BY CHARLIE BOYD
In his classic book, "The Dynamics of Spiritual Life," Richard Loveless discusses how the great Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards understood revival. He writes, "Revival, [as Edwards understood it]—is not a special season of extraordinary religious excitement, as in many forms of later American revivalism. Rather, revival is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which restores the people of God to normal spiritual life after a period of corporate decline."
There is no revival apart from a Spirit-initiated work of God that leads to repentance.
1 Samuel 7 has all of the marks of a genuine revival. During this time, Israel was morally corrupt and spiritually bankrupt. They were in serious, spiritual decline. Finally, they recognized their corruption and began to hunger for a renewed sense of God's presence. They cried out to God—and led by Samuel—they repented.
Yahweh did a supernatural work in their hearts, and He restored them to "normal" spiritual life. So, what are the signs of a revival according to 1 Samuel?
- In 1 Samuel 7:2, God's people "lamented after the Lord." They hungered for a deeper experience of the presence of God in their lives.
- They repented of sin (verse 3). Samuel said, "If you return to the Lord with all your heart, then remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, and direct your heart to the Lord and serve Him alone." They turn away from doing what is right in their own eyes—and they turn to God—they purge their heart of all competing gods, and they once again honor God as King—they willingly give Him the throne of their hearts.
- They take tangible actions that show their change of heart—they actually do get rid of all the idols in their homes or hanging around their necks—they tear down idolatrous places of worship and confess the immoral forms worship they'd engaged in with the surrounding culture.
That's revival, and that's what happened recently in the chapel at Asbury University. If you're praying for revival, pray for God to once again be enthroned as King over all YOUR life. Ask God to cause you to see "the weight of His glory." This passage points us back to Jesus, our King, who will return to establish His kingdom here on earth—and we will reign with Him as children of the King.
*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.*
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Written by Charlie Boyd