I know a man who prays. He does not just pray for a few minutes, but long periods and often. One might think he prays too much—but is there such a thing? The fact is, wherever the man preaches, a powerful revival occurs. Conviction and desire to be nearer to God sweeps over people in the meeting place. People come to the altar benches to weep and repent. Other ones are sitting in the pew/chairs weeping.
Sadly, leaders do not want the man to minister in their meetings. One pastor remarked that he did not want anything like that to occur because he could not maintain it afterward. He would rather not have revival than allow the Holy Spirit to change in him whatever was necessary to keep the revival fire burning. Thus, although they could witness a mighty revival, the leaders rejected the man and other ones like him. They attempt to create false revivals by sensationalism that does not require change. In the process, they kill any chance of countering the increasing apostasy.
What present leaders and most of the attendees in church meetings want is the power and excitement of revival without the conviction that compels them to repent. They want the refreshing of their relationship with God without changing their filthy garments stained by the World System. They wish to maintain their compromise with the flesh and also have their period of spirituality on Sunday morning. Desiring a revival of emotion by stimulated adrenaline glands is an invitation for deception. Believing that a week of repentance and commitment is revival is a weak premise. Anything that arrives one week and is gone the following week is a farce.
The fact is, every Believer that intends to become intimate with and faithful to God must daily wash his or her spirit with the word of God and prayer. There will not be a genuine revival without prayer. No evangelist with a notebook of sermons and a contrived delivery can cause a revival. The desire has to be born in the heart by prayer. Revival is a shake up, wake up, put up or shut up by opening up to the commanding presence of the Holy Spirit. If a pastor or congregation wants a genuine revival, they must pray, repent, and cry out for it like they would for deliverance from bondage. A revival-less people are in bondage. Something or someone has deceived them and stripped their spirits of the joy of the Lord. Like Adam and Eve, they are hiding in the shrubs from the One they were once in loving fellowship with.
Make no mistake about it—there is a great apostasy in Christianity. It exists because the majority of people want it to exist. It arrived because the majority of professing Christians incrementally reduced their relationships with God until they developed a comfortable blend of religion with the World System. As Christ declares, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Soaking one’s spirit in “sanctified” worldiness, and expecting religious hoopla to replace the emptiness, is a deception. Excitement can be generated by numerous religious means, including demonstrative preaching. However, excitement and emotionalism may or may not be a physical response to the Holy Spirit. True revival will break one’s heart before it overwhelms him or her with joy.
One will know that he or she has encountered the Holy Spirit when He comes inside to remain. He is not a spiritual substance that comes and goes when the “worship band” is playing. He does not arrive, make us shout, dance, feel good, and then depart. The Holy Spirit did not come into the Upper Room to bring a temporary experience to the 120 hungry souls. Peter did not bubble with excitement and swoon until it subsided. He preached and then kept on preaching until years later when he was crucified upside down.
No one is going to be revived until he or she is committed to genuine and permanent change. It will be inconvenient change—change that requires him or her to surrender things that his or her flesh defiantly refused to yield to the fire. Before the Holy Spirit is through with genuinely surrendered individuals, they will appear as legalists with holy joy. However, a legalist is miserably in bondage to rules. A revived Believer is joyfully a prisoner of love—a grateful slave of righteousness.
In this time of great apostasy, a genuine revival will separate you from most professing Christians. They will become uneasy around you. They are unwilling to consider that they may be compromised and carnal, Instead, they will believe that you are too dogmatic, too fanatical, and have taken God’s word too literally. Eventually, they will accuse you of being harsh, unloving, and negative. You know that you have truly gone past the straight gate and are on the narrow path when they accuse you of being self-righteous and pharisaical for speaking God’s truth and exhorting them to repent.
The most difficult step in revival is repentance. There cannot be genuine repentance until the Holy Spirit’s anointed message is accepted. The message cannot be accepted until one is willing to make a full surrender to God. One cannot make a full surrender to God until he or she is willing to admit that he or she is a rebel. One cannot admit that he or she is a rebel until he or she accepts conviction. Conviction cannot be accepted until he or she stops blaming and accusing the messenger because the message irritates him or her spirit. He or she will not cease accusing the messenger unless he or she is willing to die to his or her flesh and live for God. That is not going to happen until he or she hungers and thirsts for righteousness. The hunger and thirst will not manifest as long as people stuff their spirits will the offerings of the World System and apostate Christianity.
Let us realize and accept the clear and unvarnished truth. If people enter eternal hell, it will not be because they were overwhelmed by Satan, defeated, and captured by him. It will be because they no longer wished to tolerate what God’s light and Holy Spirit was doing to them. They reached the point that the change was too great a compromise of their settled comfortable religiosity. They longed to be “normal” in a time when apostasy and blessing with the World System became the new “normal.” The cost of discipleship outweighed their desire for self-serving liberty. The inconvenient truth is people only compare God’s benefits in the temporal realm to the pleasure of autonomy.
The apostle Paul put it in the proper perspective.
First, consider this revival key:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” — Romans 12:1-2
But he also wrote this soul-opening statement:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” — Romans 8:18-19
What seems too great a price for genuine revival becomes as trash compared to the priceless benefits eternity reveals. Do we want the temporal benefits of the World System? Do we want the compromise of apostasy and its deadly freedom from guilt and conviction? Do we want a heart of stone when it comes to God’s will, the requirement of faithfulness, and our obedience? Will we cater to and please the flesh and be denied the reward of eternal life in the Celestial City? Or do we want the blessedness of surrender so deep and thorough that our life is no longer deemed our own, but is hidden with Christ in God?
If the latter is the case, the you are truly prepared for revival.
Repeat after me:
“God, You bought me with a priceless payment. You redeemed me from the bondage of sin. I no longer belong to myself. You own me. I am Your property. Do with me as You wish. I surrender all.”