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One of the great problems in today's emphases on "revival" is that all too often we are looking for it because of what we perceive "revival" can do for US. Our thinking never rises much above the benefits of revival to men:
"When revival comes the church will grow. When revival comes the church will be notable again in society. When revival comes our 'worship experiences' will be moving ... our service will be exciting ... I'll be healed ... I'll have victory over sin and real assurance of salvation ... my Christian walk will come alive ..." and so on.
If these are our primary motivations for seeking an outpouring of the Spirit of God, this could well be the greatest obstacle to us ever seeing genuine revival!
Now don't get me wrong, I have no doubt that true revival IS the great need of the hour. And I believe that if God visits us with such a sovereign move of His Spirit then all the benefits listed above (and more) will result. BUT I put it to you that the real purpose of revival is not for the entertainment or comforting of Christians, nor for the glory of the Church; the real goal of any revival that the Holy Spirit shall have any part in is THE GLORY OF GOD HIMSELF.
"Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at YOUR presence - As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil - To make YOUR Name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at YOUR presence." Isaiah 64:1-2
Furthermore, if and when revival comes, anyone who has imagined it will be altogether "joyous and lovely" may initially be rather shocked at the reality of the Spirit's work. A fresh revelation of the true nature of our infinitely holy God shouldn't be expected to come like a warm embrace, but more like the "hammer that breaks the rocks in pieces" Jeremiah 23:29
When Isaiah saw the Lord in His holiness, his immediate grief-stricken response was to cry out: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;" - Is. 6:5. Yes, revival will bring joy and assurance - but not before it has brought weeping in repentance.
Let us seek revival with all our hearts - not for how we perceive it might thrill us or meet our needs, but in the humble belief that without revival our condition is grievous to God and He is refused the glory that rightly belongs to Him in the church and in the world around us. Let us seek revival FOR GOD'S SAKE!
by Philip Morgan AOG pastor Tasmania
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Appeared in Volume 4.1 January/February 1998
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