"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…" (Isaiah 57:15-16 NKJV).
In this amazing passage, it's clear that if we prepare the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart, that God will bring the fires of revival. It's a great reminder that His Word always comes to pass. As the lyrics in a popular contemporary worship song attest, "When all hope is gone and Your Word is all I've got, I have to believe You still bring water from the rock" (Spirit Lead Me).
From Isaiah 57, we also see that holiness plays a role in being revived. Holiness is desiring what God desires. God is love, but His name is holy. He is referred to as the Holy One of Israel over thirty times in the Bible. There were times when the church trembled at His Word and walked in holiness. Those were, and still can be, glorious times. God abides with those who have a humble spirit, and holiness is often a mark of humility.
To be clear, holiness involves salvation as well as sanctification. The only way to be declared holy before God is to repent of your sin and confess Christ as your Savior: "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
From there, we are called to live holy lives that honor God. Our decisions either fuel the fires of revival or quench the Spirit—we either rejoice in God and walk in His Word or grieve the Spirit by disobeying. The choice is ours.
Five Ways to Keep the Fire Burning
According to the Scriptures, there are five spiritual principles that often spark a spiritual awakening and keep it going. Prayer and fasting ignite the fire, but the following scriptural truths fan the flames:
1. Embrace godly sorrow
Second Corinthians 7:10 says that godly sorrow, in conjunction with repentance, leads to salvation, but it also leads to brokenness and dependence on God. When was the last time you wept over the condition of the nation as well as the condition of your heart? Brokenness breaks up the fallow ground of the heart—"break off all your evil habits; clear your hearts of weeds, so that they may be prepared for the seed of righteousness" (Easton Bible Dictionary).
2. Recommit your life to God
Zechariah 1:3 says, "Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you.'" Once your focus is back on God, He begins to work in and through you.
3. Restore what you can
Genuine repentance always leads to restoration. Whether seeking forgiveness or mending broken relationships, you can never go wrong by making things right. In Isaiah 58, even their fasting was ineffective because they were harsh and self-focused. Pride never ushers in a spiritual awakening. A critical, harsh heart needs to be crushed under the power of the cross.
4. Holiness is not a suggestion
Second Corinthians 7:1 says that we must purify ourselves from everything that contaminates our spirit. Romans 12:1 reminds us to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him. Without holiness, no one will see revival.
5. There must be continual hunger and thirst for God
Matthew 5:6 tells us that only those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, holiness, and purity will be filled. Continually seeking Him isn't optional; it's essential to spiritual awakenings. In studying past revivals, many of which were years or decades in the making, they all began after consistent and persistent seeking. The heat of revival never comes from a microwave setting.
Return and Experience the Fire of Revival
In closing, I'm including this powerful reminder from a past article: Second Chronicles 16:9 says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." Will He find you seeking after Him or running in the other direction? There is nothing more painful than seeing an unbeliever on the broad road to destruction or a believer running from God. Return to Him today and experience the flames of revival.
His call is to the prodigal—"Return to Me, and I will return to you" (Malachi 3:7).
His call is to the exhausted—"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
His call is to the fearful—"The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
His call is to the barren—"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).
His call is to the broken—"I will bind up the broken" (Ezekiel 34:16).
His call is to the sick—"I will strengthen the sick" (Ezekiel 34:16).
His call is to the lost—"I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away" (Ezekiel 34:16).
Even if you're not where you'd like to be, God's love and mercy are continually calling you back to Him. If you prepare the sacrifice, He will provide the fire.
SPECIAL NOTE: The new book, Oh God, Would You Rend the Heavens? Understanding and Contending for a Genuine Spiritual Awakening is available for purchase.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash/Shaun Frankland
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler.