This world needs Jesus. Look around you, the rise of homelessness, drug addiction, divorce, and school shootings show how far from God we are. How will this world find Jesus? We need revival, not just a church revival, but lasting personal revival which leads to Unity in the Church to direct the lost to Jesus.
Christians in the church are spiritually asleep and divided on too many issues. For too long we have been lulled to sleep about our own spiritual condition. Now we are beginning to wake up to see that the world is lost. But let me ask you, “Should our focus be on pointing out the lost worlds sin or should we be pointing to ourselves?”Should our focus be on pointing out the lost worlds sin or should we be pointing to our lack of unity in the church and lack of personal revival? Click To Tweet
How Personal Revival Leads to Unity in the Church
God put us on this Earth to be salt and light, to win the lost world to Him.
Are we, are you?
Today we are praying for revival. If you are local to me in Louisville KY, know that we are praying over a specific Women’s Revival event presented by Awake & Arise that will happen October 12 (Click the link for more details).
If you are local to me would you help spread the word?
As we prepare our hearts we will see that it is critical we follow these steps to personal revival because the need for unity in the church is great. We Need Revival.
What is Revival?
Revival is an old fashioned word we don’t hear much of today so before we start I want to look at what it means.
The definition of revival: an improvement in the condition or strength of something
synonyms include Improvement, comeback, awakening.
More to our point, let’s look at how to define revival in the Bible: a religious awakening – stirring the church or community awake to spiritual matters –to live in unity.
I love this quote about revival from John Piper.
“A fresh outpouring of God’s live-giving Spirit on his people. That is what revival is.”
Bible Verses about Revival – Yes, Believers have always needed revival
It is astonishing how many Bible verses about revival there are. Many are often also bible verses about unity and working together! After exploring them I found a pattern that seems to start every instance of revival mentioned in scripture.
- Personal revival
- All throughout scripture we see specific people crying out for God to revive them personally, to soften their hearts, to stir their souls.
- Church revival
- We also see examples of unity in the church, where entire congregations humbled themselves to pray and seek God for revival.
- Community revival.
- Finally, when a congregation is revived, the city turns to God.
The key I see in every case where anyone in scripture is seeking revival is prayer. They all begin by praying for God to come in and move, come in and change, come in and stir.
The book of Nehemiah is a great example of the kind of personal revival we are discussing today.
Nehemiah 1:3-4 …When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Personal Revival Leading to Unity in The Church is Impossible Without Prayer.
After seeing the state of his nation, how they needed God, Nehemiah prayed. Prayer leads to revival, or at least, prayer proceeds revival.
Not just prayer on Sunday or once a month at a prayer meeting but a daily personal commitment by us to pray for revival.
Nehemiah prayed and fasted for days to know God’s will. That is how to start a revival! Do you pray with that kind of fervor?
We need the pray with passion and conviction for God to:
- Stir us to pray
- Wake us up in the night to Pray for Unity in the Church
- Remind us to pray for personal revival and Unity in the church, unity among Christians
- Give us boldness to be salt and light instead of judging the lost world for being lost
When you examine historical records of revival and biblical records of revival you see that any great awakening begins with personal revival. That personal revival then finally lead to unity in the church in that area. I can not stress enough the importance of unity in the church, the power of unity in the church for winning lost souls!Prayer leads to revival, or at least, prayer proceeds revival. Click To Tweet
What is unity, or what does unity in the church mean?
Unity is when we set aside our preferences and pursue the will of God. Unity is about caring more about the bigger story of God than you care about your own comfort or pleasure.
In the example of Nehemiah, we see that Prayer and Fasting were the starts of a personal revival in him as God called him to lead the church to revival which leads to the nation coming to revival.
This one man set aside his comfort, position, and safety to pursue God’s will for his nation. That is the kind of loving sacrifice that starts true unity.
All of that began with one man, humbling himself to pray over the things of God.
Could you be that one person, obeying God to pray for revival, that leads to unity in the church in your city?
Before we get to a place of experiencing revival – unity in the church – we must start by examining our hearts honestly.Unity is when we set aside our preferences and pursue the will of God. Unity in the Church is about caring more about the bigger story of God than you care about your own comfort or pleasure. Click To Tweet
Why do we need to focus on Personal Revival?
- Each one of us is responsible for our own spiritual condition.
- We easily get off track with God and need a fresh stirring in our hearts with a fresh fire for Him, a personal revival.
