In ancient Israel, God’s people often drifted away from Him, away from reverence toward His law, and away from His protection. As a result, they were often controlled by heathen nations. It was in such a dark hour that the prophet Samuel arose to bring the stern reproof needed to draw Israel back to God. A great spiritual revival was needed before the strong hand of the Philistines would be removed. In leading the people back to a relationship with God and His law, Samuel helped the Israelites recognize how far they had drifted into secularism and idolatry. With deep humiliation, they confessed their sins. Samuel brought a revival of spirituality to Israel.
“There is need today of such a revival of true heart religion as was experienced by ancient Israel. Repentance is the first step that must be taken by all who would return to God. . . . We must individually humble our souls before God and put away our idols.”1
Revive means to “bring back to life.” Today there is a great need for revival, for renewal of spiritual life, and for a resurrection from apathy and spiritual death.
Is our spirituality and the spirituality in our congregations in need of revival, of being brought back to a vigorous life? What are the signs in our lives? What barriers limit the deep relationship God wants to have with us? Are we too busy with everyday cares to spend time with Him? Have big homes, expensive possessions, ocean cruises, or fame and prestige become our idols?
How do we spend our time? Are we often in prayer, seeking to know God’s will, or do sports, TV, and hobbies hold all our attention?
Without revival, we are spiritually dead. Spiritual lethargy overcomes us. But the good news is that revival is possible for everyone. The key is spending time with God in prayer and in the study of His Word. We need a deep understanding of the mercy that God offers us, recognizing that He accepts us through Christ.
Inevitably, as we realize our complete helplessness, we will feel a deep and terrible sense of sin. In our helplessness we will cast ourselves upon the love, mercy, and compassion of God. This is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit that revival occurs.
And what are the results of revival, of renewed spiritual life? God’s people will have a special concern for their family members who do not know Jesus. They will tell others about Him. There will be a passion driving them.
Ellen G. White assures us, “If the life of Jesus were in you, you would be filled with vital energy. The church would not be in a cold, backslidden state, but we should see the revival of the missionary spirit. You . . . would seek to extend the glad tidings of salvation to this and that relative, neighbor or friend.”2 This revival will be the result of earnest heart-searching and solemn prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Are you praying for such a visitation? Are you yearning for revival in your own life and in your church? God is waiting for us to turn to Him with our whole hearts. He longs for a people faithful to His commandments and drawn by His mercy and love. He promises to again pour out His spirit.
This is what God can do. This is what God has done. Together let us ask Him—plead with Him— to do this again, that His mighty hand may be known and His great name be glorified and magnified among the people.
1 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 590.
2 “Ye Are Complete in Him,” part 3; abstract of a sermon in Melbourne, Australia, December 19, 1891.
Jonas Arrais General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary