A drowning man is dragged to the beach. A lifeguard performs CPR while the crowd prays for revival. The man coughs. The lifeguard feels a single, weak heartbeat. The crowd cheers, “Hurray! Revival!” Then they walk away, leaving the man lying on the sand. His heart flutters to a stop once again. How satisfied should they be with the “revival?”
Do you remember when the revival specialist came to your church and led your congregation to revival through professional music, inspiring preaching, and sincere prayer? Do you remember it? Vaguely? If all you have is a memory was it really revival? It was something good, no doubt, because there were signs of spiritual life. But if it doesn’t last can it really be true revival? Life is only worthwhile so long as one remains alive at least for a while.
How then do we bring lasting revival to our churches? The only way to resurrect a group is to resurrect each individual. When the individuals are alive then the group is alive. Revival must begin in my own life for revival to begin in my church.
So how is spiritual life revived in an individual? Spiritual life is revived the same way that physical life is often revived. A man near death will usually submit himself to the care of a healer. In doing so he intends to listen and do as the healer prescribes. He also plans to work at becoming healthier and plans to continue to maintain his health for the rest of his life. So it is with spiritual revival.
Steps to Personal Revival
Recognize Your Danger: To be revived spiritually I must first admit that I am actually dead or nearly so. I can’t merely acknowledge the principle; I must actually recognize my danger. If I don’t recognize it then I’m not going to take the healer seriously. So I must ask God to show me my danger and continue asking until I recognize it.
Embrace Major Changes: Once I recognize my need for revival, then I must surrender myself to the healer. Surrender means that I actually do whatever he commands. If he commands me to eliminate from my life things like sex and violence as entertainment, I will obey. (He will command this.) If he commands me to surround myself with positive reading, watching, and listening, I will do that also. If he commands me to spend time with him every single day no matter what, I will make that happen. The healer will command all of these changes and more. I know that I have surrendered to him when I obey. If I don’t, then I haven’t.
As I begin to feed my mind only things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8), quickly my spiritual health will begin to revive.
Begin Exercising: Then I must embark on an exercise program. Consider it spiritual physical therapy. It is a regimen that must continue for the rest of my life. These exercises will involve activities like prayer, Bible study, fasting, silence, solitude, service, worship, sharing my faith, and much more. The regimen must include all of these exercises, not just a select few that I’m comfortable with. The program is intense but I will be revived, guaranteed.
Fair warning: Never suppose that spiritual exercise has the capacity to save you. It will not. Spiritual exercise only accomplishes one thing: it ushers you into the presence of the healer. It is he who actually does the reviving.
Pastor Jeff Scoggins
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