Many of us long to see revival break out, a Church that spreads like wildfire just as recorded in the book of Acts! We long for wonderous signs of salvation, miracles, prophetic words, people speaking in tongues, a love, joy and peace like never experienced before. These are some of the outpourings of the Holy Spirit and it sometimes sounds so simple in Acts 2, so what are we supposed to do when it doesn’t seem to happen, when is the right time?
Simple answer is, in God’s time, everything is always in His time, so what is our part in His perfect timing? You only need to read the Gospels and more of the book of Acts to know that it wasn’t all plain sailing, people didn’t just appear like in Acts 2 and it just happened. There was prayer, preparation and proclamation on the Gospel. I believe currently that some of us as Christians have been caught up in the trap of waiting for God’s timing and therefore become inactive or ineffective. We’ve told ourselves all things will happen in His perfect time (which is true) so we will just sit on our hands and wait it out (which we shouldn't do). We also convince ourselves that we are not good enough or become bound by fear, fear that stops us from sharing our faith or inviting people to church or even round for a meal which could lead to conversations of faith. We tell ourselves we are not good enough for these things, so we just won’t do it. It’s not a negative statement, I myself fall into this so often and all it leads to is disappointment and missed opportunities, thankfully we have a God who keeps giving us a chances to build rather than to fall.
We are good enough, we need not fear, when Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ He didn’t say fear would not come but just not to let our hearts be overcome when it does. So for revival there is much exciting work to be done. Our first and foremost mission is to spread the Good News, Jesus told us, “Go into all the world, baptising people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28. When Jesus ministered to people His primary concern for people was not just to serve or heal people, but it was to ensure a person’s eternal destination, it was to deal with sin. Therefore, we all have a story to share and we should share it at every opportunity. I love reading the Bible in One Year as we are hearing that Paul was arrested and imprisoned numerous times! He was beaten and chased out of towns, to which he left filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, which sounds a bit crazy, but it’s true. I often think Paul spent every day just living happily for the Gospel, travelling from place to place and seeing thousands come to Christ, but as we are reading, that’s not always the case.
As we read later on in the book of Acts, that Paul is actually put in prison and on trial, in fact on death row really as he is almost killed several times. When taking to the stand in court, he would take every opportunity to share his faith and tell people about Jesus, did everyone listen and respond? Nope, in fact that sometimes led to further persecution. He was sent from place to place to be put on trial in front of numerous officials and each time he would share his story about Jesus, which in fact went on for around 2 years. It seems like a total waste that he would spend so long in prison, fighting for his freedom, but no, he just remained faithful to the Gospel. I often feel afraid to share my faith from fear of what others might say, I often wonder why I’m in a certain situation and wonder why it’s taking so long, how about you? Does that mean the story ends? No, we still have an amazing God, we don’t just become inactive because our story of how we met Him can still be told. That’s when we see change in our lives and that of those around us. Will we have persecution for sharing our faith? Yes, but it’s worth it. Will everyone come to faith there and then? Probably not, but it’s still worth sharing as some will respond either straight away or over time.
The next part of what we can do other than sharing our faith, is growing in our relationship with God ourselves. Revival starts in our own hearts and if we want to see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, then it can pour out from us as we are filled to overflowing! This involves reading the Bible, it involves prayer where we talk to God and it involves listening to Him as well. Not because we have to, not because it’s the holy thing to do, but because we love God so much that we want to bask in His splendour through all of these way’s. This becomes infectious, it creates faith, opportunities to share and serve others, it changes lives!
Let’s be participators and facilitators in bringing the Kingdom of God into our homes, our streets, our workplace, our friendships, our neighbourhoods and our towns. We don’t need to wait, we just need to get involved in all that God is doing with us and through us. It’s an absolute rollercoaster ride, it has its highs and lows, its challenges and it’s frustrations but it’s worth it as we live a life that is supernaturally natural, countercultural and ultimately pleasing to the one who created us!