When someone mentions the word “revival,” there's a certain level of jadedness that comes with it. Perhaps it's because through the years of religious cultural development in our generation, we, as a global church and congregation started to cheapen the power and purpose by correlating it with programs and events. Thus alluding to the fact that it is man-driven and emotionally given.
As the Western church continued to magnify its programs and pews, the term "revival" began to lose its core identity. It became nothing more than an emotional expection — it was a breakdown, a moment of self-pity, letting out a few apologies and "please forgive me". Then we leave feeling better about ourselves, ready to take on the new week with a new attitude because we were free from our guilt of lackluster Christianity. For most of us, the determination to be a better Christian never lasted for more than a week, and I believe that it's because we don't truly give ourselves over to Christ in that moment of humility.
Revival is not only an emotional stir within the heart, it is an outcry of repentance.
It is not a program; it is not something that happens when our church puts together an event that has a catchy message or catchphrase about God, love, and personal growth. It is through the confessing of sins; the prompting of the Holy Spirit; and the professing of our Lord Jesus Christ as the author of our lives. Revival happens when we give Christ all authority in and under Heaven to ruin our lives in a such a way that elevates His will and not ours. When we give the Holy Spirit that much leadership, revival is inevitable. And when the Holy Spirit leads, revival often precedes movement.
Acts 3:19 instructs us to “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of REFRESHING may come from the Lord.”
I take “times of refreshing” as a modern day interpretation to revival. And as you can see, we are told to “repent” first AND turn to God [which means to no longer sin; to no longer conform], then refreshing will come.
So the next time we talk about “needing a revival," let us consider the cost: to turn away from sin indefinitely, pursue holiness, fight principalities, and make disciples. This is revival; this is movement.