See the links at the end for my commentary on revivals breaking out (Asbury, for example) and what genuine revival looks like.
Many years ago, a very old man who experienced a revival when he was younger was asked why the revival ended. His eyes were filled with holy fire when he cried, "When you lay hold of God, never, never, never, never let go!" Let this be a warning and a reminder to never let go.
Break Up the Fallow Ground
Are we welcoming this type of downpour in our churches and positioning ourselves for a downpour of God's Spirit, or are we extinguishing it because of pride, sin, doubt, and unbelief? It's time to break up our fallow ground and seek the Lord while He still may be found (Hosea 10:12). We provide the sacrifice; He provides the fire.
Waiting and Expecting
Do we really believe that all of this evil will simply reverse itself? No, it's only going to get worse unless God's people pull down heaven. It's time to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. We must cry out, "Oh God, would you rip heaven open and come down?" We must wait on God and seek Him like never before because "He acts for the one who waits for Him" (Is. 64:4).
This type of waiting expects something to happen and waits patiently for it. When we wait, anger doesn't influence us, impatience doesn't drive us, impulse doesn't derail us and fear doesn't stop us. The disciples tarried in the upper room until heaven opened, and the Spirit came down. That experience forever changed them. They were always hungry for more of God. He was their all-consuming passion. They held on and never let go!
Thus Says the High and Lofty One
"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'" (Is. 57:15-16).
In this amazing passage, it's clear that if we prepare the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart, 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).
No Holiness, No Revival
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.
Answer the Call
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 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).
Even if you're not where you'd like to be, God's love and mercy continually call you back to Him. I hope this article sparks a holy desire within you. Don't extinguish the flames of revival; let them burn deeply in your soul. We must be desperate for more of God. When you lay hold of Him, never let go!
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/Boonyachoat
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.