What makes one person thrive while another barely survives? Why do some people seem to live almost effortlessly, while others go through life hanging on by their fingernails? Even Christians are not exempt. We cling to the Gospel's wonderful hope of heaven. But is that all there is? What about the problems in this present life? What do I do between now and eternity?
I believe there is a key difference between survivors and those who thrive in life. Or for Christians, between the survivors and the revivers! It's not just a difference between rich and poor. It's actually a different state of mind.
To describe this, let's look at the law of the jungle.
For many years, my husband had a stunning framed photograph in his office entitled, "The Essence of Survival." It is a photo of a lion and a gazelle, and the quotation reads:
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed...
Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle
or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle...
When the sun comes up, you'd better be running.
The essence of jungle life is survival. If you weaken or lag behind, you die. There isn't really any hope beyond what your own strength can accomplish for you. People in survival mode literally run themselves to death.
Eerily, we humans have come to adopt this same attitude. One look at what we call the "rat race" is enough to illustrate that truth! However, this change of mind is very subtle. Step into any executive's office today and you're likely to see an inspirational photograph entitled "Success," "Courage," or "Winning." Sound encouraging? It is, as long as you're the one on top.
So what happens when you fail? When cancer strikes and you can no longer provide for your family? When the layoff is just too big and there aren't any offices left for you to hang your photograph? What then?
When there's no more room at the inn, that's when your miracle takes place!
Jesus wasn't born into a wealthy family or even a comfortable bed. He spent His first night in a feeding trough made for an animal. The miracle of God entered our world in a place where only the law of survival was known. Christ came to the dung and stench of this "jungle" we call home. And He showed us that it is possible to move from a place of utter helplessness to complete victory.
How? Well, for Jesus, He overcame death, sickness, sin, and separation from God so that we could find a heart-home with the Father. Most of us understand that. We love that we have salvation, that there is an eternal security available when we believe in Christ and what He did. That is amazing news in itself.
However, this doesn't really solve our original dilemma. Many Christians live miserable lives in the here and now, just waiting for God to "do something" or for their circumstances to improve. They are surprised when - at least in the natural - nothing changes. So doctrines are created: the doctrine of the "blessings" of poverty. The "gift" of sickness. The "need" for God to take someone home to heaven prematurely.
Fortunately, none of these things are in the Bible! Suffering for faith - persecution - is to be expected, but suffering because of unbelief is not godly! God in Christ has empowered us to overcome the suffering caused by sin. He's given us the gift of revival!
The Law of Revival
What is revival, anyway? Is it thousands of people filling stadiums to hear the Gospel? Yes. Is it healing someone at the grocery store? Yes. What we sometimes miss, though, is that revival starts with us, on the inside. Would you believe it if I told you that God is interested in reviving us, personally? That we are not waiting for Him to act, but that He is actually waiting for US?
God says: "I'd like you to BE a tree like that!"
God has already given trees everything they need in the natural to revive themselves and produce fruit every Spring. He's also given man everything he needs to go from survival to revival. How? Through the cross.
The Crux of the Matter
What we need is a "crossover" in our state of mind. We need to look at the cross of Christ and see the full extent of the debt He paid for us, the promise He extended to believers to cross over from the safari of death to the adventure of life!
So many of the Bible's promises and prophecies are conditional. Seek and you will find. Honor God with a tithe (tenth) of your income and you will be blessed. Sow and you will reap. Does God bless us on His own? Sometimes. But more often, He is waiting for us to align ourselves with HIS plan rather than hoping He will align with ours!
How to Tap Into Revival
Revival is taking the promises we see in the Bible and applying them to our lives. Jesus came to give us abundant life. The gospel of John tells us that life is in the Word! (John 1). As we search the Scriptures for the practical things He's asked us to do, and then invest ourselves in doing them, we see our circumstances begin to change. Like a snowball effect, we find that as we bless Him by doing His will, blessings overtake us! (Deuteronomy 28:2). The most important step towards revival is to put God first in all things.
Revival starts with a heart-to-heart connection with God in prayer. Far deeper than a "Hail Mary" or even an "Our Father...", it's an emptying of our own concerns so that we can be filled with His. Moses spent many days alone with God before radiating His glory! His persistence in the Spirit paid off. He was given strategies for life and a glimpse of the true nature of God, something no one had ever asked for before. (More on prayer here.)
Joshua did the same thing. It's the ones who camp out at the door of God's tent who become the most intimate with Him. Instead of doing things in their own strength, they learn to operate in His. Through constant communication with God, Joshua conquered the nations and brought Israel into the Promised Land. To walk in the power of personal revival is to walk in a place of victory.
Romans 8:18-19 says "creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." You became a child of God when you first believed in Jesus. But beyond the eternal redemption of our bodies, this scripture speaks of the freedom and blessing that comes when God's children tap into and then release the glory of God that is inside of them.
It's time to take down the signposts of survival. Several churches I know of hang discarded crutches, broken casts, and other medical "memorabilia" - signs of healings people have received. Now that's revival! Do your walls testify of things done in your own strength, or in the power of God?
Everything we need for life and godliness is inside of us from the time we believe. (2 Peter 1:3) We don't need more faith, power, or anointing. We simply need to decide to use more of what we've been given. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you tap deeply into the Presence of God and you'll cross over from survival to revival!
Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
and manifests through us the sweet aroma
of the knowledge of Him in every place.
(2 Corinthians 2:14, NASB)
©. Deborah Perkins / HisInscriptions.com
Deborah Perkins is passionate about helping others connect with God. She writes about knowing God and hearing His voice atHisInscriptions.com. For daily updates, follow her on Twitter@DeborahSPerkins, or contact her directly here.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.