Do It God’s Way is a blog about revival .
 
 

Life Without Revival

One may as well reject God altogether as to reject the all-consuming work of the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit’s active disposition brings about such a change in the heart and mind of the child of God that the secular man stands in disbelief of what his eyes are seeing.  The work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is so extensive and far-reaching that he himself stands in complete awe of what is happening in his own life!  The starting point for this remarkable work is none other than the moment of salvation, that point at which a person realizes his miserable condition of being stuck in sin and his only way escape is the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  It is at this point that the Holy Spirit indwells and regenerates the believer.  This is a wonderful and solemn event that only God could conceive of and accomplish!

This single act of regeneration makes occasion for another long-lasting labor that is performed in us by the Holy Spirit.  This is the labor of exhortation, the exposing of sin while at the same time encouraging change.  It is a process that we call sanctification.  This is the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin in our life and the resulting decision made on our behalf to change in effort to become more like the creation God intended us to be.  He made us in His own image; and sin was not included in this making.  We are the ones that commit this gruesome act of sin; and the Holy Spirit dwells within us to help us purge it from our lives. 

This is the process of revival.  It is a process that God has used from the time of the first sin:  conviction of sin, followed by change in our life.  God has used this method in every dispensation of time since The Age of Innocence.  The judges, the prophets, the Theocracy of Israel, all set up by God in effort to convey His truth to His own prodigal creation, humankind. 

We now live in The Age of Grace, the time in which God relates directly with His prize of creation through a personality of Himself that we call the Holy Spirit.  This Holy Spirit is as much God as The Father on the throne and Christ at The Father’s own right hand.  This is the same Holy Spirit that empowered the Apostles at Pentecost to speak in languages unknown to them to relay God’s message to a mass of people from around the known world.  This is the same Spirit that used men to heal sicknesses and perform miracles to prove the power of God through the blood of Christ.  This Holy Spirit lives within us to bring about the change that we so desire. 

But He cannot bring this change without our consent.  The Holy Spirit cannot work in our life unless we are completely committed to making the necessary changes that He is urging us to make.  To push against the ensuing conviction of sin is to reject the work of Holy Spirit, which is a most deplorable sin in and of itself.  Over time, we no longer have to push against the Holy Spirit.  It becomes easier to ignore His subtle promptings to change our life; and our heart is hardened against anything good, pure, and holy.  We forget altogether about the new man that was created when the act of regeneration took place.  The Holy Spirit still abides within, but He is grieved.  He desires warmth, but only coldness comes His way.  He wants to exhort, but He is not allowed to open His mouth.  He wants to help, but He is ignored. 

This is life without revival.  It is making decisions using our own sin-filled mind; it is struggling to understand the troubles of life with our own feeble wisdom.  It is never knowing for sure what is true. 

It is life…without hope.

The world is foul, dreadful, and wretched.  It is ruled by The Prince of the Power of the Air; and he is the most appalling and ghastly creature ever conceived.  He only seeks to devour, destroy, and devastate.  A life without hope is a life that seeks advice and guidance from him.  He is called Satan, the Devil, the Devourer, Lucifer, the Wicked One, the Tempter, the Thief, the Son of Perdition, and the Ruler of the Darkness of this World.  To shun the Holy Spirit’s work is to welcome this epitome of evil into our life. 

This is the reason we are told in 2 Peter 1 to “Add to your faith….”  Regeneration is a starting point, not the end itself.  We are to build our character upon our faith.  Virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, Godliness, brotherly kindness, and finally love are all the traits to strive for in our life. 

Ephesians 2:22-24—“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

These verses make it very clear that the choice is ours.  Do we ignore or embrace?  Which would we rather have, a life filled with hope and blessing, or a life filled with envy and hate?

It was at Shechem where the great military leader Joshua gathered the people of Israel together to speak some most important words.  Near the end of his speech, he gave a command, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.”  Up until this point, the people were wishy-washy and Joshua was calling for a decision to be made.  And the decision was simple:  serve God and live or serve other gods and die.  For to live without God is death.