- The enemy is good at targeting his spiritual attack so strategically that we don’t realize we are in a battle.
- You are in the midst of a great Spiritual Battle.
- God has a plan to further His Kingdom, win souls, sanctify souls and be glorified throughout creation.
- You are a part of God’s great plan.
- If the enemy can win his battle against you, you will be rendered ineffective for Kingdom work.
- If you fall asleep spiritually, just fly under the radar, focusing on the comfort of your own life, you won’t feel the urgency of the battle raging all around you.
- Bogged down in your own struggles, spiritually asleep, the enemy wins a victory over you but also wins a victory against the Kingdom.
Spiritual Warfare is real and God wants you fighting
I imagine spiritual warfare like the great wall of china. In days gone by there were guards posted at watchtowers, ready to light the fire alerting the nation of attack. In the same way, God has strategically placed Christians throughout the world to show His love and shine His light – fighting the great Spiritual Battle.
When the enemy wins a battle against you, lulls you to sleep spiritually, drags you down with too many hard things, your light is not shining out of its post.
Your area of the battlefield is left vulnerable.
The Battle is Urgent.
Time is Short.
You are a Valuable member of the Army of God.It is critical you have a personal revival - ongoing personal revival - to be engaged in the battle, this spiritual warfare with prayer, as a prayer warrior! The Battle is Urgent. Time is Short. You are a Valuable member of the… Click To Tweet
Looking at the book of Nehemiah and others we see three areas the enemy consistently attacks believers. Today we will look at them and see steps to take to have personal revival which helps us see the benefits of Unity in the Church!
A Distracted Heart Prevents Personal Revival
A distracted heart does not make time for the things of God that lead to personal revival.
Distractions come in the form of:
- We all sin.
- The lives of so many believers today are covered over in suffering.
- And busyness
- And we are suffocating in an era that values busyness.
How can you tell if you are under the attack of distraction? At the end of the day, do you make time for God?
How can you tell if you are under the attack of distraction? At the end of the day, do you make time for God? Click To Tweet
Nehemiah 1:5-9 I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven… confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned….
Is distraction keeping you from hearing the voice of God?
Have you been distracted by sin and suffering? Even good things can distract you if you are not careful.
This year we’ve talked a lot about how to Be Still with God. Being Still is about:
- Setting aside time to just be with God
- Reading His word just to get to know Him more
- Praying just to talk to Him more.
When was the last time you spent time just enjoying God with no agenda?
A distracted heart prevents personal revival by focusing on other things rather than your relationship with God. When you slow down and learn to be still you can walk in personal revival every day. And personal revival leads to unity in the church!When was the last time you spent time just enjoying God with no agenda? Click To Tweet
A Discouraged Heart Prevents Personal Revival
If the enemy can’t get you distracted, he will try to discourage you.
A discouraged heart focuses on self rather than keeping your eyes on God. God tells us to keep our eyes on Him and obey Him even when it seems too hard. Discouragement tells us we are not enough, we will fail or God will not come through.
Nehemiah 2: 1-5 …Now I had not been sad in his presence. So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.”
So I prayed to the God of heaven…
At first, obeying God feels scary and hard. The enemy will try to discourage you with human logic saying:
“this doesn’t make sense, maybe you misunderstood God.”
When we push through the discouragement God moves and we have a testimony that will inspire others to obey Him.
Nehemiah 2:8 And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.
We know that the ways of God are higher and mysterious. God allows us to suffer and struggle as we learn and grow. Then He turns that hardship into a testimony to share with others who need hope in the struggle.When we push through the discouragement God moves and we have a testimony that will inspire others to obey Him. Click To Tweet
Blessing is on the other side of trails
If we get stuck in discouragement we miss the blessing and stop being effective in the battle of spiritual warfare
The blessing might be for you, maturity or some other gift from God. Honestly, many times the blessing could be for others. You can encourage others going through the trials you’ve faced in ways no one else can.
Nehemiah 2:18 I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work.
Instead of focusing on how hard things are, remember what God has already done. Share that story and inspire others to keep going as well which leads to unity in the church!
A discouraged heart prevents personal revival because it focuses on self-pity rather than God.
I can whine or I can worship–in every circumstance I have a choice. I can’t worship without giving thanks. —Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Lies Women Believe
What are the things that are hard in your life?
Are there things that have you discouraged?
