by Selwyn HughesSix Effects of Real Revival
"While revivals do not last, the effects of revival always endure."
-F. Carlton Booth
Revival results in greater power and purity in the church. But what does this mean in practical terms?
First, it means that long-standing habits of self-indulgence, which surrender neither to reason nor to God, will be broken when revival comes. Unconfessed sins have been covered over for years will be brought to light. The interesting thing about the exposure of sin in times of revival is that the fear and shame which usually accompany such moments are thought of as nothing in comparison with the prospect of forgiveness and cleansing.
Second, it means that the plans and strategies of the church are thrown into upheaval and disarray. Goals and ambitions once thought to be of the utmost spiritual importance are seen to be but temporal. God's timing, God's purpose, God's plans rule the day. Some church structures may collapse when revival comes, but are then rebuilt "according to the pattern shown in the Mount" (Heb. 8:5).
A third result of revival is the breaking of the will. When God moves from heaven in extraordinary power, all that stands in opposition to Him may be expected to be broken and cast aside. Pastors, elders, and leaders will be broken by revival. Men who have preached interesting and eloquent sermons may discover their ministry has the value of "wood, hay, and stubble." Sermons and messages which seemed satisfactory enough in previous days will never do for revival. God, the Master Workman, will break the congregation, too. Men and women, who had resisted Him and His Word, now find themselves pliant and ready to do His bidding. But the breaking always leads to remaking. God not only pulls down, He builds up.
A fourth result of revival among the people of God is that holiness becomes the prime object of their lives. To be like Jesus often becomes the theme song of a revival. Christians are consumed with the desire to conform to Christ's image, and the principle of Romans 8:29-"God decided that those who came to him... should become like his son"-becomes the dominating passion of their lives. The great truths of Scripture are no longer relegated to group discussions in church on a Sunday, or in a midweek house group, but are lived out on a daily basis and applied in every exigency of life. Revived people are truly a holy people.
A fifth result of the revival is that Christians become greatly burdened for the souls of unbelievers. Prayer for the eternal welfare of those outside of Christ becomes a passion. Someone said that the word that is characteristic of revival is the word "Oh." It comes out continually in the prayers of those who agonize for the lost. "Oh God," they cry, "save those who are dying in sin." Nothing short of lasting conversions will satisfy the saints in a time of the revival. They pray that the same liberating Spirit that broke and remade them will do the same in the hearts of their friends, families, acquaintances and the people throughout the world. New converts are made without arm-twisting. No elaborate plans for follow-up are necessary as new coverts stand on their own feet from the moment of conversion.
A sixth result of revival is that Christians begin to manifest the love of Christ toward one another. Those who have borne grudges or have gossiped about other Christians go to those they have wronged and ask for their forgiveness. Maintaining a clear conscience becomes a matter of paramount importance. Those who have sinned privately make their confession to God whom they have wronged. Those who have sinned publicly find the grace and the strength to make a public confession. A watching world will look on in amazement as it sees Christians, who hitherto lived hypocritical lives, now take their faith seriously. The light that shines in a revived church cannot be put out. It shines more and more until the perfect day.
From Revival Congresses SA, headquartered in New Zealand.
Selwyn Hughes is the founder of Crusade for World Revival and author of Every Day with Jesus, one of the most popular devotionals worldwide. A pastor and evangelist in the early days of his ministry, Selwyn is now primarily involved in Christian writing and conducting training seminars both in the UK and abroad.