Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” ESV Bible Extra Reading: Isaiah 57:14-21
Let us now look at this matter of revival. First of all, what is revival? Revival is the restoring of our first love for Christ. Revival is walking in the light with Jesus and letting Him live His life in us. Revival is being restored to spiritual health after a period of decline. Revival is admitting our sins and calling out to Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing. Revival is giving Jesus control of every area of our lives. Revival is a time of deep stirring in our lives. However, revival does not mean working oneself into an emotional frenzy. It is a time of prayer, of meditation, of sober self-evaluation; it is a time of drawing close to Jesus. Revival is a time when our hypocrisy and self-deception is exposed. Revival is a time when strife, criticism, and bitterness in the church is revealed and repented of. Revival is a time when our lives are changed so much that others are affected and drawn to Christ. Above all, revival is a time when the Holy Spirit comes to us in power, working in us both individually and as a church. How does revival begin? Almost invariably revival begins with the awareness and confession of our sins. Sin is the reason that we need revival in the first place. The devil’s main method of attack is to tempt us to sin. When we sin, we become separated from God. We grieve God’s Holy Spirit within us. We lose our fellowship with Jesus; we lose our joy, our peace, our power. If there was no sin in us, there would be no need for revival. Thus revival begins with the acknowledgement and confession of our sins. We don’t like to think of ourselves as sinners. We minimize our sins. Often we don’t even recognize them. We are like the rich young man who told Jesus he had kept all the commandments since he was boy (Mark 10:17-21) He was sure he had no sin.
But even if we don’t see our sin, God does. Sin is not just breaking a commandment. Sin is anything in our lives which is not in agreement with God’s will as revealed in the Bible. This means that sin includes wrong attitudes: self-love, pride, envy, covetousness, resentment, anxiousness, faithlessness. Sin is not only doing what is wrong; it is failing to do what is right (James 4:17). It is failing to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). It is failing to love our neighbour as ourself (Mark 12:31). It is failing to stand firm in faith to the end (Mark 13:13). It is failing to share the Gospel when we have opportunity (I Peter 3:15). It is failing to help our brother in need (Matthew 25:41-45). Who among us can say we have no sin? (1 John 1:8). The first step to revival, then, is to confess our sins. Let us remember the price Jesus paid to cleanse us from sin. Let’s us ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our hidden sins. Never fool yourself thinking you have no hidden sins. They will fall like skeletons from a cupboard once the Holy Spirit starts exposing then to you. Ask Him to do it now, today!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the willingness to confess our hidden sins. Start a Holy Spirit revival in us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!