walk in the word
15For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. 16For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made. —Isaiah 57:15-16
What a great promise from God “to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” But what does God mean by “revive?” You might be thinking of tent meetings and crazy things happening but that’s not what God’s thinking about. So let’s all get on the same page.
First of all, here’s a technical definition. Revival means “renewed interest after indifference or decline.” You can find that in any dictionary. I’ve also heard someone say, “Before you can be revived you have to be vived.” In other words, before you can fire up afresh your relationship with God, you have to have one. You need to be vived, you need to get life that only Christ can give. But those of us who know and are following Christ, who have turned from our sins and embraced Christ by faith as the only basis for our forgiveness, we sometimes allow our love for Him to grow cold. We who are vived sometimes need revival.
So let me give you a clearer biblical definition. Revival is an outpouring of God’s Spirit on God’s people. We don’t revive ourselves. God does it. And the first evidence of an outpouring of God’s Spirit is an abhorrence of personal sin. What we had tolerated and allowed in our lives, what we had looked on with indifference, what we had allowed to creep into the borders of our spiritual life and rationalize away all of a sudden becomes abhorrent in our lives. This comes from an awareness of the holiness and the righteousness of God and the nearness of my accounting before God.
Abhorrence of sin is the negative. Here’s the positive; revival is also an overflowing delight in the nearness and the goodness of God. Abhorrence of personal sin and a delight in God—a fresh, new outpouring of love for God, where it’s not the fact, it’s not the information, but GOD, and so close and so good. And a persistent joy in the nearness and the goodness of God—that’s revival. Do you need revival today?
Prayer – Father, there isn’t often a time when I don’t need revival in some way in my life. My spiritual practices can become so easily routine and sin so readily slip into my life. I ask Your Spirit to be my heart and soul monitor that goes off when the rhythms start to fluctuate. I give You permission to interrupt my wandering with a wake-up buzzer. Let me never grow weary of wanting more of You! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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