My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. Psalm 119:25
What is revival? Our church is holding revival meetings the end of this month, and so I thought I would do some investigating to examine exactly what revival is. Is it just a meeting, or a series of meetings where people get emotional and excited and swing from the chandeliers? Being a member of a Pentecostal church, that is what most people are looking for when they attend one of ours.
Is revival held only for the purpose of creating converts? Is it about being empowered for a temporary period, and then when the meetings are over, and the emotionalism of the time wears off, going back to our old ways? Or is there a deeper meaning that we, as the church are missing?
Letís look at the definition of revive.
revive: vb. revived, reviving 1. To bring back or come back to life, consciousness, or activity: make or become fresh or strong again 2. to bring back into use.
By this definition, to revive something is to bring it back to life, or consciousness. In other words, we are to be brought back into a new life for Christ, out of the dead state that we are living in. To bring something back to life, or consciousness, must mean that something is obviously dead, or slumbering. That seems to be a pretty accurate description of the church today. We have been like a great slumbering beast for so long. We have found a comfortable spot, and have laid down in it, and settled in for a long nap. Every once in a while, some things might disturb our repose enough so that we make a pretense of coming to life, but unfortunately in the end the comfort zone wins over.
Picture a sleeping lion if you will. He has been out for a hunt, and has eaten his fill. Satisfied, he seeks out a spot of comfort where he will not be disturbed. He has become sated, and is now only looking to rest. Something may occasionally disturb his sleep, and he may raise his head for a brief moment and snarl at whatever it was, but then the lure of rest wins over once again, and he simply lays his head back down and forgets about it. We, the church, are that sleeping lion. We occasionally get upset enough about some sort of persecution that is going on against us, so that we may, like the lion raise our head long enough to issue a warning, but for the most part, our comfort is more important.
To revive something means to wake it up. It is time that we awaken from our self induced state of slumber. We have been in this comfortable spot for way too long, and if we are not careful we will become the hunted, not the hunter.
The definition of a revival in Websterís is this: a meeting or series of meetings conducted by a preacher to arouse religious emotions or to make converts.
Revivalism is described as the spirit or methods found at religious revivals.
Notice that both of those definitions use the term religious in them. Religion is man made, however. Many people claim to be religious, but have no clear idea of what a personal relationship with Christ is. Religion is simply a set or system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and ways of doing things. Relationship is a kinship.
We have fallen too long into a pattern of religion. When people look at us as Christians, what is there about us that stands out from being different from the world? If you are a Christian, and work with people that are not, do they just identify you as being a Christian, because you follow a set of rules? In other words, they call you Christian because you donít lie, cheat, steal, drink, cuss, etc., etc.? Or do they label you as a Christian because there is something about you...something in your life that identifies you as being separate from the world.
Think about it. I know many people that donít have a personal relationship with Christ that donít lie, cheat, drink, or cuss either. Yes, we do have commandments to follow, this is true, but what is there that sets you apart from the world? Can people look at you during times of trial and hardship, and still see a peace, a joy in your life that emanates from having a personal relationship with Christ? How are we witnessing? Or are you just following a set of rules?
The church today doesnít seem to be so different from the world. We dress like the world, we talk like the world, we watch the same things, we read the same things, when something arises that should cause us to wake up and fight against it, we simply shrug our shoulders, and say, ďWell, Jesus said we would be persecuted.Ē Do we as todayís church, take a strong enough stand, or is it too much effort to stand? We are too comfortable sitting, perhaps, snug in our pews and in our self-righteousness.
The church needs revival. We all need to be woken up. Then and only then will we begin to be the disciples Christ had in mind, when He issued the great commission. When Christ returns, will He find a glorious church, wide awake in Him, spreading the gospel, or will we be found as His disciples in the Garden of Gethsamane, sound asleep?