Revival is a sovereign act of God – it comes from God not from man. God works in the lives of His people, and through them to a lost and hurting world. God chooses to work through man and it is no different concerning revival, however, we must keep our eyes on Him and not on man, methods, churches or denominations. Prayer and overcoming complacency are both important to revival.
All revival begins with prayer -passionate, believing, urgent prayer.
2 Chronicles 7:12-15 NKJV
“Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”
Complacency is a deadly enemy to revival, to churches, and to a person’s spiritual growth. Complacency can be described as lack of motivation, lack of desire for a change or improvements, or a lack to desire to increase in a certain area. As long as a church or person are satisfied with where they are spiritually they will never grow. It doesn’t take long for a church or person to become spiritually stagnant when they are content.
Some signs of complacency are: being spiritually asleep, spiritually cold and weak, comfortable with formal religion, devoid of spirituality, claiming to be spiritually alive but are not, satisfied with self and proud, or lack of fervor or zeal.
Complacency can be caused by several reasons. Some are: becoming lukewarm, a lack of vision, self satisfaction and lack of growth. Another thing that leads to complacency is being so busy with things that you do not have time for intimacy with God. Jesus addresses the lukewarm church (and people) in Revelation 3.
Revelation 3:15-22 NKJV
“ I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked– I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Jesus desires that people and churches either cold or hot instead of lukewarm. The cold person can see their need. The person that is hot is already on fire for God and is growing spiritually. However, the lukewarm person thinks they are spiritually alive but in reality are spiritually dead. It is a lot easier to reach a cold (sinful or uncommitted) person for Christ than a lukewarm (a religious person who thinks their right with God or a half-hearted) person.
Jesus rebuked the lukewarm church of Laodicea and urged them to be zealous, to repent and to and commit themselves to Him. Jesus loves us (and the church) so much and in His long-suffering He gives the lukewarm time to repent. It is Jesus’ desire that we are hot in our relationship and intimacy with Him. Those that are cold, lukewarm or complacent in their relationship must: admit their condition, repent and be zealous for God.
1. Admit Your Condition – Humble Yourself
The first step to correcting anything is admission. We must admit our lukewarmness, complacency, sins, faults, failures, and weaknesses to God. It is important to see them as God sees them. In other words we must humble ourselves. Humbleness can be described as seeing yourself as God see you. God’s Word tells us that He gives grace to the humble but He resists the proud.
James 4:6-10 NKJV
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
After we admit to our sins, faults, failures, and weaknesses we must ask God to forgive us and repent. Repent means to turn around, doing an about-face or to change your mind. When you ask God to forgive you, You must turn from that sin. True repentance ( a changed heart) will cause you to desire to honor God in every aspect of your life. You don’t “not sin” because it’s wrong, but because of your great love for God and for your desire to honor Him.
As believers we must evaluate our lives (our actions, our words our deeds, our attitudes, our thoughts…) and allow the Lord to search us to see if there is anything evil or wicked in us.
1 Peter 4:17 NKJV
“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?’
Sin blocks revival, and sin effects your relationship and intimacy with God. Is there sin in your life, your family or you church? Are you in right standing with God? Are you obeying God‘s Word or living in disobedience? Are you intimate with God or merely religious? Can God describe you as a person after His own heart? When you sin you are quick to repent or do you just brush if off like it doesn’t really matter?
Believers must live a lifestyle of repentance – when they sin, and they will, they must truly repent. We must get to the point that we are more concerned about maintaining an intimate relationship with God than we are about rights and wrongs.
Repentance will keep the presence of God upon us and our lives. In the church, as a whole, there are times that God moves in a mighty fashion and His sweet presence (His glory) fills the place. In order for His glory to stay upon us, our lives, and our church we must take His glory home with us! However, God will not share His glory with the world (soulish things or people). When God visits your church (a visitation of His glory), and goes home with you He expects you to do something – He expects you to change. He expects you to go through your house with the Holy Spirit and ask, “Holy Spirit, does this grieve You?” Listen closely for His answer. When He says “Yes,” repent and get ride of it. Don’t keep it around. Every church in America could use an old fashioned spiritual burning.
Acts 19:18-20 NKJV
“And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”
These people showed true repentance and sincerity by burning (getting rid of) their sinful items. What was happening on the inside of them carried over to the outside. When others saw a real change in the ones that had repented the kingdom of God grew. Many cry out, “Lord, send the fire,” but thy really do not mean it. If they did they would do in the natural what they are asking God to do in the spiritual. Prior to the Passover, the Jewish people would go through their house and search it over from top to bottom for leaven. In the Bible leaven represents sin. If leaven was found, it would be removed. As Christians we need to go through our houses on a regular basis and remove the sin. If we don’t the presence of the Lord will not stay in our homes. The church will be no different than our homes. When God tells you (through His Word or His Spirit) to get rid of something, get rid of it. The item needs to be destroyed. Don’t keep it around, even boxed up somewhere. If you do, you will eventually pick it up again. And, please do not give it to one of your worldly friends or co-workers.
3. Be Zealous For God
Zeal means a firm adherent (characterized by warmth of feeling typically expressed in eager support for a person, a cause, or an ideal). It also means fiery hot, and filled with or characterized by fervor (intense feeling or expressions / intense heat).
We are to be zealous for God.
Revelation 3:19 NKJV
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
Revelation 3:19 NIV
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”
We are to be spiritually zealous.
Romans 12:10-13 NKJV
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”
Romans 12:11 NIV
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
We are to be zealous for the things of God.
Psalm 69:8-9 NKJV
“I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother’s children; Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.”
Psalm 69:8-9 NIV
“I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.”
Jesus overturns the tables of the money changers in the temple (twice- at the beginning and at the end of His earthly ministry)because He was zealous for the house of God.
John 2:13-17 NKJV
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
John 2:13-17 NIV
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
We are to be zealous for good works.
Titus 2:14 NKJV
“…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
Titus 2:14 NIV
“…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”