So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.—Revelation 3:16
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 5:3
As I’ve written before, the church – the universal body of believers – desperately needs revival. If you’re a believer and a reader of this blog, you’re probably thinking of all the people you know who need revival. But the question is, are you one of them?
Here are some ways you can spot your own need for revival—and the cure God offers:
- Your Bible has sat unopened since the last time you went to church. How did you fall in love with your husband (or, if you’re a man, your wife)? First you had to get to know him. To do that, you had to spend time together. That spark stays alive when you invest yourself in that relationship. So it is in our relationship with the Lord. Familiarity with God’s word is our safeguard against sin (Psalm 119:11).
- You regularly make excuses for missing church – fatigue, disinterest in the current sermon series, a favorite game on TV, difficulty getting the kids out the door, even distaste for the music. Our church livestreams services for those who are traveling, sick or homebound. I’ve been grateful to be able to watch the service from home many times, but when I’m home sick, I always miss an important component of our Sunday services: the fellowship. We gain a certain spiritual fortification from gathering with other believers. That’s why God commands us to do it (Hebrews 10:24-25).
- You’re one person among your church friends and someone completely different in other venues, including your home. If we are living Spirit-filled lives, Christ will be increasingly evident in us in every arena of our lives. We won’t need to ensure we’re on good behavior or that we put on our church face. (See Galatians 2:20.)
- Your prayer life is limited to saying grace over meals, if you even remember to do that much. Prayer is our face-to-face time with God. It’s a time of intimacy. It’s difficult to betray someone with whom you’re intimate. Commit everything to prayer. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- The most significant people in your life are those who don’t share your faith. Some Christians are guilty of hiding in their holy huddles. Others surround themselves with unbelievers – sometimes initially with the intent of witnessing. Neither approach works. We must persevere in reaching the lost for Christ while remaining firmly anchored in Christian fellowship. Our closest friends must share our faith and commitment to Christ or we’re setting ourselves up for a fall. (See 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:15).
- No one among your friends, loved ones, colleagues and acquaintances disparages you for your faith. If you’re living for Christ, someone somewhere will hate you for it. God’s word assures us of that. (See 2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:18).
- You compartmentalize your life, keeping your faith neatly boxed away so you can minimize the discomfort you feel about flagrant, ongoing sin in your life. The problem with this approach is that you cannot hide from God. Eventually you suffer, and the people around you suffer. Ask Job. His attempt to compartmentalize his faith nearly sank a ship.
- You’re more concerned about what’s happening in your favorite show or with your favorite team than you are with things of the Lord. Recently my family has enjoyed watching Fringe on Netflix. We’re about six years late to the party, I know. But if I ever get more caught up in whether Olivia ever forgives Peter or Walter ever forgives himself than I am with my life in Christ, it’s time to cut loose. (See Matthew 6:33.) What are you truly seeking first?
- You’ve ceased to be shocked or heartbroken over sin and lostness. The Apostle Paul was so grieved over the lostness of his fellow Israelites that he gladly would have traded his own salvation for theirs. (See Romans 9:3.) Think about your family and friends. How many of them have a personal relationship with Christ? How often have you shared with and prayed for them? How often do you grieve over the lostness of people around you or people in the news?
- Deep down, you’re miserable. As long as we remain within these earthly tents, we are caught between two warring worlds. A Christian cannot be happy when living in sin. God’s word assures us of that (see Romans 7:21-25), and I have seen it in my own life.
Don’t be lukewarm. No one likes vomit. Remember you don’t need to take this journey alone, my friends. God is there for you, and His children are there to help you. Cry out for revival today.
For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.—Psalm 143:11