When is the last time you heard about revival? If you follow what happens in churches these days, we see that there has been a lot of calls for revivals. I have heard many churches say that God is sending an end time revival. Songs are being released on revivals these days, and so are prophecies being shared on social media and various pulpits on upcoming revivals. So, it is pretty much a big deal in the Christian community.
What is a revival?
I think it’s also important to start by saying what a revival is not. Many at times, we think that a revival is about people falling and people crying and falling on the ground repenting. I’m not against any of that, and have been to meetings where that manifest presence of God hit the place and such things happened. If something like that happens with you, great! But you don’t need people falling. You don’t need people crying out aloud. People often go after these feels and not the actual revival. Most of the modern Christians, wouldn’t call Jesus’ ministry as a revival if measured by the number of people who fell down, or started rolling over and cried out. But we know that Jesus’ ministry was the greatest revival ever. And yet, we don’t see people falling as Jesus entered a house or entered a city. So we need to calibrate our understanding of what a revival actually means.
To define a revival, we should analyze what happens when revival happens. When revival hits, it changes everything. It changes homes, people’s lives, churches, our nations; you see tremendous healings, amazing miracles and it’s amazing! Often, we attribute these to the “presence of God” in the place. We say that “God has come down”. But, when we understand the revival like that, naturally we keep praying for God come to come, because we know that great things happen when He comes.
However, we see that He does not come down often like that. The Bible talks about a Father God who really wants to spend time with His people, and He does not “come down” when we need Him to. What is wrong?
Let me break this to you- It’s not God who is tarrying, it is US.
Yes, I believe the greatest reason for the lack of revival is us, caused by the lack of understanding of the Bible.
There are 3 major reasons why revival tarries.
Reason 1: Lack of our understanding of God’s presence
You hear many people calling out in churches and places, saying God manifest your presence, come and show yourself to this people. But the Bible says in Deut 31:6:
The LORD will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6, NKJV)
Yes, that promise was for Israel. But we are Abraham’s descendants according to Ga 3:29 and Ga 4:28 and hence we know that God will never leave us nor forsake us. Also, we read the same in Heb 13:5, which settles the fact that it is applicable to us- New Testament believers. So, I wonder why many pray and ask God to be with us. God just said that he will never leave us nor forsake us. If God says it that settles it, and there is no reason to doubt it.
Moreover, what about the Holy Spirit? John 14:16 says:
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever (John 14:16, NKJV)
Clearly, it says He will abide with us forever! Once God said forever, do we think that God would get bored of being with us and go for a break? No, God is with us forever! Moreover, in our spirit, 1 Cor 6:17 it says that we are one in the spirit with the Lord. So that means we are one in the spirit with the Spirit of Jesus. So, it is pretty much clear that we have God with us and in us!
However, many of you may ask why exactly you felt the presence of God during a song, or a meeting, or something. I remember being in one of the churches, and I used to sit in the first few rows of the church and one day, I was late, and I had to sit at the back. Well, till that week, I used to feel the presence of God, but all of a sudden, that week I could not feel the presence of God, but rather I could feel the presence of mothers running after their kids, trying to feed them. I could feel the presence of young folks sitting and texting and social networking. It was the same church! And yet, a few rows in the front the presence of God was there and a few rows behind the presence was not there. Is God only that big to fill the first three rows? What’s the reason? What’s going on? That moment when the volume is high of worship music is high, that moment when its silent, you feel the presence. What is it?
It’s not that God’s presence was not there before. It was that I just started to feel the presence of God. It was not that God was not there in the church at that time, it was just that I started feeling at that point. God never leaves your side. He never leaves your side, even when you sin. He never ever leaves you!
Instead you hear people weeping, wailing and crying for the presence of God. If we as born-again believers who are the children of God beg for our Father in heaven to be present with us, what makes us any different from any other religion who do the same and cry to their god to show up. The difference between Our Father God and the other gods, is that our God saved us, while religion search for salvation, our God is the answer, when other religions still ask questions, our God said that he will never leave us nor forsake us, while other gods hardly show up. We don’t have to cry out and weep and wail for God to come down. He is with us! Amen! I don’t know about you; but God is in me and He is with me. I do not wait for the presence of God; I bring the presence of God wherever I go!
