The following is the continuation of a series that began with a post titled Seeking God For Arkansas, which I highly recommend for the context it provides.
Evan Roberts was a central figure in the Welsh Revival of 1904. A historic revival, it is estimated that more than 100,000 came to faith in Jesus in mere months resulting in the social transformation of this small nation. George Davis, an American journalist, interviewed Roberts and asked if he had a message for the church in America. Roberts then gave what he believed were the four conditions of revival in the above quote.
Robert’s quote has struck me as a direct parallel with our journey through Hosea 10:12 of breaking up our fallow ground. The conviction of our dedication will never exceed our desire for God. Where there is little desire, there is little conviction. That truth has to wound me enough to evaluate and reorient my every behavior. I am asking God to give me a greater desire for His fullness each day until every corner of my life reflects that desire.
Today I’m inviting the Holy Spirit to convict me and committing to these four points in preparation for the fast in January 2019.
Putting Away the Past
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. – James 5:16
First, we must call out the sin in our lives, remembering that it was in the context of confession that James said our prayers would be most effective. The Apostle Paul was clear that our greatest hope is not in our own righteousness but in the righteousness of Christ. Do not confuse confession with condemnation. Condemnation is a reflex carefully conditioned by our enemy. Conviction is of the Holy Spirit and everlasting joy is of Jesus. Through confession, we receive the power of Jesus to overcome what was once bondage to us. We must call out our familiar sins and leave them at the cross of Christ where they belong.
Greater spiritual hunger will produce greater conviction. I am inviting the Holy Spirit to search my unknown places fully expecting new areas of conviction to surface as my spiritual hunger increases. I want the joy of Christ to fill every corner of my heart. Commit to sharing your confessions with one or two of your closest peers.
Removing Every Doubtful Thing
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. – 1 Corinthians 10:23
Second, we must reverse the conversation about what is permissible in the Kingdom of God. The question is not “where is the sin line?” but “where are all the ways I can give myself to Jesus?” How far will Jesus let us go in devotion? The Apostle Paul makes two clear statements to the Corinthians that our measure of a thing is not whether or not it is lawful, but how it builds us up in Christ.
I do not want you to make any assumptions here. There is grey area here regarding every person’s life experience, but we must come to terms with Jesus’ perspective of every area of our lives. If there is anything about which we are unsure if it builds us up in Jesus, leave it behind during your pursuit to break up your fallow ground.
Prompt, Implicit Obedience to the Holy Spirit
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. – Romans 8:5
Third, we must give our attention to the Spirit-filled life of Romans 8. The Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and we can grow in receptiveness to his leadership. This is far more applicable to the seemingly insignificant details of our day than the rare major experience. We must become receptive to the faint impression of the Holy Spirit in the mundane moments of daily life. It could be something as simple as picking up a piece of trash or smiling at a stranger. Begin to ask the Holy Spirit for ways to demonstrate the love of Jesus to those around you and obey especially in the little things.
You will begin to recognize and become familiar with the leadership of the Holy Spirit more and more as we continue this journey. The confession of sin and removal of doubtful things makes each of us a ready vessel of God’s love (2 Tim 2:21). Jesus used a small community operating in this value to launch the New Testament church. Could you imagine what would happen to our communities if our churches did this?
Public Confession of Jesus
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 10:32
Lastly, get with some people and begin talking about Jesus. Don’t talk about “Christianity,” talk about Jesus. Read the words of Jesus together. Start with some friends, or even your own family, who can sit around a table to talk. Openly give Jesus the glory in every area of your life. Saying it out loud is the active ingredient in this step.
Begin to ask the Holy Spirit for opportunities to talk about Jesus with an unsaved friend. You may begin to recognize more natural opportunities to talk about Jesus. No one in the Welsh Revival would have heard about Jesus if no one opened their mouth and spoke about Him.
I am making a commitment to these four conditions over the next three months, and I want to invite you to join me. Share these four points with someone who can hold you accountable like a close friend or spouse. As a note to spouses, have grace knowing that each of these four areas will immediately be tested.
In talking about this, I cannot help but imagine what might happen if our churches rallied around these four points in preparation for 21 days of fasting and prayer in January 2019. While I feel certain that God has called me to this journey, I am praying that others would experience this same call. More than anything we need a fresh outpouring of spiritual hunger, which is the essence of breaking up our fallow ground and focus of this journey.
The only path up is down. Only in humility will the church takes its place with Jesus. Only then will we truly witness the transformation that we desire.