We had an incredible week of Bible conference at Bob Jones. The anticipation of what God was going to do this week was building all semester, especially since the focus was revival. My guess is that’s how many others felt coming into the conference as well, but I’m curious how many left this week feeling like it was slightly anticlimactic. No doubt the messages were stirring, but I think many are already disappointed just a day or two later as they see that initial excitement start to fade. Maybe you’re frustrated because you already slipped back into apathy or a dominating sin that you were so hoping to be rid of after this conference. You feel let down, already hopeless for what you were so hopeful for less than a week ago.
I want to encourage you. God can still work in a big way in your life, but you may have some misconceptions about how God’s going to do it.
Revival means having to make a decision.
It could be that we’ve started to hope for God to work in such a way that we’ll be so overwhelmed by His power that we’ll be automatically blown into a whole new realm of spirituality. Like, we’re hoping to be rid of sin and apathy, but we’re not ready to get rid of sin because we’re waiting for God to do all the work.
The reality, though, is you shouldn’t expect much to happen in your life if you’re just waiting for God to move you. As conviction of sin is brought, you need to respond. If you hear the Spirit’s whisper, submit or you’ll never see God do the work you’ve been waiting for. Revival is taking advantage of the decisions God has placed before you. Choose Him.
Revival means having to make many really hard decisions.
You need to kill the false hope that a life on fire for God can come without placing your life on the altar everyday, an altar that is incredibly hot and intimidating. The only people on fire for God are the ones who are constantly scorching their flesh.
A living sacrifice for God? That’s a hard decision. But no one follows Christ without having to face the parts of their life that won’t go without a fight. If you want God to work, you’ll drag those parts of your life on the altar even though they’re kicking and screaming. Maybe you understand that revival means making a decision to follow God, but it comes through many very difficult decisions. You can’t just at one point grit your teeth and throw yourself on the altar. You’ll need to continually place yourself there even while the flames are hot.
Revival means plowing in prayer until there’s power.
The bottom line is that if you want God to work then you should want to pray because God works through prayer. In other words, to refuse prayer is to refuse God’s work. If you want Him to stir up your soul, go sit at His feet. This may be the Spirit’s whisper that you need to start submitting to: “Go pray!”
The only way this week is going to impact you much a month from now or a year from now is if you start falling on your knees. There’s not much time left this semester. Maybe it’s time you grab a friend and start praying more than you ever have in your life for God to work more than He ever has in your life. Trust that God uses intensified prayers to intensify His work. Many things are worthy of regret, but prayer is not one of those things.
I write these three points because I’m needing to take them to heart. But that’s me. Some of you might already be plowing in prayer but you’ve been neglecting God’s Word. This isn’t a sure-fire formula for fervency. Ultimately, I’m saying if you want God to work, submit to the way He wants to do it. That submission will be hard, and it’ll need to be continual. But God gives the grace, and the result is worth it. In fact, although it will be hard, God will do something far better than anything you could ask or think.
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” (Luke 9:23)