A good friend recently sent a devotion written by Spurgeon that talks about revival. In reading it, I was reminded of more writing from Spurgeon on the topic. My heart has been stirred.
What do we think of when we say, “We need revival?” What picture comes to mind?
When we look at a prosperous tree planted beside the running waters, roots running deep into the ground, broad green leaves, giving shade from the sun, branches hanging low with bushels of juicy fruit, do we say that the tree needs revival? No, we don’t say that a prosperous tree needs revival. What needs revival is a tree with shallow roots and poor soil. A tree that is sickly, bent over, leaves that hang limp, leaves that are dropping off. A tree that bears no fruit needs revival.
When we see a pair of oxen plowing deeply into a field, overturning row after row of earth from dawn to dusk, do we say these strong healthy animals are in need of revival? No, we don’t say that strong working oxen needs revival. What needs revival is an ox with no feed, lying in the stable, neglected, with sores on its body.
When we see a strong man in his youth, his muscles flexing, a man competing in the Olympics, eyes focused on the finish line, or a soldier fit for combat, trained with excellence, fully fit for hours of marching with a heavy pack, when we see these pictures, do we think those men are in need of revival? No, we don’t say that a man in sound health with every part of his body in a vigorous condition does not need reviving. But, a man that was swimming in the water, has almost drowned, the waves spitting him out onto the shore, pulled out from the depths, his body lifeless and limp, his pulse is weak and his eyelids drooping and his breathing shallow. That is a man that needs revival.
As we examine our lives, not with eyes of an earthly perspective, but with spiritual eyes, what do we see? Do we see strong spiritual soldiers victoriously carrying the banner of Christ? Or, do we see ourselves as unengaged in the battle? Spurgeon notes that Lifeless, lukewarm church men are of no value to a church, they are as a crew of sailors all fainting, weak, and in their bunks when they were needed to hoist the sails or lower the boats or set a course for the new land. Unless God revives us, we are of no value to the church. The true test of the sailing vessel and its crew is not when the ship is sailing under easy weather. The test comes when the storm is upon us. We must get healthy and prepare for the storm. There is a storm on the way.
Why we need to be revived
What has taken life from us? Why do we need to be revived?
- We need revival. Why – It is because of what we have been drinking. We have been drinking from the murky, stagnant pond of the praise of men, we have swallowed from the well of man’s congratulations, we have been lapping, and gulping from the cup of man’s admiration, we glory in the pat on the back, we are intoxicated from drinking in the recognition of men.
- We need revival. Why – It is because of what we have been proclaiming. We have been shouting out the politics of our favorite political party and our favorite politician, we have been shouting in the marketplace and shouting in our home; shouting the praises of sports teams, shouting about human accomplishment, our favorite technical toy.
- We need revival. Why – It is because of our works. We have been working to gain the world’s treasures, we have been digging in the mines of selfishness, we have been working to build castles on sand, we have worked to buy and accumulate worldly goods, we have sought to satisfy our longings with more and more possessions.
- We need revival. Why – It is because of what we have been thinking. We have set our mind towards the philosophy of men, we have set out to find knowledge that may satisfy, we have allowed vanity, and deceit to fill our mind. we have allowed the university to define truth, and the politician to tell us what is right, we have allowed falsehoods to arise. We have allowed entertainment to fill our empty spaces.
- We need revival. Why – It is because of where we have placed our eyes. Our eyes have looked in the eroticism of life, eye-candy, we have sought the pleasures of the pretty, the sensual, we have looked until it seems we have “looked our eyes blind,” we have let our eyes covet our neighbor’s belongings, we have let our eyes look upon lust.
- We need revival. Why – It is because of where we have found satisfaction. We have scoffed and turned our noses at the Lord’s bountiful table of what is good and lovely, we have walked away as though we were full. We have fed hungrily from the rotting disease-ridden garbage heap of the world, we have stuffed our mouths with living for self, feeding on sin, allowing ungodliness, pride, contempt, selfishness, bitterness, and un-forgiveness to satisfy our longings.
- We need revival. Why, MOST IMPORTANTLY – It is because of what we love. Our hearts beat for the pleasures of this world, we love life but not the life-giver, our heart pumps our blood strongly for the purpose of self-promotion, self-worth, and self-love, our passion has only been hot … for ourselves.
We need revival because of our daily diet in the ways of the world, our lack of exercising righteousness, our finding satisfaction in worldly pleasure. Our spirit is weak but our flesh is strong.
Revival is not man-made. By the very definition, the lifeless cannot give themselves life. The man rescued from drowning, lying on the beach with his lungs full of water cannot save himself, he needs someone to revive him. The weak, limp body of the man found unconscious lying in the desert, barely breathing, barely living, cannot feed himself and cannot give himself drink. He needs someone to revive him.
We need God to revive us. He is our only hope. We need to pray that God would do a work in us so that the glory of God becomes our greatest concern, ambition, and our source of pleasure and joy and satisfaction. The things of God need to be our diet and our exercise. Jesus said that His life purpose was to bring glory to the Father, this must be our life purpose. As an Olympian that trains before a race; as a soldier that prepares for a battle, we must set our minds upon God’s glory as the prize. 1 Corinthians 10:31 commands that whatever we do, it should be done to the glory of God! Let’s pray for a work of God in our lives, for His glory and for our joy.