It has been a while since I have posted, but it is the time in the church that I pastor where we have our revival services and this has been on my mind.
Revival is not a series of services, but is rather, according to Selwyn Hughes, “the flaming forth once again of love for the Lord in those who, having known the truth and experienced the life of God in their souls, had grown cold.” It may happen in the course of revival services, but revival can come at any time.
We are nearing the end of 40 Days of Prayer for Revival, and I have preached over the last month about how the Lord calls us to be followers, not fans. These response to these messages has been encouraging, just as it has been encouraging to have people talk to me about the daily devotions that are part of the 40 Days of Prayer. But, will revival come?
Simple answer: I pray so, but I do not know.
I received a small book several years ago, Why Revival Waits by Selwyn Hughes. This classic book (from which the quote above derives) is short and one of the few that I have read multiple times. Examining 2 Chronicles 7:14, Hughes concludes that revival does not come because we refuse to deal with the sin in our lives and we live our lives without God. I cannot argue with his conclusion, but I believe we miss revival for a much simpler reason:
We do not want revival.
The church answer is, of course, “YES, we want revival!” but when we step back and examine it, I do not think we want revival. Why?
We must admit we have lost our first love (Rev. 2:4), admit that we need revival, and we do not like to admit to such failure. It is easier to pretend that all is well. But if we will stop and examine our lives, in all probability there was another time in our lives when our relationship with the Lord was stronger than it is now. Our love was stronger then.
We must deal with sin, and this is not always pleasant. Revival cannot come without deep confession and repentance.
God may call us to do things that are difficult. More than turning from sin, He might lead us to restore a broken relationship, share the Good News with a lost neighbor, begin to serve in a particular area of ministry, or many other possibilities that frighten us.
The bottom line is that we miss revival because we are comfortable with where we are spiritually. Deep down we may know that we are not where God wants us to be, but we are fine with that. We have accepted it as normal. To remove sin and make the other necessary makes us uncomfortable, so we choose to stay like we are and miss revival.
Selwyn Hughes concludes, “It would be wonderful if the whole church throughout our land would heed this message, but the history of revival shows that when a proportion of God’s people meets His conditions He moves in answer to their prayers. In Wales God used a small praying group to usher in revival. You could be the vanguard of a mighty move of the Holy Spirit if you are willing to pay the price.”