As the backslidden grandson of a fiery tent-preaching revivalist, I had spent a great deal of my life in the church by the age of 19. I was a talented hypocrite, playing the part on Sunday but living as I wished when Monday came.
Apparently I had enough people fooled to be chosen as a leader in the church. I didn’t know if this said more about my skillful
deception or their level of desperation. The warning signs were present if only someone had exercised enough discernment to see them.
The doctor’s visit
I was dying spiritually and needed help. Thankfully this came in 1996, when revival broke out in our little church during an ice storm. Jesus, the great physician, presented me with a diagnosis and prescription for my spiritual condition. It was painful but also initiated healing!
There are seven questions for self-discovery posed by the great theologian A.W. Tozer. These questions, if answered honestly, speak volumes about our spiritual health. They are:
-What do we want most?
-What do we think about most?
-How do we use our money?
-What do we do with our leisure time?
-What kind of company do we enjoy?
-Who and what do we admire?
-What do we laugh at?
I make it a point to frequently ask these questions of myself. With these in mind, I want to describe seven signs indicating a need for revival in your own life:
1. You are entertained by things that once grieved you
When I got saved, I cleaned up my life and cleaned out my house. I filled up several garbage cans with worldly items that I had collected over the years. No one told me to do this. I simply had such a pure love for the Lord and I didn’t want anything to come between me and Him. I was breaking up with the devil and no longer had a need for any of these articles of worldly affection.
However, any home that has been swept clean will once again become dirty if it’s not maintained daily. Over time, it’s easy to drop our guard and let things back into our lives that we once shook off.
Are you turning on TV programmes that once you would have turned off? When is the last time you walked out of a movie because you were grieved that they profaned the Name of your God? Are peers comfortable sharing obscene jokes in your presence, or do they change their tone when you’re around?
2 You are silent where you once spoke out
Asking a Spirit-filled man to be silent is as futile as asking a lit candle not to shine. Jesus said, “You will receive power when My Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses.” Acts 1:8. The truest evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a tongue that has been set free and set on fire with the Gospel.
Remember when you were first saved and you wanted to share the experience with your friends and family. Do you still have that boldness, or has your voice grown still? Your silence may be the sign of a backslidden heart.
When is the last time you shared your faith? Do you speak up when a wrong must be made right? Are you silent where you should speak? It is time to once again find your voice!
3 Your prayer closet has cobwebs and your Bible is dusty
No man is greater than his own prayer life. The believer that doesn’t spend time on his face before the Lord and reading the Word is telling the Lord, “I can do this on my own.”
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matt 4:4. He didn’t say ‘proceeded’, but ‘proceeds’. It’s not just important what has God spoken to you in the past, but what He says to you today!
When life throws a problem your way, is prayer the first place you turn, or the last? What did God show you in His Word today? When is the last time you spent quality time with the Lord? If you were as lukewarm in your vocation as you are in your devotion, how long would it be until you were out of work?
4 You’re more likely to criticise your pastor than to contemplate his message
When you walk out of church, are you thinking about what you disagreed with in the message, or do you take it to heart? Criticism is a sure symptom of a heart that is becoming hard.
I’ve learned in my own life that when I am criticising another person, it says more about me than it does about them. Why not attend church this weekend and ask the Lord to speak to your heart and change your life through the words spoken from your pastor?
5 You excuse sin
Sin is anything Jesus wouldn’t do. I like this simple and straightforward definition. If Jesus wouldn’t go there, do that, drink that, smoke that, say that, listen to that or watch that, then it is sin and has no place in the life of a son or daughter of God.
Jesus set the standard pretty high. He said, “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” Matt 5:48. The writer of Hebrews tells us to “pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord,” Heb 12:14. This is impossible to achieve if you attempt to do it in your own strength.
Are you tolerating habits and addictions? What are the hidden things in your life which you are excusing but wouldn’t want anyone else to find out about? If you have sin in your life, don’t excuse it. Confess it!
6 You’re looking for the “dislike” button on this article
Solomon wrote, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful,” Prov 27:6.
If I’m sick, I want a doctor to diagnose the problem, not tell me how great I am. If I’m unhealthy, I want a good friend to care enough to confront me about my eating habits. If I’m swimming in a mountain of debt, I don’t need a friend offering me another loan; I need a true friend to cut up my credit cards.
Yes, it hurts the ego or pride to be told that something is off. But those wounds are faithful if they come from a friend who loves us. If someone is always telling me how great I am and how blessed God wants me to be but never steps on my toes in areas where I’m falling short, do they really care about me? Sometimes caring means confronting!
If this message seems offensive to you, don’t criticise the writer. Cross-examine the reader!
7 You have a deep hunger for something more!
Tozer said, “To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.” How true that is.
It’s almost been twenty years since I found God at the altar of a church, yet I still pursue Him every single day. After all these years, I still hunger for more. Here are the experiences of some saints who inspire me to press in deeper:
-Enoch walked with God (Gen 5:24)
-Moses spoke with God face to face as a friend (Ex 33:11)
-Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up (Is 6:1)
-Peter watched as Jesus pulled back His humanity and exposed His Divinity (Matt 17:4)
-Paul was taught by Christ (Gal 1:12)
-John was called up to Heaven, where he saw Jesus upon His throne (Rev 20:11)
-Edwards and Wesley awakened a nation
-Charles Finney was baptised in waves and waves of liquid love
-William Seymore lived in the glory cloud for four years at Azusa
-Smith Wigglesworth raised the dead back to life.
I am jealous of their God encounters and will not be denied my own! The Lord is no respector of persons and will satisfy us to the depth of our hunger for Him. My friend, if you’ve slowed or even stopped your pursuit of God, let these words stir you. There is more! If you see that you are in need of revival, be encouraged. It is not far from you. “Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8.
DANIEL K. NORRIS is an evangelist who worked alongside Steve Hill bringing the message of revival and repentance to the nations. For more info: