By Henry Blackaby
I've heard many "calls" for revival recently but with very little teaching and exposition on revival. It seems that in these urgent days there are too few leaders who actually are leading God's people corporately to repent, pray, seek holiness and return to God.
Do we not realize that scripturally it is impossible to have a call for revival without a call for repentance? This has always been God's requirement for His people. The passionate, unceasing corporate prayer that is always present in revival is desperately lacking as well.
In short, I see little evidence of sincere brokenness among God's people for our present condition or the condition of our nation.
We call for revival without actually crying with tears and brokenness for revival. The "call for revival" seems almost like a spiritual fad, with no true passion and sincerity of heart. Many will say "amen" when they hear mention of the need for revival. But the "call" is fleeting and soon passes away. And then we quickly move on to other activity and return to our business as usual with no follow- through by the leaders of God's people.
We must understand that a true call for revival is first and foremost a recognition that we've departed from God. It demands a radical response from God's leaders and His people. Revival has always been, and remains to this day, God dealing with the sin of His own -- not the world.
Therefore, if we never recognize our need for repentance of sin, then our "call" for revival is in vain. Isaiah warned God's people:
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from God; and your sins have hidden His face from you; so that He will not hear"(Isaiah 59:1-2).
This lack of recognition among God's people to see their present spiritual condition frightens me. The continued neglect of dealing with the sin of God's people is both obvious and appalling. Have we moved so far from God that we remain content in our sin? Do we not fear the judgment of God? Week after week, wherever I go, I hear no mention of our desperate need of God. There's no spontaneous concern or cry to God. It's simply not on the minds and hearts of God's people -- at least where I am and where I travel.
Let me draw to your attention to several things that God's people must do immediately.
First, we must seek God to grant us broken and contrite hearts. "For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones'" (Isaiah 57:15). And again, "[O]n him will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2).
Next, spiritual leaders must "return to Lord" -- and stay there. (Zechariah 1:3; Malachi 3:1-7; Acts 6:1-4).
Third, the people of God must pray corporately with one heart and one mind. (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1; Acts 4:31).
Fourth, God's people must be immediately obedient to all God reveals to them. (1 Samuel 15:22-23)
Then, continually bear witness to God's people of all that God is doing. (Acts 1:8; Acts 14:21-22, 26-27)
Finally, we should expect and experience Christ's fullness of joy. Jesus said: "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:9-11).
The immediate need for revival among God's people is "life and death" for our nation. Apparently, there are too many of us who simply don't believe that, and there are far too few who sense the awful judgment that is to come if we do not see revival. Believe Christ's warning: "[U]nless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). Let us, therefore, repent and return quickly to the Lord.