Revival. Pastors dream of it. Church members say they want it. Non-believers wish it would happen too, so Christians will start acting as Christ. I have begged for it to happen in the church I pastor, and even for it to begin in my own life.
And yet this morning in my prayer time I was slapped in the face with a thought on the matter. It’s too much for it to be a Facebook or Twitter post, so I thought I would share it here (my blog) – a place I rarely come to anymore. The following is really more of a hodgepodge of thought that seemed to rush over me like a cold chill:
Revival must begin in the local church if it’s going to ever reach into our community. If we are hungry for revival, then we have to be willing to die to ourselves so we can live in and for God. If we desire God to be the “consuming fire” that we sing or sang so loudly with Third Day, then somewhere there has to be a place where we give ourselves to God so He can metaphorically burn away the things that hinder our relationship with Him. There has to be a place where we allow ourselves to be, so that God can shine us to better reflect His light.
I would call this type of place an altar.
I admit, I don’t know a lot about altars. But, the more I read the Scriptures, what little bit I know about altars, and for that matter God consuming what’s on the altar as an offering, is that there has to be something on the altar for the fire to fall. I guess what I’m saying is, if we want the fire of God, to melt away anything and everything that isn’t of Him in our lives then we must become the fuel of God.
I think this is why Paul essentially says he dies daily (1 Corinthians 15), and why Jesus even says we should pick up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9). In other words, for us to be the people we desire to be, we should present ourselves as living sacrifices on our altar to the Lord.
Elijah, one of the most awesome prophets in the Scripture, never asked God’s fire to fall down on the altar until he had loaded his altar up with fuel and a worthy sacrifice. I wonder if we (and I’m including myself here) have been praying for the fire to fall but there’s nothing on the altar. Not to be a smartellic, but I don’t know if fire falls on empty altars.
John Wesley, was once asked how he got so many people to come hear him preach and how he had such a big following during the First Great Awakening. I’ll never forget the response that I read he said, “ I set myself on fire, and the people come to see me burn.” In essence, he places himself on the altar for God to use.
I wonder if revival will only come to our self, family, community, town, city, state, country, and nation, when we place ourselves on the altar, and ask God to do what He wishes. My prayer is that I’ll stay on the altar.
Thoughts? Would love to hear what you think of this…