In the Scottish Hebrides, a stronghold of Calvinism, where the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is very important, revival leader Duncan Campbell often said: “I believe in the sovereignty of God, but I do not believe in a sovereignty that nullifies man’s responsibility”.
We all hope for “revival” to take place. But do we recognise that it will be on God’s terms and might not necessarily look like how we expect? Also, there is a question over whether we have any part to play, or will revival be solely the result of God’s sovereign action? Whilst we can engage in lots of theological debate over this question, a more fundamental question might be something like, “how badly do we want it?” “Are we sufficiently desperate?”
So how are we to live and respond in these days? I think we can all agree that:
- Revivals are real and have occurred in the past.
- Apart from God’s presence and power, revival is impossible.
- God inspires and provokes us to seek Him.
- We cannot predict the exact moment God will initiate revival.
- We cannot predict exactly what form revival may take.
- God is awesome, to be approached in holy fear. These are not trivial matters.
- We cannot “make” God do our bidding.
We cannot produce revival, but surely we can seek to prepare for it? Surely, one of the secrets to success in the Christian life is to, “find out what pleases God, and to seek to do it”? So I invite us to consider together a few bible verses. In each one, please note the part we have to play. There should be no presumption here, only obedience…
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found of you, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:13-14
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you”. John 15:7
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him”. 1 John 3:21-22
Dear Lord, may I be humble enough and hungry enough to embrace these truths and to walk in them. May my way of living today point others to You and help create a thirst for You. May I know Your presence and Your spirit’s enabling to do this. Amen.