The revival that is brought to us through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit is exactly what our feeble bodies and minds need!  We need it daily to continue to “press toward the mark.” (Philippians 3:14) We need it to keep our hearts tender, and to smash the arrows that are hurled toward us.  And we need it to fulfill our purpose for being here, to evangelize the lost of the world and to make disciples of all nations!

 

Biblical Perspective on Revival

From the time of the first temptation, man has been stuck in what is commonly known as “The Cycle of Sin”:  sin, suffering, supplication, salvation.  It is a pattern that has been repeated from the beginning of time and it is heavily illustrated in the book of Judges.  This pattern can be observed in the lives of numerous Bible characters such as Abraham, David, and many others.  It can be seen in several local first century churches that Paul and Peter wrote to in the New Testament.  Many of the prophets talked about this cycle as they declared the word of the Lord to an Israelite population that did not want to hear it, let alone repent. 

For thousands of years, countless believers have been trapped in this cycle, living lives as they see fit, only calling upon the Lord when life gets rough.  Is this all the Christian life was meant to be?  Is this the best we can hope for in this life?  Or can the pattern be overcome? 

Has God not called us to something higher?  Has God not commanded us to live holy lives?  Does God not expect us to honor Him in all that we do?  If we did what was expected of us, would we not do better for ourselves?

This cycle does not fit the character of God.  It does not agree with His plan. It does not help us fulfill the Great Commission Jesus Christ gave to us before ascending into Heaven. 

Jehovah God is holy, just, and righteous.  He reigns supreme over everything.  And He does not set us up for failure.  In fact, He does just the opposite!  He gives us everything we need to live exactly as He has commanded!  First, He eternally saved us from the punishment of our sin.  Second, He gave us His word to guide us through this life.  And third, He sent His Holy Spirit to be a sounding board and a comforter as we make our way through.

The cycle of sin is not a Biblical truth; it is more properly viewed as an illustration of God’s faithfulness and love for us.  When we examine this cycle, we force ourselves to focus on ourselves.  Sin, suffering, supplication, salvation; these are all words that cause us to look at ourselves through our own eyes.  If we look at the cycle from God’s perspective, we see something very different!  Straying, consequences, repentance, peace; these are all words that a parent might use to describe the cycle a strong-willed child goes through!

In Malachi 3, there is a clear message of repentance that is proclaimed.  God’s promise of peace and care that will follow this repentance is astounding:

 

“And prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.”—Malachi 3:10-11

 

This is a clear promise of peace, harmony, and prosperity if the people would simply repent.  God wants to care for and bless His people.  He does not want them to suffer.

“Repentance” and “Peace”.  Two words that describe one event…revival.  Throughout history, there have been times when man has turned from his wicked ways and sought the Lord Almighty.  But why must revival be an event?  Romans 12:1-2 make it clear that revival is a way of life.  We are to present our bodies “a living sacrifice”.  We are to renew our mind so that we may accomplish God’s “perfect will”.  This transformation is to happen daily, constantly, consistently as we work our way through this life with the Holy Spirit as our guide.  Philippians 3 urges us to “press toward the mark”, as we forget the past and look to the future. 

When we pray for revival to take place, amazing things happen!  But what exactly are we praying for?  Are we praying for a mass revival of all believers across the country or globe?  Are we praying for a miracle tent revival of old, with an evangelist like Billy Sunday holding the banner?  Or are we praying for a daily revival of our own heart, will, and mind? 

Are we looking forward to what God has for us in the future?  Are we able to forget our own past sins and mistakes as well as the sins and mistakes of others?  Revival was never meant to be an event; it was meant to be a way of life.  It is how we are to climb the hill of sanctification; it is how we are to defend against the wiles of the devil himself.  Daily revival allows God room enough in our hearts to accomplish grand things for the expansion of His kingdom.