Lately, I’ve been thinking about revival . Interestingly enough, I read a post on Face Book the other day about just that. The author said that he believed that the reason the “church” isn’t seeing revival today is because of a lack of unity. Others I have talked with have their own views on the subject as well. While I am respectful of the opinions of others, I find that my own take on the subject of revival is quite different from those with whom I have spoken. You see, I believe massive revival is happening right now, here in America and across the globe. The trouble is that it doesn’t look like what most folks think it should.
I believe there are striking similarities between 1st century Judaism and the religious system(s) of modern day “Christianity.” One of the largest, and perhaps most obvious has to do with expectation. Jesus was not the Messiah that the majority of people of his day had come to expect. And likewise, he is not “behaving” in the manner that many believe he should today. Consequently, revival runs contrary to the expectations of many in the “church.” Centuries of Jewish tradition had integrated itself with the true worship of YHWH, and as a result, the vast majority failed to recognize the appearance of Messiah. In like manner, centuries of religious tradition within the “church” have blinded many to the move of God’s Spirit today, i.e., revival.
Biblically, revival is defined as : live again, recover life, to be restored to a correct life, regain strength and vigor, be restored to life or health, to cause to grow. And this is happening in the lives of God’s people right now. Countless are those who are crying out to the Lord, falling in love with Jesus like never before, seeing the body of Christ in a “new” way, desiring to be increasingly filled with his Spirit, and saying, “I consider it all loss that I may know Him!” They are considering anew what it means that they are in Christ even as He is in them. They are experiencing revival! Where it becomes “problematic” is that as the Church is experiencing revival, she more often than not finds herself at odds with the “church.”
Just as Jesus turned the religious world of his day upside down, revival within God’s people is having the same effect upon the religious system(s) of today. Jesus challenged his listeners to separate themselves from the accepted religious norm, and to begin worshiping God in spirit and truth. And so it is with the revival in the Church today. Perhaps we are not seeing disunity in the “church” as much as we are a separation. We would do well to remember that while Jesus may not revive systems, he is definitely reviving his people.
Allow me to leave you with the following pericope; I believe there is a correlation:
“Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.’ He answered them, ‘And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, ‘What you would have gained from me is given to God,’ he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
And he called the people to him and said to them, ‘Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.’ Then the disciples came and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?’ He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.’ “