As an evangelist, a great deal of my time is spent preaching revival services. In my experience it takes more than printing the word “revival” in the Sunday bulletin for a fellowship of believers to be revived. So what is the essential ingredient to genuine revival? It’s brokenness.
The problem we face is a misunderstanding about what it means to be broken before the Lord. Some believe that brokenness is a kind of morbid introspection. These people think if they mentally and emotionally punish themselves, in order to feel the pain and guilt of unconfessed sin, God will notice the sincerity of their sorrow. Nope, that’s not brokenness. According to 2 Corinthians 7:10, that kind of sorrow only produces death. Brokenness isn’t feeling miserable about sin; it’s finding freedom from it!
Brokenness comes by way of the Cross. It is uniting with Christ in His death so that we can identify with Christ in His life. Brokenness lives out the words of the Apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Roy Hession put it this way in The Calvary Road, “To be broken is the beginning of revival. It is painful, it is humiliating, but it is the only way. It is being ‘Not I, but Christ.’ The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows its head to God’s will, admits it is wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory–that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words, it is dying to self and self-attitudes.”
Brokenness is the soil in which God grows revival because it brings us back into a proper relationship with Him, allowing us to fully enjoy fellowship in His presence. And you can’t have genuine personal or corporate revival without the presence of God. Consider what Isaiah 57:15 tells us about experiencing God’s presence, “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”
King David realized how a spirit of brokenness affected his relationship with the Lord, “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:16–17).
Simply put, brokenness is a daily decision to deny the self-life in order to live the Christ-life. Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, accomplished God’s will in obedience to God’s Word. We are to do the same by dying to self and living in Christ. Remember, this is not a life we earn. It is one that Jesus graciously paid for and gives to us – not because we are good enough but because He is God enough!
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