Yesterday morning I posted part one of this series on "The Secret to Revival." This is part two. I hope you enjoy the series.
The second part of the secret to unlocking the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and creating an atmosphere for signs, wonders, and miracles to become common practice in our daily lives, is to Love. Sounds pretty simple right? Now, I'm not talking about the fake smile, holding the door open because you think you should, telling people "have a blessed day" instead of "have a good day" because you want to appear more spiritual than you are, having an outline of a fish bumper sticker on your car, kind of love. I'm talking about the drop everything and rush to someone’s side if they need you, the feeding and clothing the homeless because you see Jesus when you look at them, working in the prisons to help convicts, volunteering at shelters to help the broken, going on missions trips to Africa because you want to help fight AIDS, skipping out on movie night with friends so you can help a co-worker struggling with depression; the Pure Jesus kind of Love. That's the Love I'm talking about.
Our lives should be lived and based out of our pure and unashamed love for Jesus and our relationship with Him. That relationship and love should spread to every area of our lives. This love happens in three parts. First, we begin to truly and passionately fall in love with Jesus and develop a beautiful and meaningful relationship with Him. Second, we begin to truly and passionately love ourselves. And third, we begin to share that love with literally everyone else we encounter. Remember this verse? "and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself . No other commandment is greater than these." (Mark 12:30, 31 CEB)
You must love your neighbor as yourself! That means you've got to love yourself the way Jesus loves you. If you don't love yourself then you'll never be able to love anyone else and you'll sabotage every relationship you enter into.
Praying for people that need healing, a miracle, salvation, or a touch from the Lord was always intended to be based out of pure Love and compassion for that person or situation. Look at Matthew 15:32 for example. The apostles didn't pray for the sick because they wanted to see revival or because they wanted to seem relevant. They prayed for the sick because they felt compassion and love for the sick and the hurting and because they loved Jesus and He loved the world.
The concern becomes that we seek revival and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit not because we love Jesus and the people around us so much, but because we simply want to see miracles, sign and wonders. We judge the quality and relevancy of a church based on what miracles have taken place in their services and what signs and wonders were witnessed within their four walls.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with desiring or pursuing to see miracles, signs and wonders manifest in our lives. I feel that's healthy and necessary to every Christian’s life. But if you lived your Christian life never seeing a "miracle" would that make God any less real, powerful, or relevant?
Isn't life a miracle itself? Consider the human body and its functions. Think about everything going on in your body right now of which you are unaware and which you’ve never given a conscious thought. You're currently breathing oxygen so your body can survive. Your brain needs that oxygen to survive and control your body’s functions include your heart, your kidneys, and your digestive system. Are you constantly thinking about breathing or the functions your body has to perform every second of the day in order to stay alive? Isn't that one of the most beautiful miracles of all? Or think about a flower. How its planted as a seed or a bulb and it grows into something so beautiful. I live in Central New York and the beautiful colors the trees produce in the fall are legendary. Bright yellow, brown and red colors working together to paint the most beautiful scenery.
If we truly looked around and considered the life that surrounds us every waking moment we would see miracles every single minute of every single day.
If what I just said is true, that means we can stop praying for miracles. Miracles are already surrounding us, all we need is to open our eyes and consider what He has already produced.
I believe once we have a real, deep, awesome, loving relationship with Jesus we will operate in that daily expression of the Holy Spirit we all desire so strongly.
When we learn to love ourselves and when we learn to not allow our past to control our present or our future and we begin to genuinely care about others and choose to love them no matter what; when we learn to forgive and let go of the hurt and unforgiveness we hold on to so tightly and when we become like Jesus by sacrificing our lives for Him and for humanity, then, I believe, we will see and experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we are seeking.
Please understand that I am not trying to make fun of anyone. I'm not trying to purposefully hurt anyone’s feelings, or assume that I am the final word on any subject.
I'm just sharing my thoughts and opinions on the issues I feel like talking about.
Also, please understand that I am not telling you to stop praying for revival altogether. I'm reminded of a familiar scripture found in Luke. "And I tell you: Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you." (Luke 11:9 CEB)
What I am trying to say is that we must seek revival and miraculous signs and wonders based out of pure and extreme love and compassion for Jesus, ourselves, and humanity. Also, if we're going to bring revival to the world, we must change the way we do things. Non-Christians don't understand the same things Christians do. If we go out on the streets and try to bring "revival" to them in the same sense we do inside the church, people will be scared. They won't understand what we're trying to do. We have to consider the language we use, how we approach people, and how we present Jesus to them. I'm not saying everyone who passionately seeks revival does so out of a self-centered core. I'm simply saying we need to reevaluate our motives, ask ourselves one more time who we are and why we're chasing what we're chasing. If our answers come back based out of anything other than love, then we need to stop what we're doing and refocus on Jesus.
Kris Vallotton says often regarding the people that flock to Bethel's Supernatural School of Ministry. "They came for the signs and wonders and stayed for the community and family." I believe we need to bring people into a genuine, loving, and compassionate family first. Let's share love with everyone before we try to aggressively convert them through what we think revival looks like.