In two recent devotionals, we reflected on how our pride and prayerlessness delays the revival the Church so desperately longs for and the awakening our lost society needs to experience. Here we consider how our misplaced priorities are the enemy of revival.
Revival tarries (delays) for many reasons – when we aren’t desperately looking for it, not hungrily desiring for a powerful move of God, we’re lazy and indifferent, we’ve no vision or prophecy, our hearts are cold and hard, and the need for repentance isn’t on our minds. Our priorities are lying completely elsewhere. Revival and our desperate need for it isn’t even registering on our spiritual radar.
Turn my eyes away from vanity [all those worldly, meaningless things that distract—let Your priorities be mine] And restore me [with renewed energy] in Your ways. Establish Your word and confirm Your promise to Your servant, As that which produces [awe-inspired] reverence for You. Psalm 119:37 – 38 AMP
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God’s people are told to “seek His face”. Here ‘Seek’ means to search out by any method but especially worship and prayer. ‘Face’ refers to the countenance, that is we are to turn to toward God’s direction. This means we must earnestly seek: God’s glory (Exodus 33:18; Psalm 27:8, 105:4; Jeremiah 29:13); His favour (Psalm 63: 1 – 2); and His will (Ephesians 5:17; Hebrews 11:6).
In summary, we are called to stop looking for help and purpose in every other aspect in life but to make God our primary focus and our first priority. We must look to Him alone for spiritual blessing, realising He alone is the source, the sufficiency and supplier of revival. One thing we need to be very clear on is that revival does not come to people who merely seek revival but only to people who seek God!
Often too many people are caught up in what Almighty God can do for them. However, when we seek His face, we hunger infinitely more for Him than for what He can do. Thus, the essence of genuine revival is falling deeply in love with Jesus all over again. Seeking Him will bring revival to His church. Recall what the prophet Isaiah wrote, or Christ’s letter to the Church in Ephesus, or James’ instructions for living close to God:
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6 ESV
But I have this against you: you have abandoned the passionate love you had for Me at the beginning. Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first. Revelation 2: 4-5 TPT
Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting. James 4:8 TPT
Question – What’s the top priority in your life? Well, here are a few good indicators to assist your thinking. What do you spend most of your time or money on? What is the focus of your thoughts? Is it work, family, money, hobbies, or something else? Where does God fit into your list of priorities? The Bible is crystal clear that when anything, but God, is your life’s number one priority you’re out of kilter, off balance, and most certainly not a candidate for revival.
When God is our first priority, then the things He cares about are the things we will care about. So, when we seek God’s face, we will be able to see what has God’s undivided attention, what is on His heart. What has God’s attention must be that which has our attention. God wants us to love what He loves and hate what He hates –
But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. Micah 6:8 MSG
God wants each of us to develop the same attitude Jesus adopted while He was here on earth –
So Jesus said, “I speak to you eternal truth. The Son is unable to do anything from himself or through his own initiative. I only do the works that I see the Father doing, for the Son does the same works as his Father.
“Because the Father loves his Son so much, He always reveals to Him everything that He is about to do. And you will all be amazed when He shows Him even greater works than what you’ve seen so far. John 5:19 – 20
Misplaced priorities are the enemy of real revival. Nineveh is a prime example; its priorities were unbelievably mixed up. An incredible city but built with slave labour. The Assyrians were a cruel and most sadistic people who had perfected the practice of torture. Perhaps no wonder Jonah was a “prodigal” prophet who couldn’t believe (maybe more accurately didn’t want to believe) the mission God had for Him. But eventually Jonah went to this city with his message of doom and destruction – and amazingly the people of Nineveh, from the king down, got their priorities reordered and all began to earnestly seek the Lord (Jonah 3:8). Repentance, prayer, holiness, and worship became a priority for them, and God sent revival!
“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed”
J. Hudson Taylor
Prayer (adapted from Isaiah 61: 1- 4 MSG)
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me (His church in Ireland) because God anointed me (His church in Ireland). He sent me (His church in Ireland) to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me (His church in Ireland) to announce the year of His grace – a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies – and to comfort all who mourn. To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion (Ireland), give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.