What is revival and where can you find it?

Why Do We Need Revival?

Christian revival, renewal, outpouring, or times of refreshing, no matter what you call it, it is something that has been happening ever since the first outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

I honestly don’t care what you call it. Quibbling over revival synonyms is silly. The real question is what is revival and how can we be revived again?

The fact of the matter is that there have been ebbs and flows of spiritual fervor throughout the history of Christianity.

Until the time where there is no longer a war between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of God; until such a time as the war between the flesh and the Spirit has been resolved, there will always be a need for revival in each generation.

It is up to each one of you that read this article to come to your conclusions concerning whether or not there is a need for revival not only in our respective nations but our personal lives as well.

We have to discern if there has been a decline in spiritual passion and fervor in our churches, communities and most importantly, families. We have to determine if there is a need for revival. Moreover, if we see a need, then we need to understand what is revival and how to be revived again.

What Is Revival According To The Bible?

Habakkuk 3:2

O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years!In the midst of the years make it known;In wrath remember mercy.

With any authentic Christian revival, there is an understanding that comes that we are not where we should be. Whether it be in our lifestyle, our effectiveness or our love relationship with Jesus, we recognize that things need to change and that it needs to begin with us.

You will see this in the evidence that people start doing some deep soul searching. They are no longer satisfied with the status quo of their spiritual life and start seeking God from a deep-felt need within their soul.

Revival starts typically with the half-hearted Christian. They are the ones that have let the world’s way of thinking and living creep into their life until they are torn between having a desire for God and having a passion for the things of the world.

They realize that they have fallen away from their first love and are no longer in a love relationship with Jesus but are only performing out of habit or obligation. Their obedience is not based on their love but upon their fear.

Just like when an unbeliever comes to Jesus, the half-hearted Christian starts to sense God calling them back to a life that is sold out to Him. Their hardened heart begins to be broken up and plowed once again.

Hosea 10:12

Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

They are tired of their dry and thirsty souls. They start to cry out to God to once again send the living water that once made them so alive.

The Real Meaning Of Revival

Once this starts happening then, God starts to renew the faith of the believer. They begin to see once again the plight of people who do not know Jesus. They are moved with compassion at their eternal destiny.

No longer are they content to see friends and family members, co-workers and colleagues in peril of hell.

Instead of just giving mental assent to the truths of the Bible, they start to listen and obey what it says.

They are filled with a love for others that they are compelled to act upon that love. They are so filled with a passionate love for Jesus that it grieves their hearts when others are not in love with Him in the same way.

They cannot understand how anyone can be so callous to the sacrificial love Jesus showed to all mankind.

Revival causes people to change the ties that they previously had. It creates those that love the world and the ways of the world to start following the beat of a different drummer.

It causes those that only looked at the opposite sex for what personal gratification that they could gain from them, to start honoring and respecting them for the beautiful creation that God has made them.

It causes those that are caught in the enticement of self-gratification to forsake that out of love for the One who has saved their soul.

When churches start to experience revival, it changes them. No longer will they fight over budgets or money, over theological truth and who is right. They will stop looking inwardly at what is best for them and will start looking outwardly at who else needs the grace and mercy of God that they have received.

Instead of looking at what will make them look good or respectable, they will be focused on reaching the lost, the hurting, the downtrodden and the oppressed. They will gladly become fools for Christ so that Christ may be glorified.

1 Corinthians 1:27

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

They will gladly lay down self-interest, self-respect, and self-indulgence so that others may taste of the goodness of the Lord as they have.

What Does A Real Church Revival Look Like?

Revival happens when two things come together. They are the providence of God and the release of the Holy Spirit.

The providence of God is an essential aspect of any true Christian revival. We must understand that revival is not something that we can conjure up by certain works or methods.

Just because you announce a series of sermons on revival will not cause a revival. Just because you bring in a particular speaker or evangelist will not spark a revival.

Revival comes when the leadership and the members of a church place their entire dependence upon the grace of God alone. All of God’s providence flows from His grace.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When we are in need of revival we have to come to the throne of grace to receive the grace for revival.

It is grace that helps us once again be renewed, revived, restored once again. It is not by our works lest we should boast in our spirituality and fervor. It comes as an out-flowing of God’s undeserved favor.

When we come to the throne of grace to receive restoration and renewal, and then tie it with a willingness to be yielded and used by the Holy Spirit, then revival breaks forth.

If you have one without the other, you will not see true revival. It will falter and fail. You will either see Christians becoming closer to God but not being empowered to take it to their community or you will see a bunch of signs and wonders but no changed lives.

To have real revival, you must be willing to let the Holy Spirit work through you even though it may be strange or uncomfortable for you.

You must be willing to risk looking like a fool and be prepared to trust that God’s Holy Spirit can do the work that you cannot do.

None of us can change one life. That is a work of the Spirit.

You must be willing to yield to that Spirit in your everyday life. This is not about just having a good church meeting. This is about taking the power and presence of God to our communities.

Real revival will be filled with both power and yielded obedience.

Where Can You Find Revival?

It Starts With You

Real revival starts with you. You don’t go off to some meeting someplace to find it. You don’t have to travel across the world to find it. Revival starts in your heart and life.

You will find revival when you ask yourself questions similar to these.

  1. Has your spiritual life gotten old or stagnant?
  2. Is your family, church, community or nation in spiritual decline?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then ask yourself these questions

  1. Are you willing to go to the throne of grace and fall and admit these things to God?
  2. Are you willing to seek God for the grace to be revived personally?
  3. Are you willing to lay down “self” and surrender and yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life as He empowers you to touch the lives of others?

If you do then no longer will you need to ask “What is a revival?”, Instead, you will experience revival and revival will be found in you. You can then lead others on the journey of revival you have experienced.

Psalm 85:6

Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?

I believe God’s answer to that question is yes. Do you?

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Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of L.I.F.E. Bible College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988. He and his wife Sue are currently leading The Vineyard Church in San Carlos Ca.Pastor Duke specializes in healing hurting churches and bringing revival, renewal, and restoration of the presence of God to the body of Christ in America to make the church spiritual again.Pastor Duke has a few limited dates available to speak in other churches. If your church needs a fresh move of the Spirit of God or has gone through a painful and wounding season, click here.