People often ask me, "How will we know true revival when it comes to our city?" To me, a revival is not legitimized merely by the increasing numbers of signs and wonders. Moses, Elijah and Elisha all had great signs accompanying their lives, but proliferation of signs did not create a revival nor does their existence equate to revival. Israel was often awed by manifestations, yet spiritual signs never brought the nation to lasting repentance.
What about powerful and exciting church services? Personally, I do not believe church services, even if they are daily and continue until midnight, are themselves a convincing sign of revival. Increased services may accompany spiritual renewal, but neither are they, in themselves, evidence of a move of God.
What, then, should revival look like? On an individual, person-by-person level, a true revival looks like people being empowered to become like Jesus.
I do not mean that they have become emotional or happy or animated about Jesus, but that they have received power to become like Him. Deep in their spirit a Christ-awakening occurs and they see Jesus not only as the payment for their sins, but as the pattern for their lives.
This is that which fell at Pentecost. It turned fearful, prideful disciples into humble, powerful replicas of Jesus.
They did not just pray in tongues, they spoke the Word of God with boldness just like Jesus. They healed people, just like Jesus; they were willing to suffer for Christ, just as He willingly suffered for them.
Today, we do not have the fire of the Holy Ghost, we have Casper, the friendly ghost. With Casper, everyone goes to heaven. Casper cuddles, but never convicts. He never calls people into conformity with Christ. We think because we are people-sensitive instead of insensitive that we have climbed the ladder toward spiritual fulfillment. No. The kingdom of heaven is not a club or association. It is the fire of Christ's passions flowing like hot lava into the backbone of a once defeated people. It is radiant faces, purified souls and holy lips. It is people becoming like Jesus.
People keep looking for manifestations to prove (or disprove) the legitimacy of revival, but the only true manifestation of revival is the manifestation of Christ in His people. Don't give me any of that old time religion, I want Jesus.
The Revival Test So, let us test ourselves to see if Christ is truly manifested in our lives. In the practical outworking of God's grace, as individuals, let us hold our walk next to the standards of Christ. As honestly as you can, answer the following questions.
1. Is the character of Christ visibly emerging in my life so that in temptation I turn from evil and in trials I endure graciously? 2. Is the love of Jesus increasing in me toward those with whom I disagree?
Am I praying for those who persecute me and blessing those who have cursed me? 3. Is the meekness of Christ guarding my heart and mind so that I can handle correction or rejection without being offended? 4. Have I replaced my tendency to judge the imperfections of people, other churches or the world around me with, instead, a passion to intercede for them? 5. Am I fearless and unintimidated by the devil, confident of my authority in Christ, maintaining my peace even in adversity? 6. Do I love the Word of God, studying it daily, striving in faith to walk in obedience all it presents? 7. Like Jesus and the early disciples, am I willing to lay down my life for the purposes and glory of God? 8. With Christ-motivated love, am I laboring together with God to see sinners saved?
A person who answered "yes" to most or all of the above questions has either been touched by a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit or has already been walking with God and has not been in need of reviving.
If, however, these attitudes are lacking in your personal walk, then, regardless of whether you have or have not been recently touched by signs or manifestations, you need to seek God about your focus. Remember: Personal revival is just one decision away. It manifests as you become like Jesus.