Many different movements within the church are hungry for revival. We have studied the revivals of the past, and have prophesied the revivals of the future. But where is the revival of today? Why are we not currently experiencing revival, and why do the heavens over America seem as brass? The Holy Spirit seems to be moving in other nations, but only at a minimal level in America. First we must define what true revival is.
True revival is the Lord coming in His own way and doing what He wants. It is a turning of hearts to the Lord, and a transformation into His image. Jesus reviving the hearts of believers for Himself, and bringing people into the Kingdom who are dead in their sins. A true revival must not be focused on revival itself, but upon Christ who is the reviving One.
In order to have true revival, we must have Christ at the center. Focusing on an individual movement or church will not sustain revival, it will kill it. Placing the attention on the gifts of God, healings, miracles, and manifestations of the Holy Spirit; will not maintain revival. Drawing near to the One who does the reviving is the answer. Becoming one with Jesus and being transformed into His image is the goal of revival. It is what will cause revival to become an ongoing lifestyle.
The Greatest Revival
The most powerful revival of all time is often the most overlooked in our studies of revival history. This would be the revival that Jesus conducted during His earthly ministry. In three and a half years, tens of thousands were healed and delivered. Many had turned to God from the great display of power and miracles. With out a doubt, Jesus performed perfectly and conducted His ministry better than any person before or after Him.
But did the greatest revivalist of all time turn the entire nation back to God? Did the massive revival of signs, wonders, and miracles transform the entire nation? The answer is obviously, no. Thousands were converted and became followers of Jesus, but millions did not repent and turn to the Lord. Outward manifestations of power do not have the capacity to change people from the inside out, only Christ does. Many thousands saw demonstrations of the Holy Spirit and power, but did not really want to know the Lord. Outward manifestations are intended to lead us into an inward encounter with the living God. However many choose not to go down that path and therefore are never changed.
The greatest revival in history did not cause the nation, as a whole, to repent. Therefore judgment came upon them. In Luke 19:41-44, Jesus prophesied judgment over Jerusalem. That prophesy came to pass in 70 A.D. with the death of one million Jews. The remainder were then driven to the nations where they would be persecuted and killed for the next 1,900 years.
My point is this: outward revival and manifestations of power will never bring a nation to fullness. This is what the Lord is teaching us through revival history. Only when we embrace the cross of Christ (which is the sufferings of Christ), and the inward journey of the Spirit; will we have true revival. As we behold the glory of the Lord in the Spirit, His glory will reflect back upon us and transform us into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is how revival is sustained.
The church in America seems to believe that if we could just have one more grand revival, a third great awakening; then the whole nation would turn back to God. We think that signs, wonders, and miracles will cause a backslidden nation to repent. But we forgot about Jesus' ministry, and we forget about the 1940's and 1950's healing revivals in America. The Lord used many evangelists in great demonstrations of His miracle working power. Tens of thousands were saved, healed, and delivered; but America as a nation slipped further away from the Lord. America did not repent. I pray we can see the truth and learn from history.
The Deception of Gifting
We often believe that when a minister is more anointed or has a great gifting, that that person is more favored by the Lord. Christians believe that an anointed minister is more special to the Lord, then they themselves are to Him. Nothing can be further from the truth. Gifting is given in correlation with an assignment, not because someone is special or more favored. A gift is something that is not earned or merited. It's simply a present. Great power given to a person, is not the confirming evidence that the Lord uses to show that He is pleased with their lifestyle.
Amy Simple McPherson was given a powerful gift that moved crowds and caused many to come into the Kingdom. Yet her personal life was plagued with drama, poor decisions, and divorce. She did not end well. The Lord loved her, but was not pleased with a number of things in her lifestyle. The Lord's anointing on her was not His endorsement of her character and personal life. It was a gift given to her for an assignment. His gifts and callings are without repentance. Remember, the Lord can even put a gift on a donkey and cause it to speak. The gift that causes the donkey to speak doesn't make the donkey special. The donkey is still just a donkey. It's the One who gives the gift that is special.
John Alexander Dowie had one of the most powerful ministries of healing in the modern day. Yet towards the end of his life, he drifted into great deception. He believed he was Elijah and he also built a city for himself. The Lord's healing power operating through Dowie was not the Lord's endorsement of Dowie's personal life. One can be highly anointed by the Lord, and barely make it to Heaven. Our place in Heaven for eternity is not determined by how much power we operated in while living in this age. It is determined by how well we know the Lord and how much we become like Him. Many who have operated in great power, do not really know the Lord. Just because a person operates in a powerful gift, does not mean they have His character and nature. Only those who have become like Him, will be close to Him in the age to come. Anointed ministers in this age, who use their anointing to draw people to themselves or their ministry, will be the furthest from the Lord in the age to come.
Samson had a great anointing on his life, but his personal life was displeasing to the Lord. Instead of becoming a respectable judge and leader of Israel, he spent much of his time yielding to the lust of the flesh. He gave himself over to a lustful lifestyle with women. Even in his deep sin, Samson's anointing remained functioning. However, after years of unrepentant sin, the anointing finally lifted from his life. And the sad thing about it was, Samson didn't even know it. Samson was defeated by the enemy because the Lord had departed from him. The giftedness of a vessel does not equal approval from the Lord.
If we are going to have true revival, we must recognize what true revival is: knowing the Lord and fully walking with Him so that He can live through us. Signs, wonders, and works of power are good and necessary; but they should never be the foundation of revival. Intimacy and image are the foundations.
The Farmer and the Apostle
Once upon a time there was an apostle to the nations. People would travel from all over to hear him preach, and many miracles would occur in his meetings. The apostle was very gifted and anointed. He spent the majority of his time in conferences, traveling, equipping the saints, working miracles, studying for his doctorate, and running his ministry. This left only a little time for him to spend in the secret place with the Lord each week.
Once upon a time there was a farmer. The farmer worked many hours each week. But during those long lonely days by himself, he sought the Lord. The farmer prayed to the Lord while he drove to check his cattle. He worshiped the Lord while he was planting his crops. He would meditate on the scriptures during his lunch break, simply to see Jesus more clearly and know Him more fully. He even found time to wait upon the Lord on most days. The presence of the Lord became his passion, and pursuing intimacy with the Lord became his life. The farmer's whole-hearted intersession ascended before the throne of God and was pleasing in the Lord's sight.
Many people showed the apostle great honor and respect. He was talked about and lifted up by many of the saints. Some often spoke about how good of a speaker he was, or how funny and entertaining he was. Others showed him honor because of the powerful gifts of the Spirit that were functioning in his ministry. He was highly exalted by much of the church. Many believers desired to be like him and have a ministry like his. His success became the goal of many saints.
No one noticed the farmer. When he spoke about the Lord, few listened. When wrote an article for the benefit of others, few read it. The farmer longed to see people come into an intimate relationship with the Lord like he had, but very few people took him seriously. He was not operating in powerful gifts so no one followed him. The farmer did not have a ministry degree so no one received him.
Finally, the farmer and the apostle left their physical bodies and were standing before the throne in Heaven. The Lord showed the apostle his place in Heaven and the apostle was disappointed that His final position wasn't closer to the throne. Knowing his thoughts the Lord answered, "I'm very pleased with how you conducted your ministry while on the earth. Many people were saved, healed, and delivered. Many nations were impacted for my Kingdom. You never compromised your integrity and always stayed true to My word. This one thing you lack, you don't know me very well." The apostle stood dumbfounded and then protested, "But Lord, your Spirit was upon me to perform all those works and to engage in all of that ministry. I always felt you anointed me because we were close." The Lord replied, " I was upon you for ministry but you did not draw near to me in the secret place as often as you should have. During your younger years I saw you a lot more, but as you progressed in ministry and became busy; I saw you less and less. These thrones around my throne are reserved for those who knew me intimately while walking on the earth. The place next to me is for those that longed for my presence more than anything else in life. They lived here close to me, even while on the earth. Many were unknown upon the earth, but were known by Me and My Father; because they hungered for us in the secret place." The apostle, clearing grieving, took his lower position. His position was not among the least in Heaven, but it was not among the greatest.
Then the Lord called the farmer forward and revealed to him his throne which was in close proximity to the Lord. The farmer, weeping, fell at the Lord's feet. "How do I deserve this high honor," the farmer choked out. The Lord pulled the farmer to his feet and gazed into his eyes. "You made time for me," the Lord stated in simplicity. "Yes Lord," said the farmer, "but I did very little for your kingdom. So few even listened to me. I feel that my impact was minimal." The Lord replied, "You impacted my heart greatly. The most important thing you can ever do while on the earth is to impact my heart. Every time you secreted yourself away with me, you came here before my throne. Your natural eyes could not see it, but you were really here. Everyday I could not wait for you to come, as you brought me much pleasure. You made me your first love. Because of this, you will now be near my throne for eternity. This is your reward." So the farmer took his seat near the throne of God.
With large churches and international ministries at the forefront of the 21st century church, much of our attention seems to focus on the leaders. Much of the church highly values anointing and speaking gifts. It is not wrong to value the gifts that the Lord gives people. However when we focus more on the gifts of the Lord than the Lord of the gifts, we start down the path of idolatry. This is exactly how the church has drifted from true revival. Our eyes have shifted from the One who is revival, to the gifts and manifestations of revival.
The church has shown great honor and respect to its anointed leaders. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are highly exalted in the current church. It is absolutely right to honor leaders as the Bible clearly teaches. However there is a difference between honoring a leader and exalting a leader. If we talk about, think about, and are more dedicated to a leader and his/her ministry than we are Christ; something is very wrong. We must honor the leader without giving that leader a place that only Christ should have. A good leader will always point to Christ, and not himself or his ministry.
When we honor leaders more than we honor the Lord, we worship man. When we are more focused on the ministry of a man, and having a man's hands laid on us for prayer; then we are missing the Lord. The assignment of every leader in the body of Christ is to bring people into an intimate relationship with Christ, in which the believer is not as dependent on the leader. Christ's influence must increase and the leader's influence must decrease. If leaders are spending more time pointing people to their ministry than they are seeing Christ formed in people; then the attention of the people will normally be more focused on the leader and his ministry. Christ will be eclipsed and revival hindered.
We will never achieve true revival by honoring men over the Lord. We give honor to whom honor is due. We honor leaders, but we should be honoring the Lord at a much greater level. Our focus must be on Him and not man if we are to go on into true revival.
Many times we do not recognize those in the body of Christ who truly should be honored. The farmer who spends many hours a week in the secret place of the Lord's presence is shown very little honor compared to the international apostle who has a gift from the Lord. We honor gifting over relationship. Something is seriously wrong with our way of thinking. We show no honor to the Lord's intimate friend, and great honor to a person who the Lord has given a powerful gift. Gifts can be given to anyone and they don't make a person special. Friendship is only earned through an intimate relationship. You are not friends with someone because you say you are. You are friends with someone because you have spent many hours with that person developing a relationship. The Lord favors those who actually spend time with Him. He loves everyone the same, but you can increase in favor with the Lord if you come before His throne desiring to know Him. Not every one desires Him, so they will only know Him at a distance. He reserves His highest favor for those who actually seek an intimate friendship with Him.
The culture of this world, and the spirit of this age values talented gifting over an intimate relationship. Heaven values an intimate relationship over talented gifting. Gifting is not bad, but it must have a foundation of intimate relationship to be healthy. We need to see with our spiritual eyes, and value the things that Heaven values over the things that the world values. The church is presently so carnal and immature that we honor gifted men over intimate friends of God. This is another reason why the church in America has been stuck, and has not been advancing into true revival.
Why Revival Tarries
“Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” (Luke 4:20-30 NKJV)
The greatest revivalist of all time was presenting one of His first messages. The people bore witness of the Spirit of God on Him. Jesus was a messenger and prophet from the Lord. Yet because the people did not have honor in their hearts for God and His messengers, they did not accept, welcome, receive, or honor Jesus. Since the people did not accept Jesus, revival could not be released among them. Jesus was hindered from performing works of power and miracles that day, because of the heart attitude of the people.
Jesus goes on to tell the people that the prophets of old were not sent to their fathers, because their fathers had the exact same heart attitude. Their fathers did not honor or accept the Lord and His messengers. Therefore Elijah was not sent to God's own people to minister revival. Elijah was sent to the unbelievers. There was a great famine for three and a half years. There were many widows in Israel that were starving during this famine. Please note that the widow in Zarephath was going to eat her last meal and die. The only thing that prevented her death was the Lord sending Elijah to work a miracle. The Lord did not send Elijah to any of the widows who were starving among His own people, and many would have died.
There were also many of God's people that needed physical healing in the time of Elisha the prophet. However the Lord sent His prophet to an unbeliever to heal him. That means that many of God's people did not get healed or ministered to. The Lord chose not to minister revival among His own people, because of their heart attitude toward Him. He withheld revival as a form of judgment. Could this currently be happening in our nation?
The crowd that Jesus was speaking to understood what He was saying to them. Jesus essentially said, "Your fathers did not honor the Lord and His prophets, so He allowed your people to starve to death and remain diseased; while he sent His miracles and healing power to people that weren't even His. they became so angry that they tried to throw Him off of a cliff and kill Him. Jesus' sermon was slightly different than the feel good preachers of today. It lacked entertaining jokes, catchy phrases, and preaching that caused the audience to stand and clap. However His message was from His Father and pricked its audience in their hearts. It's a good thing that Jesus wasn't trying to gain influence, and preach a impacting message that would keep people coming back so a "mega church" could be established. As a messenger, He simply did what He saw His Father doing, even if it costed Him everything. That's what true messengers and revivalists do.
““He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Matthew 10:40-41 NKJV)
Jesus makes it clear that if people receive the messenger of God, they receive God. If they do not receive the messenger of God, then they do not receive God. We must honor the messengers of the Lord, for by doing so we honor the Lord. Ultimately it's the Lord we want to be honored. When the Lord is honored, He will release works of power. When He is not honored, the messenger will not be able to do mighty miracles, except perhaps heal a few sick people (Mark 6:1-6 NKJV). Faith is not the root problem for the lack of miracles. Honor is. If the people would have honored Jesus as a prophet, their faith level would have been much higher. When you know that a prophet, or an apostle of God is among you; your faith is boosted. However, the people did not receive Jesus as a prophet. Because they didn't receive Jesus as a prophet, there was no honor given to God; and the people were in unbelief. Lack of honor creates unbelief, which hinders the Lord's messengers from moving in reviving power.
It is important to note that if you receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, then you get a prophet's reward. This means that the ministry of the prophet will be released among you. If an apostle comes to minister and you do not receive him as an apostle; his ministry will not be released and people will not receive a blessing. We should never be titling ourselves with the five ministry gifts (including pastor). However, it is important for people to know the gift that a minister is functioning in, so that the minister will be received in that office and the people will be rewarded. Paul called himself an apostle so people would know his function, but he did not title himself "Apostle Paul." The people of that time called him Paul (his name). They never called him by a title, but they clearly knew his function. We should not be titling people "Pastor John." We simply know that John is a pastor and call him by his name. If a leader wants to be titled with a certain ministry gift, then maybe they have a pride issue that needs to be repented of.
