When we look at the condition of our world and of the spiritual temperature of the church, the clear assessment is that we need revival. Not a revival meeting or a revival as a once-a-year event, but a revival akin to an awakening, like our nation has experienced in the past. It is a re-capturing of lost spiritual ground, exemplified by what Jesus said to the church at Ephesus, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). Understanding our present condition, revival would be to rekindle that love by remembering “from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (Rev. 2:5).
Which naturally leads to a few questions.
What is a Christian revival?
Why is revival so important in the life of a Believer?
What are some examples of past revivals?
What happens during a revival?
How does spiritual revival take place?
What are the effects of a revival?
And how can we begin the process of revival today?
We should also note, the process of revival is the quickest way to experience the Higher Christian Life we have been talking about. Why? Because the definition of revival is a “spiritual awakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer.” And this spiritual awakening comes from a resurgence of faith in the believer. Not faith for salvation, but faith in the Word and character of God. It is taking God at His Word and living one’s life in accordance with His truth, and not what we think or feel or want.
And the key to revival and the Higher Christian Life, as with most things in our walk with Christ, is faith.
There are two ways to be successful in almost every area of life, both physical and spiritual. One, find someone who is successful and do exactly what they did to become successful. Or two, find a dismal failure, someone you would never want to be like, and do the exact opposite of what they did to get where they are. This principle works in both the natural life and the spiritual life.
The problem for us, especially regarding living by faith, is that we don’t know many believers who have achieved what we desire. Most of our faith heroes are long since gone and many today struggle like we do with faith. There are very few, if any, Christian leaders who, like Paul, would confidently say, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). If there were, we could follow and imitate them and learn from their life. But faith heroes like these are few, especially in the West.
So what are we to do? Simple. We will learn and be discipled by the faith heroes of the past. And in my estimation, the greatest example of pure faith in the last 300 years is a man named George Muller.
Let me tell you just a little about his life.
• He was born in 1805 in Prussia (Germany) and died in 1898, at the age of 92.
• He was an evangelist and the founder and director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, and cared for over 10,024 orphans during his lifetime.
• He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children.
• He established the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad and distributed over 285,407 Bibles, 1,459,506 New Testaments, and 244,351 other religious tracks that were translated into twenty languages.
And he did all of this by prayer alone. Muller never solicited gifts nor went into dept nor told anyone their financial needs. When asked, he would say, “the Lord provides for all our needs.” It is estimated he prayed into the ministry over $113,000,000.
I believe this is someone we can learn from regarding faith, don’t you?