I was invited to preach this week at a series of “meetings,” “revival services,” whatever you want to call them. (I know, I agree…what were they thinking?!) We certainly are praying that God would use these services to do a work in the hearts and lives of His people, and if He does choose to work through a weak instrument like me, it would be even that much more miraculous.
Anyway, it’s caused me to do a bit of thinking and praying on this whole subject of revival, and has reminded me that true revival begins in my own heart; the heart of His people. As Andrew Bonar said: Revivals begin with God's own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervor and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones… Again, that’s certainly our prayer this week.
Along those lines, I thought I would simply share some amazing thoughts from Jim Elliff of Christian Communicators Worldwide about this issue of personal revival. These are truly challenging thoughts, and I hope God may use them to spark revival in your heart as well. (You can go here to see the article in its original format)
Five Resolves For Personal Revival
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 (NAS)
DO you wish to be an instrument in the hands of God? Do you want to see God's power at work through you? Do you long for your prayers to be answered? If you do, then the barrier of sin between you and God must be demolished and a lifestyle of holiness and love for God renewed. Though you are pardoned and placed eternally in Christ, God chooses to bring discipline and to allow ineffectiveness in the lives of his erring children. To be restored spiritual surgery must take place.
Personal revival beings when the believer faces his sin honestly. Though painful, only honesty with God and others will enable the Christian to walk in purity and power. The following resolves are not a formula but are required of every believer. Humbly pray and search your own heart. Trusting in God, begin this moment to repent and return to Him. Pay any price to be a means of spiritual renewal to others.
1. Repent Of Every Known Sin 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19 (NAS)
Resolved: I will not go to bed this evening nor live this day without fully repenting of all known sin against God. (James 4:4-10; 2 Corinthians 7:10)
2. Forsake All Questionable Habits And Activities For whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:23b
Resolved: I will not to go to bed this evening nor live this day without removing from my life every habit or activity I cannot be absolutely sure is approved by God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
3. Make Right Any Wrongs Between Yourself And Others. "If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matthew 5:23-24
Resolved: I will not to go to bed this evening nor live this day without doing all that is possible to correct any wrongs between myself and others. (Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:15-35; Romans 12:17-21; Colossians 3:12-15)
4. Commune With God In Prayer And Be Personally Instructed Through His Word. Pray without ceasing; 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Revive me, O LORD, according to Thy word. Psalms 119:107b
Resolved: I will not to go to bed this evening nor live this day without spending quiet moments with God in prayer and sincerely meditating on His Word. (I Peter 2:2-3; 1 John 5:14-17)
5. Trust God To Use You As His Specially Designed Tool For Revival In Others. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
Resolved: I will not to go to bed this evening nor live this day without asking and expecting God to use me as an effective instrument of revival in someone's life. (Jude 22-23; 1 Peter 4:11; Psalms 51:10-13)
• Review these resolves daily until your thinking conforms to holiness, and your life is revived and useful. Never fail to apply them.
• If you weaken in your desire and intensity for holiness, do not give up and return to a half-hearted, selfish life. Repent of your apathetic heart and lack of love to God immediately and continue. Holiness improves this life and the one to come. Do not let the enemy of God take advantage of you but giving him time to build strongholds. Resist him and he will flee from you.
• Ask God to bring some like-hearted friends with whom you may share struggles, discoveries, and victories on the road to holiness. Pray together seriously for revival in others. Remind each other of these resolves. Make honesty and repentance your creed. Admonish each other with humility. Speak the truth to each other in love. Do not doubt the value of such a gathering or God's ability to use you. God will guide you.
• Seek also to encourage others outside your groups to submit to God and to obey these same biblical disciplines for revival. Actively pursue holiness in others.
• Expect God to use you now and to make you even more effective in the future by His own perfect methods for conforming your life and renewing your mind.
• At all times avoid religious pride.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24
Copyright © 1992 Jim Elliff Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc. www.CCWtoday.org