Long-Term Revival Requires a Heart of Humility
Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment during revival that we don’t think enough about the future. Before we know it, we are so burned out and exhausted that we can’t handle another meeting, and the sacred dove has flown. We failed to think about how to sustain this over the long haul. This is one of the reasons that I believe Asbury University did a great job of considering student, professor and community needs when the campus reached hit beyond its capacity to hold visitors coming in to experience the revival earlier this year.
We must remember how Jesus made clear that lasting fruit was always the goal, as He said to the apostles, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you" (John 16:16).
And Paul emphasized that our works will be tested by fire: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
—1 Corinthians 3:11–15
That’s why we must be zealous to seize the moment of revival when it comes as well to be careful to guard the flame of revival (and feed that holy fire) once it starts burning. That’s also why we must be careful find a way to pace ourselves if the revival continues for weeks and months, to continue to reach out and not become ingrown, and to continue to cultivate an atmosphere in which the Spirit feels at home.
We must also prepare for criticism from those who do not understand revival. One of the most difficult things to deal with is unfair, even harsh and ugly, criticism. Not only does it sting personally, but it hurts because it is dishonoring to the Lord. “How dare these critics attack such a precious move of the Spirit,” we think to ourselves. At such times, it is all too easy to develop a smiting spirit, to lash out against the destructive critics, to go on the counterattack. To be sure, there are times when it is right to respond to criticism, not for the purpose of self-defense but in order to build up the Body.
But as someone who was on the front lines of interacting with revival critics, I must say that it was often difficult to keep my attitude right. Sometimes, just hearing a critic's voice on the air made by blood boil. How could he malign something so beautiful? How could be mock something so sacred?
How much more is the case with your average pastor or Christian leader who is not as accustomed to being attacked like this? How much more difficult is it to restrain yourself from getting in the flesh when it is your own flock that is being maligned and your own church that is being singled out for unfair criticism? We must guard against a smiting spirit! In short, we must ask ourselves, “Am I creating an atmosphere in which the Lord feels at home?” Nothing is more important than that. And during seasons of frustration, when it seems as if the voice of the destructive critics is louder than the voice of those who have been touched and transformed, and when it seems that they are causing division and confusion, bear in mind that no one remembers the names of the ten spies who said, “We cannot take the land,” but everyone remembers the names of Joshua and Caleb. (I first heard this illustration from Pastor Wayne Benson.) Determine to be a Joshua or a Caleb, to speak the truth and to lead the way. The rest will take care of itself.
For more information on Dr. Michael Brown's new book, Seize The Moment, visit MyCharismaShop.com