“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him” (Hosea 6:1–2, esv).
When we hear the word “revival,” many of us picture tent meetings or long lines of sinners waiting to publicly air their dirty laundry. Not quite. Let’s revive the meaning of “revival.”
The Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches that God wants to revive our relationship with Him. He wants to wake us up, to refresh our faith, to fire us up again. Revival is renewed interest after a period of indifference or decline.
If you feel like your faith has veered off course, then you must know that the first wrong turn is always a move away from God. If you wake up one morning and find yourself in a spiritual desert, then you must trace your steps back to where you left God’s path. You have to return to the Lord. All pain that won’t go away is rooted in a failure of faith, and all pleasure flows from unplugging the fountain of joy that’s found only in God.
Here’s what revival isn’t. It’s not the circus chicanery and religious nonsense that accompanies flesh-induced spiritual fervor. Revival is not long lines of anxious sinners waiting for a turn at the microphone to reveal their most secret, sinful something. Revival is not emotional extravagance in which people are swept up in the moment, fall to the ground, and act bizarrely, unbiblically, and out of control. That’s not revival.
The Bible does not invite us to seek a revival, ask God for a revival, or pray that revival will come. In fact, the Bible does not even use the specific word “revival,” though it frequently mentions people being revived. Throughout history, there have been some downpours of God’s blessing that people called “revival,” but we don’t have control over moves of God that affect whole cities or regions. What we can affect is the experience of being revived personally.
Here’s what revival is.
“I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word” (Psalm 119:107, nkjv). Revival involves an increased hunger for and delight in God’s Word after a difficult season of life.
Psalm 119:37 instructs, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way” (nkjv). Revival involves a disdain for sin and a renewed desire for obedience to God.
Psalm 80:18 prompts, “Revive us, and we will call upon Your name” (nkjv). Revival brings increased commitment to and interest in personal prayer.
Revival is returning to God’s path, setting our sights on the goal again, and pursuing with new passion the One who can make our lives more than we’d ever dreamed. Revival is gladly experiencing and enjoying God at the center of our lives. Revival is seeing God at work.
Maybe you can remember a time when you were fired up about the Lord, but somehow you drifted away. Maybe you’ve become the passive observer at church, showing up but missing the purpose. Maybe somewhere along the line you lost your passion for the Lord. Well, you can have it back, and God wants you to have it back! God wants to revive you. God wants to tune your heartstrings to the melody you were created to play: a dynamic, delightful, genuine relationship with Him. No matter where you are or what you’ve done, no matter what you feel or think you need, the clouds of heaven are now bursting with the favor and fullness God would shower upon the parched, dry places within you. A deluge of dangerous delight in the God who made you is ready to rain down upon you.
Do you need a revival—not in the world, not in our country, not in your church, not in your family, but in you? Do you need a personal, radical, joyful, biblical revival?
There’s only one place to find it.
Lord God, I admit that my soul is too often weary, dry, and lifeless. I need You to revive me, to give me new life, to wake me up again. I choose to return to You; that’s my part. I ask You to revive me; only You can bring fresh life to my soul. Revival isn’t a historical relic. It’s for today, and it’s for me. Revive me, I pray, in Jesus’ name, amen.