Living In Revival
Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936), a Canadian Presbyterian missionary, saw revival all across the areas he preached in throughout North China. With the head of the mission board, he had visited Korea and had seen the great revival going on in that land. He then read Charles G. Finney on revival, and was struck by Finney’s statement that revival was not something unexpected and sudden but was as predictable as harvest following seed time.
"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14).
Goforth took God at His Word, sowed the divine seed and reaped the divine harvest. Men and women whose culture told them that above all they must never "lose face," humbled themselves by the hundreds, confessed publicly sins of greed, immorality, theft, anger, covetousness, wife-beating, and even murder. As a direct result, thousands of unbelievers came to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Some are proclaiming revival today. A revival without repentance, without confession of sin, without restoration of stolen goods and broken relationships, is a spurious revival. It is a revival that results in neither the salvation of the lost, nor in the transformation of Christians’ lives into those that bear the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance….
Those who seek to make temporal gain of the eternal Gospel can never know revival. Instead, the curse of the almighty God rests on them: "…enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:18-20).
Revival consists in getting our minds off earthly things and our minds and spirits focused on heavenly things, glorying in the cross of Christ, "…by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
True revival is a revival of obedience to God. But the Church today little understands the nature of obedience. Obedience is conformity to God and His plans and purposes for us.
True obedience is unlimited obedience, not mere obedience to the Ten Commandments or the written Word, but carefully heeding every word of God to my conscience and my spirit. True obedience has to do not merely with action but with attitude, with motivation, not just what I do, but why I do it.
The only acceptable motivation for heeding God’s voice and doing His will is that of love for Him. True revival must necessarily be also a revival of love for God.
Revival love is a love that consumes the dross. It is a love fed on a lively relationship between God and the instruments or agents of revival. It is a love that inflames and engulfs the recipients of revival – Christians first, and then unbelievers.
It has been said often that revival follows only after prevailing prayer. But what is the nature of such prayer? Is it begging and beseeching an unwilling God to become willing to send revival? No! It is rather, a simple, "Ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
It is true that the recipients of revival may experience revival not because of long seeking after God on their part, but because others have sought it on their behalf. Even the public agents or instruments of revival may not seem to have long sought after God. But be sure of this, someone has!
Such "someones" will not only reap eternal rewards. They will enjoy the delightful presence of God in their lives to the extent that they continue unrelentingly in their search for Him in love.
There is no secret to revival, no spiritual magic. Revival is the miracle of God’s response in love to those who seek Him unrelentingly in love and faith. Resting in God’s loving omnipotence, they see the fruit of their love in the transformation of the lives of others who are encouraged to also seek Him in love.
So brethren and sisters, be on your faces before God! Spend as much time as you must there. "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hos. 10:12).