Do Christian want revival?
I guess that depends on the person, but before we go any further, I guess I should define “revival.” In the Christian sense, revival could be defined as having a renewed hunger for the things of the Lord, a renewed focus on God. That’s why most Southern Baptist churches have something called “Revival.” They bring in a new preacher to preach for about 3-4 days in a row in hopes of “reviving” us Christians. What I always think is interesting is you will see people show up every evening during that “revival” week that can’t ever show up on Sunday night for church during a normal week. That’s always baffled me. In my head, I’m like, “if you wanted revival, why didn’t you come all the other Sunday nights that we had church?” Because here’s the thing, if the only time we want “revival” is during the week of “revival,” then we don’t want revival; we merely like the idea of revival. Christians for too long have this idea that revival is waiting on God to do something without them actually needing to do anything themselves. As my pastor says, “it’s like praying for a hole while leaning on a shovel.” You want a hole, start digging. We want revival; then we need to stop seeking revival only once a year during a week called “revival week.” and start seeking it on a daily basis.
So how do we get revival? Well, lack of revival is a heart issue. It comes down to what we are allowing to take priority in our life, take priority over our heart. If we look at King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29, we see a man who allowed God to take priority over his heart.
29 Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. 3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and the Levites and assembled them in the square on the east 5 and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.
In Ch. 28, if we were to read, we would learn that Hezekiah’s dad would sacrifice his sons, that he sacrificed to idols, and that he had shut down temple worship. Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz, had a heart issue. His problem is that God wasn’t a priority. God didn’t sit on the throne of his heart, which hurt him and those around him. And then we get to Hezekiah’s reign, and it’s a complete turnaround. Hezekiah, on the first day of his reign, didn’t go, “Let’s talk about how much money I have.” He didn’t go, “let’s get our finances in order for this country before we do any worship.” He didn’t kind of relax and say “I’ll get to restoring the temple eventually.” His first act as King was to restore the House of The Lord. What does this show us about Hezekiah? That he knew God must and deserved to be a priority over Judah. Hezekiah’s heart was toward the Lord. He had a right heart focus. You could say that “God was the treasure of his heart, not his kingdom.” And through this right heart towards God, revival broke out in Judah. (Read 2 Chronicles 29-32) Revival is first and foremost a heart issue. If we allow the things of this world to sit on our hearts, then there will be no real revival. Ricky Bobby once said, “if you ain’t first, you’re last.” Yes, I just quoted a Will Ferrell movie, but it works. If Jesus ain’t first, then He’s last. What keeps us from revival is we allow other treasures to sit on the thrones of our hearts.
What’s the remedy? Repentance. A turning away from sin. Hezekiah saw what his father had done and the state of his country and said, “we aren’t doing this; get rid of the filth from the Holy Place.” If we aren’t willing to get rid of the filth from our hearts, the idols, we will continually be “hoping” for revival with nothing ever really happening. But that’s what we are scared of, getting rid of the idols of our hearts. We don’t actually believe that Jesus is the treasure that He claims to be. We think that because we come to church on a Sunday morning that we claim Jesus is our treasure but then don’t seek Him and the rest of the week. Is Jesus really a treasure if that is what we do? No, all he has become is an add-on to our life. If we want to change then, we actually have to do something to change, just like Hezekiah. He didn’t say I want revival and then just sat around and did nothing. No, he went into action and sought to change what was going on. Change brought about change. If we know that we haven’t been seeking the Lord like we should but then don’t ever take the time to seek him in His Word or taking the opportunity to seek Him with other believers, then do we really want change? If I say, “I’m going to get in shape,” but then don’t actually work out, did I really want to be in shape? No, I merely like the idea of being in shape. If we say we want to “grow in our relationship with the Lord” but don’t seek to change anything in our life that is keeping that from happening, then we don’t want to grow in our relationship with the Lord. We only like the idea of growing in our relationship with Jesus.
When it comes to these things, we are so scared that by seeking Jesus, He will make us give up something that we really want in this life. So we continually lie to ourselves and say, “I want revival,” “I want to grow in my relationship with Him.” but deep down, we are scared of what that reality might bring. So the question again, “Do Christians want revival?” That depends on if we are willing to have a heart change. That depends if we are willing to look into our hearts and ask the question, “what is of most importance to me? Me or Jesus?” And that’s always the question that needs to be asked of every believer’s heart. If we see Jesus as a threat to our desires instead of the fulfillment of them, He will always play second fiddle in our lives. And then the words “I want revival” will always come out of our mouths but with no change. Pray, repent, obedience. Jesus is the greater treasure that wants us to live a fulfilled life in Him because He is the eternal well that never goes dry. He loves us and wants the best for us, and He knows that the best for us isn’t this world but is Him. The cross is a testament to that fact. The question is “are we going to allow to change us or not?” Lets not let the words of Leonard Ravenhill be true of us: