What revival is and what it is not – Part 4
What is revival and how is revival different from a normal work of the Holy Spirit? What we see on the different Church platforms today can best be described as a normal work of the Holy Spirit. Revival is an extraordinary visitation of God.
One definition of revival says, “Revival is God coming to man in an unusual way.” Arthur Wallis in his book, In the Day of Thy Power, writes that revival is, “God revealing Himself to man in awesome holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programmes are abandoned.” As it is well articulated by John Armstrong, “Revival reinvigorates the heart by the agency of the Spirit. It leads men and women to a hearty personal dealing with God, it removes the sleepiness and barrenness that existed in pre-revival times.”
What Revival Is Not
Revival is not a Church programme. Many mistake a church meeting for a revival. A preacher can ignite the hunger for revival in his audience, but that does not make the meeting a revival. No matter how power-packed a meeting may be, unless it meets the criteria of Acts 2, then it is not a revival. Man cannot plan revival; it is a sudden divine interruption of human activity.
Revival is not a prayer meeting. Some prayer meetings are very intense but still run short of being a revival. A prayer meeting that qualifies for a revival must have the features of the transformation, which Jacob had with God in Genesis 32:22-32, and the earth-shaking experience of the disciples in Acts 4: 31-37.
Revival is not a healing crusade or meeting. Healing crusades, especially when miracles occur, announce God’s presence and awaken the people’s consciousness to the fact that God is real. Yet, it is not a revival. Revival is not a huge gathering of a crowd. Some Churches are packed to capacity, and though we thank God for them, it is not revival.Revival is not people falling down under anointing. Granted that people may fall under the power of God during revivals, but that is not a measure of a heaven-sent revival.
Revival is not an ecstatic feeling during a worship session. Revival is beyond that.What then is a true revival? The difference between revival and a normal work of the Holy Spirit lies in the degree of intensity. Geoff Waugh writes, “As with Pentecost, revivals are often unexpected, sudden, and revolutionary. They impact large numbers of people, bringing them to repentance and faith in Jesus the Lord. The day of Pentecost demonstrated these vital principles of revival, namely: God’s Sovereignty, Prayer, Unity, Obedience to the Spirit, Preaching, Repentance, and Evangelism.” These are the factors that define a true revival.
No doubt, God is doing wonders in the church scene in Nigeria, but it is doubtful if what is happening is a revival. One true test of a revival is its ability to produce repentance in people and to impact society. Our churches and meetings are packed full of people without producing meaningful changed lives. It has been said that revival deepens spiritual piety, but that has not been the case with Nigeria. People are still hardened in sin, hardly repenting of their sins. What is happening in the Church scene today has failed to bring about a shift in the moral climate of the society. With millions of Christian converts notwithstanding, the society is still yearning for transformation.
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