We’re having a revival. Why? Because it’s revival time? No. Because in your “Your Participation Matters” comments, enough of you asked for it in as many words that we figured we’d better pay attention. “Revival.” “Fresh move of the Spirit.” “An awakening.” Those were some of the words you used. There was a sense of disengagement, sleepiness, partial involvement going on. “I’ll raise my hand but please don’t call on me.” Kind of half in, half out — the lukewarm spiritual fervor that Jesus said would make Him throw up. As if grace had gone dormant.
So what are we going to do in our revival? Well, we’re not sure because we’ve never done this before; we just know that we are asking for the Holy Spirit to come and breathe on these dry bones, and in our planning, we can’t plan everything.
But Hebrews may be giving us a clue. After talking about some of the heroes of the faith in chapter 11, and making them all witnesses to our own faith journeys, what does the writer talk about but our struggle with sin and the Lord’s discipline of those He loves.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:4-6 (Proverbs 3:11-12)
So what does this say for us? It says that if we want revival, it starts with facing the demons in our lives. It starts with confession and repentance. Confession is agreeing with God that some attitude or behavior is indeed against the will of God, and repentance manifests a willingness to turn from that unhealthy practice and come open and vulnerable to the Lord. It’s kind of like a spring cleaning.
My son is switching rooms. He’s clearing out all the stuff in one room so he can move all his stuff in. The problem with this is that both rooms were messy to start with, so we’re basically switching messes. I’m trying to get him to consider getting rid of what he doesn’t need anymore so he can start out fresh in the new room.
Revival is a little like that. Let us “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” and basically let the Holy Spirit clean house. Get rid of what you don’t need.
What do you need to throw out? What hinders your faith? The comfortable chair? The couch? The television? Is there something that dominates your time and attention that has little or nothing to do with the kingdom of God? Throw it off.
Are you tangled up in some sin — a fantasy, a regret, a grudge, a lie, a worry, a hatred that’s eating you up inside? What are you going to do about it? Throw it off. This is how revival begins. We make room for the Holy Spirit. Breathe, oh breath of God now breathe.
Come Holy Spirit.