Have you been feeling like you are not enough, have failed too many times, could never do whatever God is calling you to do?Instead of focusing on how hard things are, remember what God has already done. Share that story and inspire others to keep going as well which leads to unity in the church! Click To Tweet
A Doubting Heart Prevents Personal Revival
If the enemy fails to distract or discourage you he will begin to sow seeds of doubt. A doubting heart focuses on feelings rather than the truth and power of God that leads to personal revival.
Nehemiah 4:8-9 All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.
But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.
Prayer has to be our response to doubt and fear. Prayer is a key piece of the whole armor of God that we must put on!
Doubt piggybacks discouragement. The truth is we all feel discouraged from time to time, and we all fail sometimes. There is nothing wrong with feeling those feelings at the moment.
Beware, however, when things don’t go your way because the enemy will sow seeds of doubt that get twisted with bits of feeling and lies. If you take the lies in, believe them and act on them you give in to doubt. Doubt paralyzes you in the battle and destroys unity in the church in so many ways.Prayer has to be our response to doubt and fear. Click To Tweet
Serving God does lead to persecution
Yes, you heard me correctly. Serving God does lead to persecution, but it is not in vain like the enemy would have us believe. God called you to serve in unique ways and when you step out you engage in the battle. But giving in to doubt and fear stop us all too often.
- Doubt stops us from speaking kindness to the woman in our pew that looks alone and discouraged.
- And doubt stops us from witnessing to our neighbors.
- Doubt stops us from praying for the woman in the grocery store who looks so sad.
We hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit to step out in faith, speak out in truth and love but we ignore it because of Doubt.
God calls us to be salt and light to this lost world but doubt calls us to sit down and shut up to not cause a scene.
A Doubting heart prevents personal revival because it is not based on truth and faith in God to be bigger than our weaknesses.
What are the things you are struggling with doubt and fear over today?
Has God called you to serve?
Have you heard the enemy whisper
“You’re not qualified.”
“If they find out about your past you’ll lose credibility.”
“Someone else could do it better.”
Fight for Personal Revival because we need Unity in the Church
How can we overcome the enemies strategies of discouragement, distraction, and doubt? How can we achieve unity?
When you fight for personal revival, you can overcome the enemy’s strategy. That personal revival can lead to church revival and community revival sparking unity in the church all around you!
We see the call for revival in the prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21. It calls for an awakening of God’s people that applies as much to us today as it did then.
How can we overcome the enemies strategies of discouragement, distraction, and doubt? How can we achieve unity? When you fight for personal revival, you can overcome the enemy's strategy. Click To Tweet
[I pray] that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Apply Ephesians 3:16-19 to personal revival
- When your soul is strengthened, as Christ dwells in your and roots you in His Word you will refuse to be distracted.
- As you begin to understand God’s Love, how wide and deep it is, you will refuse to be discouraged.
- When you are filled with all the fullness of God, continuing steadfastly in prayer, you will refuse to doubt.
Then you will begin to walk in personal revival, then you will be ready to pray consistently for church revival, then the church will stand united and lead our community to salvation.
Unity in the Church all starts, however, with each believer, committing to making a change to walk daily in personal revival.
Personal Revival starts with getting my heart and your heart right, fighting back in this spiritual warfare so that we are not ineffective for the Kingdom of God.
We must all commit to overcoming our distractions, discouragement, and doubts so that we can stand up and pray harder for God’s Kingdom to come and for unity in the church.We must all commit to overcoming our distractions, discouragement, and doubts so that we can stand up and pray harder for God's Kingdom to come and for unity in the church. Click To Tweet
Pray for Unity in the Church through Personal Revival
Spend some time now in heart preparation for revival. Pray Psalm 139:23-24.
Father God, Show me where I have become distracted, not giving time alone with you my highest priority.
Show me where I have become discouraged and taken my eyes off of You.
Where I have believed the enemy and become doubtful forgive me, show me the lies and remind me of Your Truths
Search me. Know me. Convict me. Change me. Lead me in Your way.
Father, I desire Unity in the Church because it will be a better witness to this lost world. But I agree with You that I have been spiritually asleep for too long. Awaken my soul to the things that need to change. Draw me nearer to You. Keep me alert to ways I can be salt and light. Make this personal revival a lasting change in my life that leads others to You, Jesus.
If you enjoyed this you will also like these posts:
- How to Fight for Unity in a Difficult Marriage
- 12 Verses to Pray for Unity in the Church
- Division and No Support in the Church