Last week I challenged you to pray. I hope and pray that you are taking that challenge seriously. I find myself longing to see God move in our congregation. Such a longing comes with great trepidation, however. What happens when God moves? The truth is that whenever God moves in significant ways, He always demands a significant response from His people. If we do not respond, then we do not need revival. Throughout history, God has called out His people to do great things in response to a move of the Holy Spirit. How will you respond?
In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit fell on a group of disillusioned, wary disciples who were uncertain of what to do. Their response was significant. In the power of the Holy Spirit, they responded. They left their fear and anxiety behind and became the apostles of the early church. Their preaching and radically transformed lives radically transformed their culture. It was so radical that thousands of people were added to their number as a result of their witness for Christ. Their response to the move of the Holy Spirit would ultimately lead them boldly down a road of persecution, even martyrdom. That is what you call a significant response.
Martin Luther’s response to the move of the Holy Spirit in his life was just as radical. As God began to deal with him regarding the injustices and heresy of the Roman Catholic Church, Luther’s response was to go after the most powerful entity in world – the papacy. His response led to a life of controversy and excommunication.
In the Great Awakening that burned across New England in the 18th Century, entire towns were converted as a result of God’s move. The response to that particular move of God was most notably repentance. Nathaniel Danforth, a pastor from Salem, Massachusetts described the response to God’s move this way,
…for some months together, you should scarcely see anybody at the taverns, unless they were strangers, travelers, or some come there upon necessary business. The children forsook their plays in the streets, and persons of all denominations, except a few, gave themselves to the reading of the word of God, and other books of devotion, to meditation, prayer, conference, and other religious exercises, and refrained from their customary vices.
Could it be that we do not see great moves of God today because we’re not prepared to be the stewards of those movements? Could it be that God withholds His richest blessings because we misinterpret His blessings as interruptions to our comfortable existence?
Every significant revival has resulted in a break in the status quo. People changed. Churches changed. Communities changed. We must recognize that a prayer for revival is a dangerous prayer if we’re satisfied with the status quo. But if you’re restless and discontent; if your soul is parched, longing for an outpouring of living water; if you are ready to respond to the move of God, then let us be like Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord who said, “I won’t let go till you bless me.” Only our request should be, “I let go until you send revival.”
Revive Us Again!