There is no exact formula for revival. Good works or moralism cannot produce salvation or revival. Following a checklist doesn’t obligate the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.
But even though there is no formula for revival, there there are prerequisites—conditions to being able to receive the grace we needThere is no exact formula for revival, but there are biblical prerequisites. Click To Tweet
You see, if we are to experience revival, we must receive God’s grace. His grace is freely given, but James 4 tells us of some conditions that must be met in order for it to be received.
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:6–8)
1. Humility with God
There is no doubt that God’s grace is available. God tells us plainly that He gives more grace. In fact, there is always enough grace with God. The question is: are we ready and able to receive it?There is always enough grace with God. The question is: are we ready and able to receive it? Click To Tweet
When we are proud, we cannot receive God’s grace. He resists the proud. If you want God fighting against you, be proud.
But while God declares He resists the proud, He promises to bless the humble. While those who exalt themselves against God are resisted, those who humble themselves before Him are welcomed.
Humility is not walking around dejectedly; it is a joyful realization of our need for God and a simple dependence upon His promised grace.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)
2. Submission to God
Christians who claim to want revival must sooner or later face the real questions: “Do I really want to follow God? And what if His will runs contrary to mine?”Christians who claim to want revival must sooner or later face the real question: Do I really want to follow God? Click To Tweet
Humble Christians don’t say “no” to God. They may have seasons of uncertainty in discerning God’s will, but even while seeking it, their posture is already one of obedience and surrender.
The word submit in James 4:7 means “to place under.” It is a call to place ourselves under God’s authority. From this position of yieldedness to God, it follows that we will also “resist Satan.”
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
3. A Pursuit of God
Revival is not seeking something, it is seeking someone. We can have no revival without first and foremost seeking to know God.We can have no revival without first and foremost seeking to know God. Click To Tweet
Amazingly, God both invites and promises, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw night to you.”
Revival is not a game; it is the invitation of God to intimacy. He desires your closeness to Him.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Our need to pursue God doesn’t fade through years of walking with Him; it intensifies. You can almost hear the yearning in the apostle Paul’s voice as you read his words to the church at Philippi,
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)
That I may know Him…is that the passion and pursuit of your heart?
If it is, it will most certainly lead you to “cleanse your hands” and “purify your hearts,” as James 4:8 instructs. As we draw near to God, we recognize the worthlessness of the sins we easily hold dear, and we let them go as we reach for fellowship with God.
The Normal Christian Life
I think too many of us think of the normal Christian life as one characterized by lukewarmness and frequent sinful lapses with occasional interruptions of revival.
God’s plan for us is the opposite. The normal Christian life is to be a revived life—a life overflowing with God’s grace through a humble, surrendered Christian who is earnestly seeking God.