In the next few posts, I will be focusing on three spiritual roadblocks that can hinder your revival. These three are not the only barriers to revival, but they are things I felt the Lord wanted to us to focus on here at His Inscriptions. The first barrier? Unforgiveness.
The Road to Revival
In 1994-95, I personally experienced the spiritual “wave” of renewal which swept through several locations worldwide. The “Toronto Blessing” was in full swing in Canada, and there were subsequent reports of revival power in Brownsville, Florida; Holy Trinity Brompton (England); and later, Lakeland, Florida. I decided to travel to Canada to see what this was all about.
Meetings were characterized by unusual outpourings of the Holy Spirit, which included an emphasis on the Father’s love, emotional and physical healing, laughter and joy, and a “contagious” ability to carry the anointing elsewhere, even abroad. (For a Scripture precedent, see Acts 19:1-21.)
Many ministries, such as Bethel Church under Bill Johnson, the HIM network under Che Ahn, and Heidi Baker’s IRIS mission, were either birthed or heavily influenced by the Toronto Blessing. Less notably, but very gratefully, I also experienced radical transformation and healing in this movement.
The Vineyard church I attended in Framingham, MA at that time welcomed this renewal movement. We were seeing powerful worship, anointed prayer, uncontrollable laughter,* and many healings. A significant portion of my own inner healing occurred during this time as God combined personal deliverance (which freed me) with the corporate renewal (which strengthened me).
It is well documented that one of the dominant keys to revival is the key of repentance, along with its companion key of forgiveness.
In today’s post, I’d like to share with you a very practical tool that I began using during the renewal and which still holds timeless value: the Steps of Forgiveness.
Roadblock #1: Unforgiveness
When we’ve been hurt by past offenses or toxic people, we need a tried-and-true mechanism for freedom. Often, we say the words Jesus told us to say: “I forgive you,” yet do not experience freedom from the anger that plagues us. Why? Because it only goes skin deep. To truly forgive, to fully repent, we must have a change of heart. This, my friends, is where the rubber meets the road.
The reason most people do not experience personal revival is that they are waiting for God to do something that they are supposed to do themselves!
God is watching and waiting for us to fulfill our part of the covenant. We have the authority to bind and loose things on the earth, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven into every situation we face. Yet authority in prayer and relationships is rooted in authenticity and honesty within ourselves.
Real forgiveness and true repentance come when we first take the time to acknowledge what’s in our hearts.
The Steps of Forgiveness
The Steps of Forgiveness is a biblical tool created by the Vineyard churches to walk you through the forgiveness process authentically. You can download and print your own copy of the Steps of Forgiveness here. If you’re like me, you’ll use this over and over again. There are plenty of opportunities to be offended, and I know I’ve been given plenty of practice at forgiving!
Step One of the Steps of Forgiveness is quite similar to the first step used by AA and other healing programs: "We confess the symptoms of anger, rage, fear, etc as sin, because they are indicators of deeper sin. (Ephesians 4:26-31, Romans 14:23)"
Step Two is to share your hurtful feelings with God. This is perhaps the hardest step for most people because it means we must face the depth of the pain that people have caused us and be completely honest in prayer with God. Many people never take this step, and I hope that you are not among them!
I spent countless hours in the 1990s working on just these two steps! Deep-seated pain is not quickly admitted, nor is it easily healed. If left to fester, that pain causes a rift between you and God. Forgiveness releases our offenders from the spiritual "prisons" into which we've thrown them. Repentance releases us and opens the way for the Holy Spirit to move freely our lives.
(Find all the steps of forgiveness here).
If you need the motivation to dig deep and be honest about your pain, remember that Jesus said it is the one who is forgiven much who will love much! This healing process set me free from years of cumulative pain and enabled me to move from self-protection to having genuine love for others. In other words, forgiveness and repentance led to personal revival!
The Lord desires to bring revival to everyone. Why would He not?! The "catch" is that to experience God fully, we must give ourselves fully to Him. This includes dealing with the “sore spots” in our emotional lives that we’d rather protect and defend.
Repentance and forgiveness are not popular topics these days. They take work. The process can be pretty ugly. But we have two great promises to encourage us. “I will be with you in trouble” (Psalm 91:15) is one. The other is this powerful one from Isaiah 57:15:
This is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
Your repentance removes the roadblocks to revival. I pray that the Lord brings personal revival and refreshment to you as you seek to honor Him with an honest heart. I pray that you will take the time to go deeper within so that He can bring you up higher in Him!
Download your free copy of the Steps of Forgiveness here. Tuck it into your Bible and use as needed, like I did. I promise: your obedience will be rewarded!
*Why the laughter? Many people unfamiliar with sovereign moves of the Lord find some of the manifestations puzzling. While the Bible does not address every manifestation, it does give us very clear understanding of some; laughter included. Nehemiah 8:10 reads: “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Psalm 16:11 reads: In the Presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy.” It should not be strange to believers that a move of God would include great joy: a joy that strengthens us in the midst of our battles and reminds us of His Presence with us!
© Deborah S. Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com. Photo credit: Stephen Walker of Unsplash.
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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.