Rejection of Light
“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”” (Matthew 11:20-24)
If we reject the Lord revealing Himself in undeniable manifestations of power, we reject the light and the truth. When we reject the light and the truth, judgment comes. Jesus gave a strong rebuke to those who rejected the light of God. Soon afterward a darkness fell on these cities and miracles stopped happening. The Lord withheld His miracle working power as judgment for rejecting the light:
“Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”” (Mark 8:22-26 NKJV)
The only person recorded in scripture that Jesus had a difficult time getting healed was this man. The first effort of prayer did not get the man completely well. Why? Because the man had fallen under the judgment of the city of Bethsaida. Bethsaida witnessed the mighty miracle working power of the Lord and did not repent of its sins. They did not respond to the Lord's mercy, so a famine hit their city. A famine of healing, signs, and wonders. Does that sound like America? After the blind man was healed, Jesus told him not to go into Bethsaida or tell anyone there. Jesus clearly wanted the man to stay away from the city under judgment.
When a city, region, or nation has received a great light; they have an opportunity to accept or reject it. If they reject the light, the power of God and miracles can potentially be withheld. America has received such a great light. The baptism of the Holy Spirit and Azusa Street revival, the 1940's and 1950's healing revivals, the Jesus Movement, the Charismatic Movement, Brownsville, and Lakeland. America has been flooded with churches, preachers, revelation, books, worship music, Bible schools, and television/internet programs. We have received a great light and rejected much of it, just as Israel did. Because we have received such a great light, the Lord holds us at a much higher standard than most nations. Most nations have not received near as much blessing as America. To whom much is given, much is required. Revival and miracles are being withheld in America because of our rejection of light. We must repent if we desire to see the power of God in our nation.
Works over Christ
““To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:1-5 NKJV)
Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for their works and their labor. The Ephesian church was extremely advanced in the things of the Spirit (as Paul's letter indicates). They had a high level of revelation. They operated in healing, miracles, and the gifts of the Spirit. But something happened to the church over time. They became more focused on the manifestations of revival (healings, gifts, signs, and wonders), than the Lord. They left their first love, Jesus. The church in Ephesus became focused on doing the works of the ministry, and made a willful decision to leave their first love for the love of another. The scripture does not say that the church lost their first love, it states that they left their first love. The church in Ephesus chose the works of ministry over Intimacy with Jesus.
The Lord is speaking this exact scripture to the church in America in this hour. Many in the Charismatic church have left Jesus for miracles, healing, power, anointing, ministry, and revival. Not realizing that true revival is to be in continual intimate contact with the reviving One, Jesus Christ. Many in the evangelical church have left their first love for the ministry of works. They win the lost, create programs, and feed the poor. They have become excellent "Marthas," but the Lord is longing for them to be excellent "Marys." Many leaders in the American church have left their first love for the "fulfillment" of success, ambition, and ministry building. The Lord is weeping over this. If only the church could hear the Lord crying to His beloved, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
The Lord longs for His church to make Him her first love. He longs for intimacy with her, as she is His chief desire. However, if the church fails to repent, the Lord's warning remains exceedingly strong. If the church in a city, or a region refuses to repent and turn again to their first love; Jesus will personally remove its lampstand. The lampstand is the actual church in the city or region (Revelation 1:20).
Ephesus was a burning light to the nations. The church was an apostolic center that transformed culture and greatly impacted the region around it. However, the church in Ephesus did not return to her first love. She accepted the idol of ministry and works instead of the intimate love of Jesus. She became blinded by her sin, and did not think she needed repentance since "she was doing it all for Jesus." Good to His word, Jesus removed the lampstand of the church in Ephesus. He removed the city church. The presence of God left. When His presence left, so did the miracles and power. The burning flame of the apostolic center started to be quenched. Darkness began to retake the region. Disciples were no longer being made. The church became weak, and was taken over by the Roman Catholic Church. Politics and religion (in the negative sense) ruled the "church." Revival ceased. The whole region was plunged into a deep darkness, where people were not being saved. Hell was their destination.
Because Jesus removed the lampstand, the whole region plunged into chaos and damnation. This seems like a very severe judgment, but Jesus made it clear that He would rather have no church in a region; than a church who worships and loves someone else above Him. We must repent of our love for ministry. So many in the church have left their first love of Christ, for the love of another (ministry and all that goes along with it). Returning to our first love is the only way that we can have true revival.
