Revival: Do we really want it? (Is the price too high?)
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 78:1-16 | 2 Chronicles 7:11 – 10:19 | Romans 8: 9-21 | Proverbs 19:26
Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 7:11 – 10:19
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
When they get together to pray, it is very common to hear Christians praying for revival. They wax eloquent about how “this world” needs revival and about how bad things are today in “the last days.” In the abstract, everyone seems to want revival. Who wouldn’t want the church to be growing, exciting and alive? Who doesn’t want to see lives transformed by powerful encounters with the manifest presence of God? But when you get specific, few seem willing to pay the price. Revival would be wonderful, but it is costly.
The reason we don’t have revival has little to do with the world (though they would benefit by it, of course). It has everything to do with you and me in the church. Judgment begins in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17). Revival waits for the church, and more importantly, you and me to pay the price. What is the price?
“If my people will humble themselves” (7:14). Revival will not come to religious pretenders. It begins when we lay aside our self-righteous games and get real and authentic before God and each other. Confession of sin is a hallmark of revival. When we get so fed up by our lukewarm lives, that we only want to get right with God, we have set the stage for revival. True humility means that we stop pretending and start confessing our true condition. “You say I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor blind and naked.” The needed confession and repentance requires great humility.
“Pray and seek my face”(14). Most Christians struggle to spend a few minutes in prayer. Because their personal prayer lives are shallow, they stay away from prayer gatherings. They haven’t really learned even the basics of prayer. They don’t know the joy that is found in the presence of the Lord when we take the time to open our hearts to him in prayer, real prayer. Prayer that seeks God’s face requires quality and quantity.
“And turn from the wicked ways”(14). Repentance is necessary. Studies show that Christians are not all that much different than the world around us in beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Before revival can come to this world (that does desperately need it) and before it can come to the church (which needs it just as bad), it must come in you and me.
It will cost you something: humility, repentance and much prayer and seeking his face. But the joy of revival will be worth it. Let’s pay the price for admission to see the glory of God fill “the temple” again.
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”