About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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An Answer For Drifters

When thinking of revivals in the past, I wonder if our memories are sometimes clouded by romantic visions that are not based in the reality of what actually happened. We remember the feelings of ecstasy, and all the good times we had. We may tend to forget the work that was involved, all the extra meetings we attended, and the work of discipling others into the things of God. Do we remember these things when we wish those days back, or do we simply remember "the good old days"?

I once heard a pastor describe revival as a window of opportunity that opens from the Lord. He compared it to the Space Shuttle. There are certain windows of opportunity when the shuttle can lift off from the earth. If one window is missed, then everyone waits for the next window to appear. This pastor concluded by saying, "so it is with revival. We wait until that window of opportunity comes when God pours out His Spirit and revives His people." I too believe in the sovereignty of God. He decides what to do and when to do it. I also believe that we have a role to play in bringing about revival as well.

It is important for us to understand the personal side of revival and the role we must play. If not, we may lose our focus and begin to drift. Unless our focus on things remains constant, the natural tendency is to slowly drift away. As we drift away from the excitement and activity of revival, so revival drifts away from us. Revival then becomes a memory from the distant past, while our attention turns elsewhere.

I was part of a major international revival that swept the world in the 1960s and 70s called the Charismatic Movement. As I look back, by the 1980s, the revival was almost over. Many of us in the meantime had gotten married, had children, bought TVs, stereos, and houses to put them in. Our attention drifted from the activity of revival to the activity of living. As the activity of living took first place in our thinking, revival faded, leaving only our romantic memories of the glory days of the 1970s.

We may say that revival was replaced by maturity. I don’t doubt that we have grown in the Lord. I just wonder about our first love, the sparkle in our eyes, and the joy in our hearts at what the Lord has done. The question then is asked, "How does revival return?" Is it a sovereign move of God, or do we have a role to play?

Beyond praying, I think there is something we can do about the dullness that may have set into our lives. The answer can be found in Revelation 2:4,5 where it says, "you have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." These words were spoken by Jesus to the church at Ephesus. The people there had forsaken their first love for Jesus. In response, the Lord told them to do two simple things: One was to repent, to change the direction and focus of their lives. The other was to do the things they did at first. This is interesting. Jesus did not say, "wait until I pour out my Spirit on you again." He just told them to do the things they used to do. We can take from this that once they began to do these things, their first love would naturally return.

The same would hold true for any of us who may have fallen from our first love. Perhaps we have not fallen as far as the Ephesians. Maybe the fire has turned to a flicker. Whatever the case, we need to do two things: Repent, and do the things we used to do. Both are choices we must make. We don’t do them because we feel like it. We just do them. The feelings and the passion come as a result of doing these things..

We may have to do those things in a way that is more suitable to our generation. The hippie days of the 1970’s are over. Let’s be relevant about the things we do. I don’t think that Jesus wants us to copy what we did at first. He wants us to be involved in His work like we were in the beginning years of our faith. For example, if you used to share your faith, share your faith now in a way that is meaningful. Whatever you did, assuming it is still possible and relevant , do it again. Being involved in the Lord’s work again is a key to personal revival according to this scripture.

As we pray for God’s supernatural outpouring of His Sprit, let us become involved in doing the Lord’s work. As a result revival will return, and the circle of revived people can grow larger.

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