The Satisfaction of the Soul
And they lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the dry land. And he gave them their request, and sent fullness into their souls. (Psalms 106:14-15 Brenton)
The children of Israel tested the Lord in the wilderness by yielding to an intense desire (Numbers 11:4). They lusted in their souls after something, before it was time for them to have it. The people then asked the Lord for it, out of that soulish lust and desire. The people wanted their own will to be done, and they wanted it done right then.
Many in the church are this way as well. Believers are seeking anointing, ministry, power, and gifts. They want to start operating in these things in their own way and timing. Many desire these things more than an intimate relationship with the Lord, so they press and press the Lord until He gives them what they wanted (just as He did the children of Israel). There are a number of well known leaders in the church today that have great anointings and powerful ministries, but their personal lives are a wreck. This is because they stepped into their revival anointing before they had the relationship and character to sustain it. Their soul wanted something and it could not wait to have it. The Lord must be allowed to take our souls through a crucifixion process before we can handle great power and anointing. If we chose to skip the process, we may be able to get what we want; but it will damage our souls. Damaged souls then have the capability of destroying us.
The Septuagint translation (which is quoted most often by Jesus and apostles) states that the request for meat made by the children of Israel, sent "fulness into their souls." The Greek word that is used for fulness also means: a filling up, gratification, and satisfying. When the children of Israel received what they wanted, before it was the Lord's time for them to have it; it caused their self-life (selfishness and self-centeredness) to become filled, gratified, and satisfied. Their souls became stronger and their spirits became weaker. This is the opposite lifestyle of the cross that Jesus taught.
Many in the church are praying and asking for revival now. They want power, gifting, and anointing right now. It may be that the Lord has a timing for these things. We need to hear what His timing is and get in alignment with Him. He could be holding back revival because the people in a city or region are not ready. If He released revival when we wanted Him to, it could be wasted. Many who are crying out to the Lord for ministries and anointings are not ready to handle the load of such things. If the Lord answered their prayers immediately, the weight of the load could crush them. It takes many years of walking with the Lord to develop the foundation necessary to support gifts, anointing, and power.
If believers persist on getting what they want, and getting it now; the Lord may give it to them. But once they have their request, their self-life will become fattened and satisfied. The believers will then use the gifts that they received for themselves, and other people will be hurt. We must not be like the children of Israel, and pray according to our own will and timing. We must ask the Lord to only give us things such as revival, power, authority, anointing, miracles, and gifts; when we are ready to handle them and when He is ready to release them. True sons will yield their will to the will of their Father. We will only have true revival when the Lord is ready to release revival. It must be in His timing and in His way, not our own.
Revival cannot be defined by extended meetings, large crowds, healings, salvations, deliverances, and miracles. These may all be apart of revival, but they are not revival. Revival is Christ touching the hearts of His people, and igniting passion in those hearts for Him. In order for revival to progress from seed form to harvest, this process must continue. Passion ignited in people's hearts must transform into an intimate obsession with the Lord. The intimate obsession must drive the person into the secret place of the Lord's presence. In this secret place, the person encounters all aspects of the Lord and can say with confidence that they know Him. Revelation is imparted to the person's spirit, and the Lord's presence becomes the person's life. As one beholds the Lord in His presence, that presence reflects back on the person and transfigures the person into the Lord's image. This is the Lord's primary desire: to have a people in His image and likeness. The Lord desires His bride to be ready for Him, and walking in maturity.
True revival is when a person becomes dead to themselves, and allows the Lord to live through them. Jesus then gets what He wants, and fulfills His plans and purposes through the person. Intimacy, knowing the Lord, death to self-life, following Jesus, and the Lord living through the person; is how we must define revival. These make up the foundation in which true revival must be built upon. Without these elements as a foundation, revival will not be sustained. It will simply fade away like most other revivals in history have. If salvations, signs, wonders, and miracles are the foundation of a revival, it will fall apart over time. Only believers walking in the fulness of Christ can maintain revival. Salvations, signs, wonders, and miracles can only add to the foundation once it is established.
