Revival: Lessons in Living with Jesus
We’ve spent this summer at ABC learning about Revival. Revival is a tricky thing. It means a lot of different things to different people. People who have been in church for a long time may think of fiery preachers calling for sinners to repent and altar calls in a packed-out church service on a muggy, summer night. Those who don’t have the old school, been-in-church-forever experience may not know what revival even means or think of revival as literally reviving a person (i.e. like CPR or medics with paddles shocking back to life). The word ‘revival’ has a boatload of nuances.
Revival can be an upswing or turn for the better. When the church is revived, it is working together, pursuing a common purpose, more as Christ commanded it to be. Just take a peek at Acts 2:42-47 for a picture of what a revived Church looks like. A common passion for sharing, caring, and daring that links the Christ-followers/witnesses together, brings them closer to one another, and makes others turn to Christ is what marks the revived church here.
Revival is when something becomes popular or active again. In Nehemiah (Chapter 8), the group of Israelites who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city heard the Law of God for the first time in a long time-- really heard it and owned what it asked of them. It changed their perspective and their faith became active again. That is revival.
Revival is also a reawakening or restoration of mental or bodily vigor (vigor is health and alertness, in case you were wondering :-) ). Think of those whom Jesus healed (e.g. John 4 and 5, Luke 5). They couldn’t keep it to themselves, even when he asked them to do so! Their revival was so exciting and important and transformational that they shared it with those around them. Their excitement was contagious!
As a church (both a specific congregation of people) and “the Church” (all Christians world-wide), we need to be always revived. That is the mission for us. We’re secure in the fact that Christ has saved us, and we’ve got peace and confidence that God loves us. That’s a good thing! That can turn into comfortable habit and lazy confidence, if we don’t take care to stay revived. And that habit and lazy confidence isn’t where we’re supposed to be if we’re following Christ. See his words to all sorts of leaders and devout people throughout his ministry if you don’t believe me! According to www.historyrevealed.com, the term “resting on your laurels” is a phrase that means, “...that you get lazy or complacent about what you could achieve because you're too busy basking in the memories of former glories.” Oh no, Church! Let’s not be that!
Revival is something we need as Christ followers. Here is what it is: Revival is a renewed passion, excitement, and drive towards who God is, what Christ taught and did, and living those things out as a committed follower of Jesus here and now in the time and location in which God has placed us. Phew, that was a mouthful! Constant revival is what we are to be pursuing as God’s people. Are you in?
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