The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com
The word revival is from the Hebrew word “chayah” and it means to bring back to life, to restore, rejuvenate, and renew. In the context of spiritual revival it is often referred to as the great exchange where man is shown his need to rededicate his life back to God and through repentance he yields his will to God’s will. Jesus then restores the personal relationship that was lost and floods the conscience with His joy and peace. There have been many of these outpourings of God’s Spirit throughout the world which were driven by fervent compassion and prayer. History records one of these such movements in Wales or as some call it Welsh which borders England. This revival started in 1904 and was the largest Christian awakening in Europe during the 20th century. Many eyewitness events were noted such as there being an overwhelming sense of God’s presence in homes, at work, in the public marketplaces and even in the bars and nightclubs. The conviction of sin was so powerful, it was widely recorded that many were seen laying flat on the ground in the agony of guilt and repentance, while countless others were seen falling on their knees crying out for God’s mercy.
Church members and spiritual leaders confessing their secret sins were coming forth as a flood of honesty and humility resulted in long-standing debts being paid, stolen goods returned, church and family feuds healed and enemies being reconciled. As sin was being dealt with, the presence of God began to release an overwhelming sense of joy, peace, and praise! It was common to see gatherings last for eight hours and were filled with testimonies, worship, healing, and excitement. As these services would last all night, men would arrive in their work clothes with their lunches and in the morning they would leave and go to work. Prayer meetings were held in schools, train terminals, businesses, and in open fields. Book stores sold out of Bibles as people were consumed with the desire to study God’s Word and to share the gospel everywhere they went. It was estimated that 100,000 people accepted Christ in six months and at its peak, a staggering 90 percent of the people were attending church. Remarkably much of the nation began to embrace and demonstrate the nature and character of God.
With being involved in ministry most of my adult life, I have never seen a public display of the Holy Spirit at this level of intensity. Such an outpouring is recognized as a spiritual awakening and many saints are praying today that God will send His refining fire to our nation soon. When a person is convicted of their lukewarmness, they will make a decision to surrender to their heart to Christ or resist. For the ones who choose to allow the Lord to break their heart of stone and fill them with His hope and security, this is the miracle of personal revival. True confessions from the depths of the human soul are the most costly and yet are also the most rewarding. Henry Blackaby is quoted as saying, “Revival is when God’s people return to Him and He returns to them, and everyone sees the difference.”
When we consider how much Jesus loves us and how He draws us by His grace, let us rejoice that it does not please Him to condemn anyone, but rather He longs to deliver and set everyone free and proved it when He died for us on the cross. We are reminded in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We notice here in this wonderful promise that when God’s people cry out to Him, He will listen and intervene. Moral decline brings judgment and God can use this to arouse the human conscience as this holy connection with the Almighty can rekindle the life-changing fires of spiritual transformation. I encourage you today to repent and ask the Lord to wash away your sins, as you return to your first love. Romans 10:9-10 promises, “If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”