This past week I finished reading a book entitled “A God-Sized Vision” by Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge, It is an account of revival stories around the world that stretched and stirred my own soul to desire a powerful moving of God in our nation in my life time. I believe that the only hope for America is for another visitation of God’s Holy Spirit in our land to bring brokenness, repentance and restoration. I don’t believe the hope of America is found in a political party or in a presidential candidate but I believe the only hope for America is Jesus Christ and yielding to His Lordship. America has at different times in our history experienced profound sweeping revivals and awakenings. God’s Spirit has gracious and powerfully moved in the past to perform His will and get people into a right relationship with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So if we are to see actual revival in our land, what would be some of the characteristics that are found in a true revival? There are some very similar features that characterize a true moving of God’s Spirit. First, there are usually a handful of faithful believers who are persistent in prayer. Many times we use prayer as a last resort when things wrong in our lives or in our church but in true revival prayer is the 1st component as God’s people seek His face together. Secondly there is usually a season of true confession involving repentance of past sins. What happens when we harden our hearts about sin in our lives is that we not only stop the Holy Spirit from working in our lives but we also model sinful attitudes and actions to those around us. But confession and genuine repentance leads to freedom from the burden of guilt and shame. True confession and repentance frees the Holy Spirit not only to work in our lives but to work in the lives of those around us who have been affected by our sin.
A third characteristic of true revival is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ with clarity and power. When we think of revival we generally think of men like John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and Billy Graham. These men all preached the gospel to who-ever would listen. I remember Paul’s challenge in 2 Timothy to Timothy shortly before Paul’s own death where he writes, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching (4:2, NKJ). Empowered by the Holy Spirit, God’s Word transforms life in incredible ways.
Another component of revival is acknowledging God’s authority in humility. Spiritual pride is one of the great hindrances of revival and awakening. Spiritual pride keeps us from confessing our sins one to another and keeps us from working with other groups outside our own camp that could transform our world. Revival generally takes place when churches and people put aside their own agendas and work together for the glory of God. Spiritual pride keeps us in bondage to a critical spirit against those who don’t fit into our own little box.
A final characteristic of true revival is serving God with boldness. Many of those who were used mightily around the world to bring revival have gone to serve God at great personal risk. I think of one missionary named Jonathan Goforth, who during the Boxer uprising in China (in 1900) was beaten within inches of death and was actually left for dead by those who he was seeking to win. Let us be encouraged to seek revival in our nation knowing true revival begins with each of us getting into a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Personal renewal and revival occurs in each of us as we allow God’s Spirit to convict us of sin and change our hearts and lives. Will you join me in praying for revival in America today? Jesus Christ is truly the only hope for America. To Him be all the glory!
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo