For the past six months, I have been consumed with the desire to experience a true Spirit-led revival. I am not talking about having a series of meetings or experiencing some emotional response that quickly fades away.
I am talking about an experience that turns my life upside down and leaves me with my soul afire to do the work of God as He desires that work to be done. As I started seeking this intense rekindling of my soul, I found myself standing before a deep chasm between where I was, and where I wanted to be.
Even with my 30-plus years in ministry, I found myself confused and clueless about how to span that gap.
I knew that the previous methods I have tried seemed futile. But what can I do differently to lead my church, my community and myself to where I feel God leading us to go?
As I studied past revivals, read from respected leaders who had experienced true revival and prayed about what God wanted me to do, I came up with a list of what we need to have to prepare ourselves for that powerful movement I believe God wants all His people to experience. (This list is not comprehensive, nor is it a step-by-step process. I liken it more to Paul’s description of the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 where each element must exist together.)
See list included below.
Elements of revival
1. An earnest passion to know God better. A Christian’s No. 1 relationship should always be that relationship with God, but too often we fail to keep that relationship fresh and vibrant. We take God for granted and forget to spend quality time with Him on a daily basis.
We must have a passion to get to know Him better by reading His Word, praying to Him and leaning on Him for all decisions and directions for our lives.
2. A sincere and prayerful desire for God to make incredible changes in your life. True revival will always drastically change our lives. If we are unwilling to allow Him to change our lives to coincide with His perfect plan for us, we probably are not going to experience revival.
We must totally surrender to Him to allow Him to move.
3. A totally repentant spirit. Probably the biggest obstacle to true revival is the existence of sin in our lives. We all sin, but God gives us the privilege of asking Him for His forgiveness any time we choose.
Asking for forgiveness is the first part of repentance, but it must also be accompanied by an earnest effort to stop committing the sins that we are engaging in.
4. A serious and sober attitude to the things of God. While our Christian life should be an incredibly joyful one, our approach to godly things should be approached seriously and carefully while maintaining the joy that comes from having a relationship with Him.
5. A steadfast goal to do the things God desires all of us to do. This is similar to No. 1 which tells us to have a strong relationship with God, but this one also includes our dealings with others.
Are we telling others about God?
Are we looking for opportunities to be the hands and feet of God?
Are we looking to help the hungry, thirsty, naked or in prison (Matthew 25:37-40)?
6. A drive to make straight the parts of our lives that are running a crooked path. We may be earnestly seeking to do many of the things on this list, but there are some things we do that the world says is okay while God would not agree with.
These include things like taking items from work that no one would miss, driving five miles over the speed limit because law enforcement probably wouldn’t write a ticket for that, and not notifying the store or restaurant when we realize we were not charged for something. These are called sins, and God demands that we walk the straight path.
7. A single-sighted desire to do the specific work or ministry God created you for. God has created us for a purpose. My purpose is to minister to others in the name of Jesus Christ. There is nothing more important than that, but are we allowing other things to divert us from that purpose? As pastors, are we allowing things to interfere with that purpose? We must put first things first.
I am so excited to see what God is going to do in the hearts of His people!
Things like the Asbury revival, reports of evangelistic successes and churches growing and prospering are clear evidence that God is not done with us yet. Praise Him for His faithfulness!
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dave Walsh is pastor of Ariton Baptist Church in Alabama and has been married to his wife, Tracy, for nearly 40 years.