A lot of people like the idea of Jesus. They like the thought of someone loving them unconditionally. They like the thought that someone loved them enough to suffer and die for them. They like the thought of Jesus being with them, of him promising never to leave them alone. There are a lot of great promises that come with following Jesus.
Those of us who are in Jesus also like the thought of spiritual revival. We like the thought of "dry bones" having new life breathed into them, taking on new flesh. We like the thought of filled churches and lively meetings. We like the thought of the fire of the Holy Spirit flowing across our nations. We like the thought, but these two things have something in common that we really don't like: Work.
I don't mean work in the sense that we have to do a lot of good works to have salvation or a lot of door knocking or phone calls to make for revival. Those two activities have nothing to do with anything, even though we might think they do. You might think you want to follow Jesus but when you realize the transformation that will take place and the things that will change, and the things the Spirit will convict you of - unless your response is a love response- you won't go the distance.
You might like the thought of revival but when you realize the transformation that will take place, the house cleaning that will happen, the changes the Spirit will bring about, the amount of time in prayer and Bible study, the hit to your reputation - unless it is a heart response - you won't go the distance. Revival involves repentance and repentance is the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the letting go of everything that is contrary to the character of Jesus. Most of us say we want revival with our lips but we fear it with our hearts because we are comfortable and we don`t want to become uncomfortable.
The greatest revival that took place in the Scriptures was under the leadership of king Josiah, and it started with the reading of the holy Scriptures. It brought to an end people doing what they thought best. It ended all other opinions. It revealed the truth to the people and it scared them. The truth of Scripture scares people, it wakes them up, it confronts them with the evil of our heart compared to the holiness of our God. There will be no revival if we keep avoiding the truth of the Word.
The second step of this king was to make a covenant with Yahweh, in front of the entire nation, to keep his commandments. The worship of Yahweh had not stopped but the relationship had. This was a renewal of holiness, of relationship, of obedience of action. And all the people joined with their king.
Then this king, who sought Yahweh with all his heart, started cleaning house. He purged and cleansed the temple. He renewed the priests and tore down every idol, every high place, desecrating them so they could never be used again. He purged the land of anything that offended Yahweh and re-dedicated the land and the people to be wholly Yahweh`s.
Then the king brought back the worship celebrations and the festivals of remembrance, giving praise and thanksgiving for all the things Yahweh had ever done for his people. At the same time he got rid of the spirituality that took people in the wrong direction, mediums and spiritists. He got rid of the national places of false worship but also cleansed the land of all household gods and idols. He called the whole nation to repentance. And Scriptures say this of king Josiah:
Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. (2 Kings 23:25)
One man`s spiritual revival changed the atmosphere of an entire nation but consider the work that was involved. Don`t think for a moment that when you turn back to Jesus with all your heart that all the pieces will simply fall right back into place. There is a lot of house cleaning that takes place after, as the Lord moves in to take what you have freely offered. The great thing is, if you have truly turned to the Lord with all your heart, you have done it in love, and you are only too glad to do the house cleaning, just like Josiah.
As our nations turn their backs on Jesus, as churches do what they think is best, as the Holy Scriptures lay gathering dust, it is going to take men and women who desire Jesus with all their heart, who are not afraid of revival, who are willing to do some house cleaning, who will renew their covenant, who will walk in holiness, to keep the Light of Jesus burning bright in the falling darkness. Are you afraid of a little work?