It became clear after the pandemic that God’s people were really struggling. Counseling appointments and posts on social media showed a consumption with angry, hopeless media and a general sense that normal life was slipping away. Many Christians were in need of a personal revival in their commitment to God.
I use the word “revival” because a quick search of the ESV shows the word is never used for church meetings, periods of religious enthusiasm, or mass conversions. For something to be revived, it must first be “vived.” It must first be alive. Sinners don’t need revival; they need regeneration.
For our purposes, the term “revival” is used for a recommitment to holiness and faithfulness, as in Psalm 85:6, “Will You revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Notice the connection between the word “revival” and the renewal of worship in God after a period of rebellion and discipline (vv. 1-5).
Well, maybe that’s you. Maybe you need personal revival. Maybe you never came out of the struggle that began in 2020. Maybe you’ve settled for a new, apathetic normal. Maybe you’ve relaxed in your fight against sin. Maybe you need gasoline poured on to the embers of your commitment to Jesus. Maybe you know things need to change, but don’t know how.
Spurgeon gives us the key to personal revival when he said, “If we want revivals, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God” (“Come from the Four Winds, O Breath!,” Vol. 38, No. 2246).
From Paul’s teachings on the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, here are three steps to personal revival:
1. Consistently Expose Yourself to the Bible
The Bible is the Inspired Word of God, meaning it came from Him as the ultimate source. As such, it is “profitable” (2 Tim 3:16). It benefits us. It blesses us. It can revive us as long as it is teaching us, reproving us, correcting us, and training us to do what’s right.
None of that will happen in your life unless you are exposing yourself to it on a consistent, disciplined basis. Psalm 119:97, the Bible should be our “meditation all the day.” Psalm 1:2, Christians are blessed when we meditate on God’s Word “day and night.”
Whether its reading, study, book reading, or sermon listening, there should be a consistency to your biblical exposure.
When Jesus was doing battle with the religious leaders, He would often ask them, “Have you not read?” He was being sarcastic. He knew they’d read the Bible. They just hadn’t read it well.
Unfortunately, if Jesus asked the same thing to most Christians it wouldn’t be in sarcasm. It would be a true question because far too many haven’t exposed themselves to the Bible as they ought. The result: a need for personal revival.
2. Constantly Allow the Bible to Influence You
Constant exposure to the teaching, reproving, correcting, and training of the Bible has the effect of making every Christian “complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:17).
The ministry of the Bible makes us capable, proficient, and completely ready to meet all demands of life. It does not leave you lacking anything you need to please God.
So, you must respond to the work of the Word in your life. You must allow it to influence your thoughts, your emotions, your attitudes, your desires, and your actions.
It must be allowed to teach you the truth as well as the good that God wants you to do.
It must be allowed to reprove or rebuke you when you believe error or are being sinful.
It must be allowed to correct you, replacing error with truth, replacing sin with what’s right, replacing selfishness with love, replacing anxiety with trust, replacing bitterness with kindness, etc.
It must be allowed to train you, to keep you going on the path the teaching, reproving, and correcting ministry God through His Word has set you on.
If it’s not the Bible, something has this ministry in your life. It’s teaching you, reproving you, correcting you, and training you, squeezing you into its mold. Is it social media? The news? The White House? Music? Movies? Athletes? Influencers?
The tide of this world will only sweep you into the need for personal revival unless you are allowing the Bible to have the primary and most impactful influence on your life.
3. Conclusively Embrace the Bible’s “Fix-ability”
Often, Christians look for quick fixes, short cuts, easy, comfortable solutions to their spiritual problems, but you can’t microwave personal revival.
When we think, “it doesn’t work” we will embrace something other than the Bible to give us what we think we need. However, our text says that when we embrace the Bible’s ability to “fix” us, to give us the growth, the change, the health we think we need, we will be equipped to do the good God wants us to do.
When we don’t allow the Bible to influence us, that’s where the coldness, the dryness, the decline, the apathy, and the sin creeps in. Let that go for too long, as many Christians have in these dark days, and you’ll be in need of personal revival.
The Bible is sufficient to give you everything you need for personal growth in holiness after salvation. The Bible is not “elementary school”, while dreams and visions are “college”. The Bible is not “elementary school”, while some –ology or –osophy is “college” for understanding reality, people, and how to help them spiritually.
The ideas and fads from non-Christian minds that are futile (Eph 4:17), darkened (Eph 4:18), ignorant (Eph 4:18), depraved (Rom 1:28), self-centered (Col 2:18), corrupted (1 Tim 6:5), and cannot even begin to do what the Bible can do in the lives of God’s kids. Why? Because the Bible came from God’s perfect, pure, healthy, holy, sinless, matchless mind (2 Tim 3:16).
When you constantly expose yourself to the Bible, constantly allow it to influence you, and conclusively embrace its ability to fix you, you will begin to experience the personal revival you may find yourself in need of. There are wonderful things found in God’s Word. May He open our eyes to see them (Ps 119:18) and keep us from going beyond what is written for the help and hope we need (1 Cor 4:6).