Following the Lord into Suffering
If we desire for this generation of people on the earth to experience a lifetime of revival, it starts by following the Lord. Commitment to the Lord is the key to true revival. We must lay down our own will, timing, destiny, calling, and purpose. We must take up our cross, follow Him, and be His true disciples. Only His true disciples can birth and maintain true revival. Following our own timing and plans will only led to revival tarrying. We may even attain to revival, but it won't be true revival that lasts. I don't simply want a revival with salvations, crowds, and miracles. I want Christ and His fulness. I desire to see His people living in true revival. This will only happen if we make the difficult decision to follow Him, regardless of the cost.
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10 NKJV)
“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” (Hebrews 5:8-9 NKJV)
Jesus (as a man) was perfected through sufferings. If we desire to live in revival and be used to usher in revival, we must follow after Jesus and be perfected through sufferings. Remember, the Father's goal for us is perfection, not miracles and power. He can only trust high levels of miracles and power to those who have been perfected like His Son. Sufferings will produce perfection, and perfection will produce true revival. However we must not simply understand this revelation, we must embrace it. Embracing it means: we must agree with the scripture and ask the Lord to perfect us through sufferings. We have to lay down our own will that desires everything to be perfect and easy-going in our lives. Then we ask the Lord to allow whatever He needs to allow, in order to get us to the place He wants us. We freely give up our scriptural rights that we have every right to stand on. We turn ourselves over completely to Christ. He can do with us as He pleases. He can allow whatever He desires. This is the desolate path of total abandonment. Job walked this path, and Jesus walked it as well. There have been so few throughout history who have understood this path, and fewer yet that committed to walk it.
Once you choose this path, the Lord has total control over you and your life. You lose your rights as Job and Jesus did, but you learn complete dependence on the Father. Job was blameless and had a scriptural right to be protected from sickness and disease. But Job found a higher level of walking with the Lord called "total abandonment." It's the place where you present your body to the Lord as a living sacrifice. You willing lay right your rights and allow the Lord to do with you whatever He desires. Jesus did this. He clearly abided in the secret place of the most high, so He could claim and stand on Psalm 91 for complete protection. The enemy would not have been allowed to harm Jesus in any way. However, Jesus willfully laid down His right. He submitted to the Father, and gave His father total control over His life. The Father chose to send Jesus to die on a cross, not to protect Him. The Father chose to lift His hand of protection and allow Job to be struck with sickness and disease. These men walked with the Father, and were perfected through sufferings. This is the lifestyle of entrusting the Father with your life and wellbeing, to the point where your life is laid down; and it is no longer in your hands. This is the life that Paul the apostle knew well (which included beatings and being struck by rocks). So very few in this age are prepared to walk with the Lord in this capacity. May that change very soon.
Outside the Camp
“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” (Hebrews 13:10-14 NKJV)
Under the old covenant, waste from the sacrifices was burnt outside the camp. Outside the camp was a place of garbage, uncleanness, and cursedness. Jesus suffered outside the camp. If we desire to be revival as Jesus was revival, then we must follow in His footsteps. The Spirit is calling us to go outside the camp and share His reproach. Reproach is defined as: to find fault with, to blame, to censure, to upbraid, to discredit, and an object of scorn or contempt. If we desire to be perfected, and to live in true revival as Jesus lived; then we must bare His reproach outside the camp.
The camp is referred to by one commentator as "the legal polity." The polity is a particular form or system of government (civil or ecclesiastical polity). Jesus went outside of the religious/political government of His own people, and bore their reproach. We must likewise go forth to Jesus, outside of the current religious/political system that controls the church. When we go out to Jesus away from this camp, we will be misunderstood and persecuted by the system. We will share in His reproach.
The only way we can be one with Jesus is to follow Him in His sufferings. As we yield our bodies to Him, and embrace the reproach of truly following Him, the Father will work perfection in us as He did Jesus. This is the pathway that leads to true revival. So let us follow it and follow Him, outside the camp.
- Ty Unruh (2016)