“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you (Psalm 85:6 ESV)?
Martyn Lloyd-Jones once wrote, “The greatest need of the hour is that the thoughts and the minds and the prayers of Christian people everywhere throughout the world should be channeled and directed into this matter of the urgent need of revival.” He defined revival as, “A period of unusual blessing and activity in the life of the Christian.” He often associated it with a special filling of the Holy Spirit. Now, the Christian is filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit upon being born again (Eph. 1:13-15), but, elsewhere we are commanded to continually seek to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), and we see examples of God’s special outpouring of the Spirit throughout Scripture and church history (see Acts). And that seems to be what Lloyd-Jones had in mind when he spoke of revival.
We are to pray for and seek to always be filled with the Spirit, which involves fighting sin, pursuing holiness, digging deep into God’s Word, gathering with God’s people and doing whatever else we can to lay the kindling around our hearts, to put the wood on the altar that God might ignite for revival as He so pleases. We are to seek personal revival and hope and pray that God might grant corporate revival. And when God grants revival the heart is so gripped by God’s grace that the Christian is given over to rejoicing, to a life of praise. And that seems to be what the Psalmist has in mind in Psalm 85:6.
When God grants revival our eyes are opened to the depth of our sin, to the riches of God’s grace, and the glory of our great God and Savior, King Jesus. And when we see those things aright, with the eyes of faith, our hearts sing. Grumbling and pride are replaced with praise and humility. As Tim Keller has said, “In a revival sleepy Christians wake up, nominal Christians get converted, and non-Christians get reached.” And this is because the Christian witness gets bold and attractive because the Christian life is overwhelmed with joy. That’s why Lloyd-Jones said that revival is the greatest need of the hour. In revival we are filled with the greatest joy in existence, and the world is reached by the rejoicing and praise of joyful Christians; for when our hearts rejoice in the Lord, we can’t help but share Him with others. So, may the Lord revive us for our good and His glory.
I am nothing; Christ is all!