Have you ever stopped to think about what it takes for you to change? Are you the kind of person who needs to experience severe pain to change? Does a disaster drive you to God or away from Him?
A friend recently told me that sometimes it takes a tragedy for him to change. He said the biggest obstacle in his life to change and more reliance on God is his success and affluence. He said that his walk with God would likely improve if he drove home and found his house on fire and hurt his leg getting out of his vehicle. I joked that I would be willing to break his knee cap and set his house on fire if that would help.
My friend has a good point. One of the biggest challenges that American Christians face is our wealth. Even in the current economic downturn, we are still better off economically than most people on the planet. When things are going well, we can relegate God to the edge of our lives. We put necessary changes on the to-do list and never get to them.
Honestly, I find that I am a lot like my friend. Pain can be a great motivator to do things and refocus my attention on God. May 2010 be a year of personal discipline and proper priorities for me without requiring a tragedy to spur it on.
Revival is a curious thing. All Christians seem to think different things when they hear that word. Some think of tent meetings or prayer gatherings. Others think about miraculous signs and wonders. Others think about famous preachers who tell it like it is. Still others talk about great evangelistic crusades, the Great Awakening or missions efforts to spread the Gospel.
I have thought about what revival means to me after a good friend asked me two hard questions this past weekend. He asked, “Are you really ready for revival?” Then he asked, “What do you think revial would look like in your life and your local church?”
Wow! Those are tough questions.
I would like to say that I am ready for revival but I know that I struggle to fully trust with everything all the time. And I know that revival starts with trust. I must abandon my will over to God’s divine purposes for my life. That is hard to do, especially in the moment when He asks us to sacrifice something that we hold dear.
The last question may be even harder because revival can look so different depending on the person and the local congregation. Here are some things that I came up with while discussing the topic with friends.
Revival in my church (and my life) would look like…
- Greater unity and a coming together of various age and culture groups
- Repentance, prayer and brokenness
- Less negative talk and more words of faith
- Abandonment to do whatever God asks without complaining
- Deeper commitment to spiritual disciplines
- Hunger for more supernatural encounters that require us to live by faith
- Increased vision and heart for the lost and spiritually wounded in our community
- Commitment to make Jesus number one in every aspect of life
- Using spiritual gifts and equipping all believers to serve
- Deepen mentoring and discipleship relationships as spiritual fathers and mothers raise up the young in the faith
- Looking for opportunities to serve those who are marginalized, poor or oppressed
- Walking in humility as we relate to those outside of the church
- Seeking to reconcile with those we have hurt or hurt us in the past
- Tearing down institutional idols and mindsets that keep us from reaching our culture for Christ