Monday, September 24, 2007

To Live Again

I was inspired by my brother to consider revival.

I wonder..

Do we really want revival?
Should we desire revival?
How would we get revival?
How would you describe a person who needs to be revived?

3 comments:

Wesley Handy said...

Do I really want revival?

Yes, I want it, but, no, I don't want it. I'm afraid what it will mean, how my life will have to change, will I support it or oppose it.

Should I desire revival?

Yes, like Jacob desired the angel of the LORD to bless him before he let him go.

How would I get revival?

Repent of my sin, seek God wholeheartedly, wait on the LORD, it is not my work, but His

How would I describe a person who needs revival?

They probably look like me, one who knows what to do, but fails at it because of timidity or lack of trust in God. This is simplistic, but a step in the right direction.

Mark said...

This is interesting. You speak only for yourself. That's not a bad thing, and I am interested in your own answers. But I wonder what the general consensus is on these things. I suppose I have in mind the corporate nature of revival. Has anyone ever been spiritually revived by himself? Well, now that I think about it, I feel confident the answer is 'yes'? But is the individual experience what we are referring to when we use the word 'revival'? I know if I observed intense spiritual growth in a person or saw in him what appeared to be a spiritual reawakening of some sort, I'm sure I would not think, "he had a revival". If I did think in those terms at all, I might say "he had a personal revival". I suspect if we are desiring personal revival, then first we are desiring an absolutely good thing, and second it is not revival we are desiring.

I'm reminded of a few things we have both been exposed to recently regarding corporate Christian life and righteousness and the necessarily corporate context for Spritual gifts. I'm not sure exactly how those ideas come into play with regard to revival, but I'm sure they do to some extent.

But your answers are intriguing.

Do we really want revival? I suspect this is a prerequisite. I was surprises at your fear, but I easily understand it. I'm sure I have some of that, too. But, again, I didn't realize it. Now that you've brought it up, I have to wonder how common it is. I assumed our struggle was with indifference, but I'm certain now that's not all there is to it. But I do think change is big factor either way. I think when we find a groove that we believe we can manage, then we are afraid to let God shake things up. But thank God he does rock the boat and wake us up!

You know, I just thought of something. I do thank God for rocking the boat because some 'working out' is required just for spiritual maintenance, let alone spiritual growth. Stagnation in spiritual disciplines leads to spiritual atrophy.

Maybe that is what Paul meant when he said in Philippians, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling". Maybe he was saying exercise your salvation so that it won't get small and weak! Just a thought.

Should we desire revival? The story of Jacob wrestling with the angel remains confusing to me. He seemed to be fighting God, but I'm not sure that's the correct understanding of what's going on there. Clearly, he sought a blessing. I suppose here I was hoping for a proper perspective on the previous answer, especially if it was 'no'. But perhaps I should have asked, "Why should we desire revival?"

How would we get revival? I agree, if for no other reason than because these we should do whether or not we have a thought about revival. I can't resist mentioning that 'wait on the Lord' should never mean anything like 'sit still and look around to see what he will do.' Rather, it must mean to acknowledge his role as initiator and to be patient. I know you have that in mind, but as I said, I couldn't resist.

Because repentance and wholeheartedly seeking God are always recommended for any believer and because revival is a corporate event, I have a follow up question. Can you be more specific about how we should repent and wholeheartedly seek God in order to get revival?

How would you describe a person who needs revival? Okay, he would look like you. but what do you look like?

Wesley Handy said...

Mark,
as always, you have great insights because of the logical and orderly mind with which God has blessed you. I appreciate your precision.

I think there is a level of revival that starts on the personal level, but it is a community. In the Shantung Revival, the missionaries prayed "Lord, revive our people." But they soon realized that they needed revival. And it came, not just to one or two, but to the whole province. Revival comes to a community. Jesus gives life to his body, not to just one skin molecule.

Repentance has always been a prerequisite to revival. But, we can confess our sins till we are blue in the face, our hearts have to be in it and it has to be in reponse to the Spirit's conviction, not just personal guilt. Personal guilt results from our little legalisms, Spiritual conviction results from our interaction with God through the Word, prayer and service. Also, I think you have identified two sins of our church, in general, that we need to repent of--pride and materialism. It is amazing, though, how insensitive we can become to our own sins. We have to pray for God to reveal this to us and convict us of our sin. Tough prayers to do genuinely, but if we take the risk, and wholeheartedly ask God to change us, we will begin to see how our sin has permeated our hearts. He will circumsize our hearts and cut away our filth. As we are broken for our sin, we will weep over our offensiveness to God, but rejoice over our forgiveness in Christ. Revival will not just revive our faith, but it will revive our whole person, we can emotional, psychologically, phsyically and spiritually worship God in a way we may have never experienced before. I long for this. To be so full of God that the cares of this world fade away so that I may serve him no longer in timidity in fear, but in faith, courage and fruitfulness. Mark, I want this, but I cannot conjure it up for myself. I need God to do it. He will unite our church through revival. May it come!