Personal Revival: A Goal to Set for 2020
It’s common to make resolutions when we enter the new year. I will be a better person. I will be more disciplined. I will complete a particular task. I will change in one specific area. There’s even the saying, “New year, new you!”
For the most part, though, we break more resolutions than we keep, leading to a cycle of frustration, disappointment, and even cynicism. Why even bother?
Then there’s the question of which goal to set. After all, most of us have many things we’d like to do. Many areas we’d like to change. Many goals we’d like to accomplish. Which should come first? If we don’t focus on one or, perhaps two or three at most, we’re even less likely to succeed in any.
May I suggest, then, something of great importance that would be worthy of your attention? Something that, in many ways, matters more than anything else? Something that affects every area in your life? And something that can benefit the whole nation if enough of us set this same goal?
In short, the goal is personal revival, meaning, spiritual renewal in your own life. Regaining your passion for God. Recovering what has been lost in your relationship with Him. (If you don’t even have a relationship with Him, then don’t wait another moment. Get right with the Lord today.)
This, in turn, will affect every other area in your life. Your discipline. Your attitude. Your morals. Your family life. Your personal habits. Your desires. Your goals. Your words. Your actions.
The Key to 2020
Everything flows out of your personal relationship with God.
It’s the key to overcoming sinful habits.
It’s the key to changing sinful attitudes.
It’s the key to restoring broken relationships.
It’s the key to mending broken hearts.
And ultimately, it’s the key to national renewal, since a revived church means a transformed nation, in particular, when there are tens of millions of Christians in the nation.
Perhaps the fresh spark in your life will help ignite fresh spiritual fire in the lives of others, which in turn will start a national movement. Why not? Have you ever seen what happens when you put a bunch of hot coals together? They quickly begin to burn.
This is also important to remember when our nation is in such turmoil.
Does anyone expect less turmoil in 2020 than in 2019? Less political upheaval? Less friction and division? Less emotional stress? How in the world do we fix this mess?
We do it one life at a time.
Quality Time With Our First Love
We can’t control what happens in the White House or Congress. We can’t control the events in the Middle East. We can’t control what the stock markets will do, let alone what Russia or China will do. We can’t control the weather or a host of other things.
But we can control the decisions we make. We can control how we spend our time. We can control what we prioritize. We can determine, with God’s grace and help, to put Him first.
That means we determine to prioritize quality time in prayer and the Word. We determine to turn away from known sinful activities and habits. We determine to do what we know how to do to encounter God’s love and goodness afresh. “Revive me again, Lord, that I might delight in You! Renew my love for You, and make Jesus glorious in my eyes again!”
The great 18th century evangelist Charles Finney described what happens to God’s people when they have left their first love and need to be revived and renewed.
He pointed out first that, “A revival always includes conviction of sin on the part of the Church. Backslidden professors [meaning, believers] cannot wake up and begin right away in the service of God, without deep searchings of heart. The fountains of sin need to be broken up.”
As uncomfortable as those heart-searchings can be, they are life-giving in the end. The Spirit does not condemn us. He convicts us so that we will turn away from what is wrong and pursue His mercy and His righteousness.
Next, Finney said, “Backslidden Christians will be brought to repentance. A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God. Just as in the case of a converted sinner, the first step is a deep repentance, a breaking down of heart, a getting down into the dust before God, with deep humility, and a forsaking of sin.”
This is different than going through some penitential ritual or performing some rote religious service. This is something from above that lifts us up and lifts us out of our old way of life.
Finney continued, “Christians will have their faith renewed. While they are in a backslidden state they are blind to the state of sinners. Their hearts as hard as marble. The truths of the Bible appear as a dream. They admit it to be all true; their conscience and their judgment assent to it; but their faith does not see it standing out in bold relief, in all the burning realities of eternity. But when they enter into a revival, they no longer see “men as trees, walking,” but they see things in that strong light which will renew the love of God in their hearts.”
Everything around you will look different when you are revived. You will hardly even recognize yourself.
What follows next? “A revival,” Finney explained, “breaks the power of the world and of sin over Christians. It brings them to such vantage-ground that they get a fresh impulse towards heaven; they have a new foretaste of heaven, and new desires after union with God; thus the charm of the world is broken, and the power of sin overcome.”
You really will be set free. You will experience liberty!
But it doesn’t stop there. Rather, “When the churches are thus awakened and reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow … The worst of human beings are softened and reclaimed, and made to appear as lovely specimens of the beauty of holiness.”
So, a revived church will be a church that reaches out, resulting in the radical salvation of sinners.
Does America need anything more than this? The church living as the church and the lost encountering the risen Lord?
It’s starts with you and with me.
Let this be your New Year’s prayer: “Father, I ask you to bring a great revival in 2020, starting right here in me!”
And what if you fall off the wagon, so to say, and go back to your old ways just days into the new year? Start afresh the next day. And the next day. And the next.
Soon enough, the holy fire will fall and your life be dramatically changed.
And be assured of this: God wants to revive you more than you want to be revived yourself. He desires nothing more than intimate fellowship with you.
Lord, it’s time!
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Jezebel’s War With America: The Plot to Destroy Our Country and What We Can Do to Turn the Tide. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.