Discerning Revival

There is a lot of interest in these days concerning Revival.  The people of God desperately need it and many are humbly seeking it.  But I am afraid in seeking it we latch on to anything that might resemble it. If it looks anything to what we think revival might be then we call it revival.  But is it revival? Clearly revival is a work of the sovereign God.  He must initiate it and He must inspire it.  Too many times what we “call” revival is nothing more than a man induced emotional event.  And those things will be exciting at the time but will quickly fade once the high is over.  However, real revival produces real and radical changes both presently and permanently.

The problem that I see is our discernment of revival.  I desire to see a genuine moving of God in the hearts of apathetic people.  And I understand that I stand in need of such a work of God.  But we must be able to tell the difference between the work of God and the work of man.  And that is not done with human reasoning, feelings or emotional leanings but with the Word of God.  God’s Word is the means by which we gain discernment of the reality of things.  The lens of God’s Word must examine all things spiritual.  So what does the Word of God say about revival?  Let’s examine Psalm 119.

In verse 25 the psalmist says, “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: Quicken thou me according to thy word.” Revival does not and will happen without the preaching and exposition of the glorious truths of the Word of God.  There can be an emotional, exciting, and exhilarating time without the Word of God but there cannot be revival.  So when I hear that a revival is going on and the Word has only been preached 1 night in the last week then I am skeptical about revival happening there. It is the Word that God uses to melt the cold and hard hearts of his people.  Not preachers or singers but the Word.  The Psalmist says “Quicken me according to thy word.”  The Word is what is used to bring life to our deadness and if we set the Word aside because it is not as exciting as some supposed personal revelation given to the evangelist or not nearly as entertaining as the singing group then revival is not going to happen.

If we trace every real revival work of God, we will discover it happened as the Word of God in a substantial way was expounded to the people.  And the result of revival is that they want more of the Word.  Not more gimmicks, singing, or excitement but more of the Word.  A love for Jesus is so revived in their hearts that they want to hear more from Him and more about Him.  When I hear, “There is revival going on and the Preacher is outstanding” then I doubt revival is going on.  Hearts that are revived to Christ see nothing of value except him.  Preachers, singers, churches, jobs, pleasures, nothing matters except him.

Psalm 119 has more to say about Revival and we will try to examine those in future posts.