If you have ever gone to a swap meet looking for that ‘special’ bargain, I’m sure you would not pay ‘sticker price’. Like most people you’d probably enter into negotiation to determine what the seller’s bottom line will be.
I believe some church members try to bargain with God in the same way. “Lord, what is the least you’ll take to send revival our way?” I don’t know any church member that would actually say NO, I don’t want God to send revival to me or my church. They’d probably say they want revival, but underneath, they are unwilling to pay the cost.
Granted, only God can send revival, but the Bible points to some conditions we must meet before He sends a holy visitation on His people. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people… shall humble themselves.” First, to ‘humble’ ourselves is more of a ‘position’ than condition. We must bow before the Almighty and make confession, acknowledge His holiness and our shortcomings. The second condition is for us to pray. When you study the history of revivals, you find it doesn’t come without concerted prayer. Feb 1st we begin thirty-one days of prayer and fasting at the church. We trust that God will hear our prayers and visit His people. Next, God says: ‘seek My face’. Jeremiah 29:13 “And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” This exhortation from God calls us to desire nothing less than all of God. Much of our problem is we want some of God and some of the pleasures of this condemned world. Matthew 6:33 says: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…”. Obviously as God’s redeemed, we need to put first things first.
Lastly, God calls His people to: “turn from their wicked ways”. This statement seems strange that God has to call His holy people to turn from wickedness. Yet I know this to be true in my own life and I’m sure in yours as well. We let these ‘small’ things enter in and take root, and then deny they are sins. After all, we’re only human, right? We may be in this world, but we are called to a holy separation from this world. 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Come out from among them and be ye separate, says the Lord….” After thirty years of ministry, I feel one reason we don’t see revival is because of our lack of ‘separation’. Many in the church no longer see a need to be different. They have convinced themselves they can live in the world during the week, and come to church on Sunday and then truly believe they are pleasing our Heavenly Father.
During this month I encourage each of you to take part in this call of prayer and fasting at our church. Ask God to search your heart and do a great work of grace in you. You have nothing to fear, only blessings to gain.
I close with this quotation from James Packer concerning revival. May it bless and stir your heart. I pray you ask yourself, ‘what am I willing to give of myself to God for His anointing on my life and church?’ When it comes to our need for revival, there is truly no cost too great we should not be willing to make, because we as His people NEED God, and nothing less than all of Him.
“Revival is the visitation of God which brings to life Christians who have been sleeping and restores a deep sense of God's near presence and holiness. Thence springs a vivid sense of sin and a profound exercise of heart in repentance, praise, and love, with an evangelistic outflow.” James Packer: “Your Father Loves You”
Dr. Michael Pope, Pastor