Living for ‘Revival’
by Chris Jones
If I could zero in on a particular audience for this post, I’d say it’s for my Christian friends. Specifically, it’s for those who consider themselves to be “Evangelical”. More precisely, I’m thinking of those who are praying for something we generally refer to as “revival”; an awakening of our spirits, a movement towards repentance, resulting in deeper fellowship with God, spilling into and filling every corner of our lives. Do I have your attention?
In recent months, I’ve experienced a growing sense that the awakening we’re pursuing will not only be characterized, but catalyzed by two things: “compassion” and “generosity”. Although the two might be easily summed by saying “charity” or “love”, I think it’s important to see their progression. A thought or image triggers our compassion, hopefully moving us towards acts of generosity. My concern is in wondering what obstacles stand in the way of us, as a body, walking these out in practical, everyday applications.
As much as we want to believe that we’re compassionate and generous people, do our lives yield enough evidence to provide proof? Are we able to allow our generosity to take us to a place where our lives might become less comfortable?
At the risk of stirring the negative emotions and political opinions many have assigned to them, consider the following scenarios. Think about the college kid somewhere in the middle of America, asking for help with his mounting student debt. In a different town, there’s a single mother asking for a bump in pay to help spread her little income over many expenses. Broken families ask for protection from those they see as their oppressors. While one might feel justified in criticizing the notion that a system of government should intervene on their behalf, what other solution exists in the absence of the manifest compassion and generosity of their local communities? How might the compassion and generosity of God’s people change these seemingly unsolvable situations?
Is it really a surprise that revival doesn’t come to America, when much of the evidence seems to reveal our real dysfunction? Of all the requests we could make of God, have we failed to take firm hold of the basic tools He has already given us? What if our pursuit of revival began with earnest prayers to grow in the fruit He has promised us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5)? I believe this is the answer to all of the above.
Isn’t it true that the contrast of our joy, peace, patience and self control, against the world’s despair, should move our hearts with compassion to see people restored? What role might more love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness play in motivating us to meet the needs of our neighbors, in generosity, with the resources of God’s Kingdom? What real, lasting revival might be sparked if we stopped just praying for it, and committed ourselves to living for it?
Posted on February 29, 2016, in Chris Jones, Christianity and tagged Community, Compassion, Faithfulness, Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians, Generosity, Gentleness, God, Goodness, Holy Spirit, Joy, Kindness, Kingdom of God, Love, Patience, Peace, Politics, Revival, Self Control. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.