“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down!” (Isaiah 64:1)
God Confronts And Invites
When was the last time you got real with God? Or maybe a better question would be, Have you ever gotten real with God?
That seems blunt, I know. But when it comes to how we relate to God, we need point-blank questions to dart past our pretense and beckon upon us to consider what matters most to Him.
That’s why the Bible can be such a jarring book. It’s God’s inspired, self-revealing Word to us. And if we read it honestly, it reads us by confronting us with crucial questions about what’s going on in our hearts.
But not only that; it also invites us to experience God’s reality. We tend to think reality exists in terms of bills to be paid, errands to be run, and schedules to be kept; but God won’t let us settle for that. Instead, He’s calling all of us to get real with Him, however uncomfortable and inconvenient it might be. That’s where the blessing is. It’s how we come to experience His presence powerfully.
Tozer’s Pathways to Revival
This is why I love A.W. Tozer (1897-1963). As a preacher and pastor, Tozer saw—quite prophetically!—the greatest threats to revival in the church of his day. And much of what he said about it still resonates profoundly in our time. Therefore, I encourage you to consider his five-fold pathway to revival. These deeply biblical admonitions will help us get real with God in order that we might open our lives more fully to the work of His reviving Spirit.
1. Get thoroughly dissatisfied with yourself. Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. When speaking of earthly goods Paul could say, “I have learned to be content,” but when referring to his spiritual life he testified, “I press toward the mark.” So stir up the gift of God that is in you.
2. Set your face like a flint toward a sweeping transformation of your life. Timid experimenters are tagged for failure before they start. We must throw our whole soul into our desire for God.
3. Put yourself in the way of the blessing. It is a mistake to look for grace to visit us as a kind of benign magic, or to expect God’s help to come as a windfall apart from conditions known and met. There are plainly marked paths, which lead straight to the green pastures; let us walk in them. To desire revival, for instance, and at the same time to neglect prayer and devotion, is to wish one way and walk another.
4. Do a thorough job of repenting. Do not hurry to get it over with. Hasty repentance means shallow spiritual experience and lack of certainty in the whole life. Let godly sorrow do her healing work. It is our wretched habit of tolerating sin that keeps us in our half-dead condition.
5. Make restitution wherever possible. If you owe a debt, pay it, or at least have a frank understanding with your creditor about your intention to pay, so your honesty will be above question. If you have quarreled with anyone, go as far as you can in an effort to achieve reconciliation. As fully as possible, make the crooked things straight.
(Quoted in Heart-Cry for Revival, Olford, p.30)
Journeying this path isn’t easy, but it’s possible. If we dare trod it, God’s Spirit can position us to receive His blessing in our time. And Tozer’s words are a map showing us where to find the threshold of biblical revival. They serve to remind us that we must turn away from everything that hampers our relationship with Christ and move toward Him with resolute hunger for His power, refusing to settle for mediocrity.
So in light of this, there are two questions we all need to be asking as Sunday approaches. First, What do I need to do to get real with God? And second, What am I expecting God to do as LifePoint gathers for worship? It’s high time we face reality. Let’s give these questions prayerful consideration. And once we’ve dealt with them honestly, let’s call on God to “rend the heavens and come down” (Is. 64:1).
Liturgy for Sunday, September 27, 2015:
Call to Worship: Psalm 95:1-2
Confession & Assurance: Romans 3:23-26
Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17