Is genuine revival taking place in my church?
Counterfeits certainly exist, but they’re not always easy to identify. To determine if what you’re seeing and feeling is really of God, start by asking three key questions:
1. Is the Message Christ-Centered or Issue-Centered?
When God is present, the message from the pulpit and the testimony from the congregation will reflect it. Jesus is not just in the message, He is the message.
2. Are Lives Changing in Radical Ways?
The presence of Jesus imparts the saving, delivering and empowering life of Christ. Philosophies and causes can change behavior. Jesus doesn’t just change behavior; He changes the heart, which, in turn, controls the behavior.
Galatians 4:19 says that Christ is formed in us. In 2 Corinthians 4:10, Paul declares that the life of Jesus is manifested in us for all to see.
In other words, the presence of Jesus is something tangible and all-encompassing; it alters the very make-up of the heart. With a new heart, sin becomes repugnant, and the decision to turn from it follows naturally, yet forcefully.
Thus, in revival, God’s Spirit literally pours out on men, women and children who have been struggling in feebleness and clothes them with power to put aside sin and put on garments of holy praise and righteous living.
3. Is Repentance an End in Itself, or the Gateway to Holiness?
In the atmosphere of revival, a community of believers is brought low in humility and repentance. In the presence of God, we begin to feel dirty and sinful.
Those who know Jesus as Savior repent of every thought or action that’s not in line with the character of Jesus.
Those who don’t know Jesus cry out in repentance for salvation. And everyone turns to God with an intense hunger for righteousness and His abiding presence.
But that’s just the threshold of revival. To continue on with God, you must despise and abandon anything of the world, either good or bad, that dampens your burning fervor for the nearness of God.
True revival doesn’t stop at repentance. It goes deeper. It turns your world upside down!
Originally published in the March 1998 issue of Reaching Higher