If we do not acknowledge the presence of God in us, we keep waiting for the presence and revival keeps tarrying. You have the presence of God in you! Take it to the place you want revival to start.
Reason 2: Lack of understanding of what God has made us capable of
Not only the presence, but God changed who we are. Who are we? The Bible says in 2 Cor 5:17 that we are a new creation. We are something so special. We are “first fruits of a new kind of creature” in Jas 1:18 while 2 Peter 1:4 says that we are “partakers of the divine nature of God”. The divine nature of God! Can you imagine!
1 John 4:17 says that “as He is, so are we in this world”. Now when Jesus was in this world, he did great miracles and amazing stuff. So when the Bible says that we are in this world, “as He is”. it is very clear what we are capable of and what we are being called to do. He is calling us to do that and even more. This is what Jesus was saying in John 12:24 that “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds”. Jesus was the seed who died, and he brought forth many seeds of the same type. What type is that? 1 Peter 1:23 says that we are born of the incorruptible seed of God. That is who we are!
We are warriors equipped to bring down principalities and powers. It takes one of us, to take the Word and do the Word and powerfully change the nation we live. If Jesus, could shake the whole nation of Israel and the Roman empire in His lifetime, we can bring the gospel to the nation and shake the powers of darkness. After all, we are dealing with a defeated foe, but this time, as the body of Christ!
But unless we know who we are, we can keep calling upon God to bring some revival, rather than us, being the revival. Go and be the revival around you! But what are we called to do? That leads us to the third reason which is the lack of understanding of what we have been called to do.
Reason 3: Lack of understanding of what we have been called to do
What is our calling? To be Jesus in the world. Mark 16:17-18 says.
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17,18, NKJV)
Isn’t that a revival. Imagine people set free from demonic oppression and people speaking in new tongues, people unharmed by poison or whatsoever, healings, miracles. Isn’t that the power of God powerfully hitting the place? Through whom? Through the church! Through you and I. You and I are the revival carrier. We take the presence of the Lord with us wherever we go, When we go to our workplace, we carry the presence of God.
Stop looking at yourself. Your self-righteousness. Look into what the Lord has given you. Look at who you are as a new creation. Instead many preach exactly the opposite. They keep praying for the presence of God, not understanding that we carry the presence of God. We need to understand that Peter and John brought revival to the place they went. It was not God who brought revival and called Peter and John. Philip went to places and brought revival there. Paul went to many places and brought revival there.
But I’ve heard preachers saying that revival is being delayed of the sin of born-again believers. I’ve heard many people calling out to the church saying that we should fast and pray and present ourselves as holy before the Lord and the revival will happen, because we are not having the holiness that God yearns for. I have also heard that God has planned revival for his “time” and that it cannot be changed. Some say we should just sing worship songs and cry and wait for revival. But the Bible says that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Your sins have been dealt with. When God looks at you, He sees Jesus. So, our sins are not stopping God. It’s our inactivity that is delaying it.
For many asking God for revival is an excuse, because they want to put the onus on God. It is easier when somebody else does the work, and not us. It makes us feel comfortable. However, the ball has been lying in your court for a while. If you are fasting and praying, good. But if you are fasting and praying for revival, it is like a warrior would have just fasted and prayed instead of going out and fighting. Don’t be a Gideon, who was too scared to fight when the war was going on.
When we reach heaven, what are you going to tell God? Let not the lazy servant in the parable of Matt 25:14-30 be you! Let’s read it.
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. (Matt 25:14-30, NKJV)
That servant said that he thought God reaps where he has not sown and gathers where he has not scattered any seed, and because of that he hid the talents. Just like that we think God expects us to have revivals where he has not provided us anything to start a revival, and hence we hide ourselves. One day we will present ourselves before God saying “God, here I am. I thought you would ask for revival even though you didn’t provide anything for it and hence I hid myself, safe and sound, having a very good reputation in the world” Guess what God would feel.
The reason for the lack of revival was never God, it is you! There is a cloud of witness around you, waiting for you to take up your mantle and say, “I’ll be Jesus to the world”.
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