According to Charles Finney, an evangelist of the Second Great Awakening, “Revival is a renewed conviction of sin and repentance, followed by an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is giving up one’s will to God in deep humility.” Although Finney’s formula for revival may sound simple it is often difficult to put into practice. A. W. Tozer, a CMA pastor and novelist, felt that “the average Christian is so cold and contented with his wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness.” Christians have a stigma to battle; we are often classified as stuffy, legalistic, uptight “fundamentalists” without warmth, passion, or vibrance. If we have any desire to have an impact on our world, we will have to extend ourselves beyond our comfort zone to tangibly demonstrate God’s love, compassion, joy, and convictions based on Biblical Truth!
We’re surrounded by churches here in the United States. Our communities are speckled with multiple buildings representing numerous denominations. We say we’re Christian and we go to church or mass but we live in a day when simply showing up one day a week to learn about the Lord is not enough. We can follow the rules perfectly and mimic all the Christian verbiage but unless God gets a hold of our hearts and quickens our convictions, we will be ineffective as spiritual leaders for this desperate generation. It has to be real.
Studying at a public school before attending Cedarville University gave me a unique perspective on my faith in Jesus Christ. A few years ago, a movie was released in which an innocent young boy claimed to see dead people. “They don’t know they’re dead,” he said — Walking through the halls on campus at a secular institution was like wandering through a morgue. It stirs you inside when you realize that so many people are spiritually dead and going to hell; your responses to those people change dramatically! The sense of urgency you feel to express God’s love is overwhelming! It comes to a point where you no longer care what people think of you or how they treat you as long as they come to understand the Truth and have an opportunity to accept it.
As believers we should be openly expressive about what we know to be true. In times of worship, we should be willing to praise God with total abandon. Anyone who has ever been in-love can tell you how a passionate relationship wakes you up inside; it is as if you were not alive until you met that special person. This is only a fraction of the excitement we ought to feel about Jesus Christ!
We all know people who get so passionate about the Superbowl or other sports events that they jump up and down and yell at the top of their lungs when their team receives a point; there are others who behave much the same way for hours at a rock concert. However, many of these same people show little or no emotion in worshipping God and can’t bring themselves to make a bold statement of faith. This doesn’t make sense! There is nothing private or reserved about our faith. God’s people should be
extreme the most vocal about who we are and what we believe. It’s only pride and fear that restrains us from boldly “coming out of the closet!”
Are you living in a state of complacency or are you passionate and convicted about God’s Truth and salvation? Are you willing to be absolutely sold out for Jesus, not worried about what anyone else thinks? He wasn’t concerned about what people thought when He hung on that cross out of love for you! As you look toward tomorrow (See You at the Pole 2011) and the school year still ahead, make God the central focus of your life. Cultivate a deep love-relationship with Jesus and don’t be afraid to tell others what He has done for you.
II Timothy 1:7-8 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.”