even Biblical and comments on how we usher in one or if we can at all. What started as a stirring in my spirit about the term revival has grown to a hunger to understand what it is we are really asking God for and what our role is in it.
Here are some thoughts or questions that I have about the topic:
- Revival is not a Biblical concept, it is not sought after by Jesus, the disciples or the early church.
- Are we seeking first revival instead of His kingdom and His righteousness?
- Do we limit our expectations when we pray for revival? One definition of revival is bringing back, or reviving that which is dead. This being the case, it is a reversion to a past condition. Doesn’t that limit our expectations to what we have already experienced and thus negate greater things?
- Revive what? Since revival is a bringing back from the dead or a refreshing, one has to first be alive or fresh. Have our churches experienced true life? What is the reversion we are looking for, in other words revive what? The former condition of the church? The former condition of all man before the fall? What are we asking for exactly?
- Is revival selfish? One definition of the word is – a refreshing. So we want God to refresh us, is that it? What about the lost? Another definition is to bring back that which was alive, by that definition revival begins and ENDS with the church as the unsaved have not been made alive spiritually, yet.
- What are we truly asking God for? A refreshing, an outpouring, an awakening? The lost to be saved, the sick healed, the dead raised? All of those things exist in a culture of the kingdom, but not necessarily in revival.
- Why not pray like Jesus taught us to? “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Will not the coming of His kingdom and will in our lives refresh us? Is it not His will for us to heal the sick, raise the dead and be resourced for our calling? It is also His will that none should perish which takes it out of just the realm of the church and brings in His compassion for the lost.
- Is revival temporary? Do we want to revive the last revival? Which one, Lakeland, Brownsville, the days of Finney or Lake? Why not instead ask for a sustainable environment or culture of the miraculous, His abiding presence, ongoing fruit in every area from healings and provision to repentance and disciple-making?
- What is our role in what we seek? Is revival brought about by our efforts? If so, is it formulaic? Do we pray and fast a revival in? Is it really dependant on us?
- Do we already have what we ask for? They tarried in the upper room waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, we already have Him. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us – what more do we need? “Go and I will be with you always.” We already have His promise of abiding presence. “These signs will follow them that believe…” Were we not sent forth already to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons? What else are we waiting for? Do we think we lack and that the Holy Spirit must come in MORE power?
When we closely examine the life of Jesus and we see the reflection of His teachings and actions lived out through the disciples in the early church it is hard to make a case that we lack anything! As His disciples, we are to DO what He DID! He demonstrated and taught the good news of the kingdom. The sick were healed, the dead were raised, provision was brought forth supernaturally, storms were calmed, fish were wrangled, wine was made and the oppressed set free. On top of all this many were brought to repentance as they experienced the kindness of God in this culture of the kingdom.
The entire discussion and the concepts/questions laid out here are vitally important for the purpose of clarity and expectation. What are we asking God for and what are we aligning our faith with? Is it what we need? Do we have it already? Could we be walking in an outpouring of the Spirit of God while instead we fast, pray and wait in our churches and houses of prayer? I wonder if those who are seeing the fruit that we all seek (missionaries in foreign lands for example) are praying for it day and night or if they are just walking in it.
Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near you.” In other words, change your thinking, you have access to the perfection of heaven, to pull it down to earth and see it manifest. Romans 12:2 says:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
If real, sustainable life transformation is what we seek, then Paul tells us to change, or renew our minds. Repentance in the case of Peter changed him in an instant from a fisherman to a follower of Christ, interesting how it happened AFTER he was given access to supernatural provision. Could it be as we step out in faith, with the power of the Holy Spirit that we already possess, we will demonstrate and teach the good news of the kingdom which will provide access to the perfection of heaven and cause repentance at the same time?