FEBRUARY 20, 2023
There is a lot of talk these days about revival. In fact, over the last two weeks that term has become one of the most popular words used within Christian circles. And the reason is because of the Asbury Revival that began on February 8, 2023.
What is a revival, you ask? A “revival” is a reawakening, as Oxford Languages defines it, of religious fervor. In the Biblical sense, a revival is when the people of God actually want God. You may think that should be obvious, but even God’s people get distracted and lose perspective and get caught up in sin at times. Thus, a revival, or reawakening, is when a Christ-follower’s spiritual fire is stoked within them. The fire is fed by His Word & it is fanned into a burning flame by His Spirit – the two go hand in hand and neither can take place without the other.
God’s Spirit Works Through God’s Word to Revive His People
One of my favorite kings in Israel’s history was King Josiah (2 Kings 22). When Josiah was twenty-six years old, he sent a man to go into the temple to count the treasury. He basically performed a financial audit of all the money that had been given and instructed that money to be used to repair God’s temple which had, up to this point, not been maintained. However, when the priest had gone into every room and searched every corner, he found something that was worth far more than gold: the Book of the Law.
What this tells us is that even though the Word of God had been residing there in the temple for who knows how long, it had simply been collecting dust. But when the priest saw it, he exclaimed, “I have found the Book of the Law!” There was excitement in his voice and an urgency to get it in the king’s hands and read it for the king’s ears.
And “when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.” Why? Because for far too long his faith was simply cultural and superficial just like those who had come before him; but in this moment, when the Word of God was read, it pierced his heart and soul and mind like an arrow striking through a warriors’ chest (Hebrews 4:12). Even though Josiah was already a believer at this point, his response was one of repentance and revealed a genuine desire to know the LORD and walk obediently in God’s commands.
What Happened Next & How Did Josiah Retain This Revival?
King Josiah then proceeded to reform the nation of Israel and to legislate righteousness like never before. He publicized his faith, removed the distractions from his life, tore down the high places of paganism and idol worship, and even exercised capital punishment on all the priests who were leading the people further away from the LORD. It cannot be understated that hearing God’s Word, was the defining moment of his life. Take note because this is of utmost importance: God’s Word is what God used to change the entire trajectory of his life.
But how did he retain (meaning, to keep possession of) this revival and how can we along with the people of Asbury retain what God’s Spirit is doing today? First, it has to be acknowledged that the emotions of this event will eventually correct. That is not bad, that is normal and good because of the world we live in and the fact that God wants to teach His people things both when we are standing on the mountain-tops and when we are down low in the valleys.
As each one of us has to learn, the Christian life is not all spiritual highs and constant emotional gratification. There are certainly excitingly easy times, but there are also excruciatingly harder times as well and retaining this revival that God has sparked in the hearts and minds of His people through both the highs and the lows will be of utmost importance. But the only way to do it is to keep yourself plugged into the only thing that started it all in the first place: the Book of the Law (i.e. the Bible – God’s Word). As happened in Asbury and just like in Josiah’s day, God’s Word is what started the revival and God’s Word is what will continue this transformation process on into the rest of our lives.
So, yes, is God’s Spirit at work? Absolutely! But God’s Spirit will always be at work through God’s Word. Plain and simple. Thus, emotional high or not, choosing to remain in God’s Word will cause us to retain this revival that God’s Spirit is so clearly bringing about.
About the Author
Cameron Neace is the Senior Pastor of FBC Kahoka. He and his wife, Caitlin, and their two cats, Pierogi and Poptart, have called Kahoka home since February 2022. In his free time, Cameron enjoys playing board games and writing.