New Year, or Same as Last Year….
This year I will fix my relationship with God. This year I will be a more spiritual person. This year I will not only know and understand God’s will, but will actually be obedient to it. This year I will be more dedicated to my family. This year I will help others. This year (insert every spiritual cliche you have ever heard or used)…
There's nothing wrong with this list. Everything on it is great. But it seems a lot like last years list, and the list from the year before too. If I know I need renewal, and I know I need a spiritual revival, then why am I proceeding from year to year without this experience?
It is probably the fault of my spouse, children, parents, siblings, work colleagues, neighbor, fellow believers, or someone else. They keep distracting me. I really want renewal but it is their fault that I have not experienced a revival. Or maybe it is my fault. Maybe I am not trying hard enough. Maybe I need to do more to get myself right with God. This year I will watch what I eat, what I read, what activities I participate in. This year I will pray more and be more regular in my church participation. Yes, I will, and then the Lord will reward me with a renewed spiritual experience. If I can be just a little better I will get the revival I seek.
Or will I….
It turns out that you and I will never achieve renewal or revival. Revival is a miracle. It is an act of the divine. No human being can produce revival. It is not in our nature. If you are not experiencing revival, then it is because you are seeking it, not understanding that it is Christ that performs this work in you. What you need to seek is Christ.
“No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I CANNOT give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 159. [Emphasis supplied.]
True revival is a submission to Christ so that He may do a divine work in my life. Of myself, there is no possibility to renew my life. I can only press on, but that will keep me moving forward in the same condition I am in already. I may do some good for some time, but essentially I remain as I was before.
“Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace ALONE can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.”—Steps to Christ, p. 18. [Emphasis supplied.]
So this year I will not just SEEK revival, I will ACCEPT the renewal Christ has promised to all those who accept Him and allow Him to change their lives.
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” ().
I will not wait until the end of this year to experience the renewal of Christ. I will experience revival right now. Today will be the day of my experience!
“It is God that circumcises the heart. The whole work is the Lord’s from the beginning to the end. The perishing sinner may say: ‘I am a lost sinner; but Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. He says, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (). I am a sinner, and He died upon Calvary’s cross to save me. I need not remain a moment longer unsaved. He died and rose again for my justification, and He will save me now. I accept the forgiveness He has promised.”—Selected Messages, book 1, p. 392.
Having accepted His revival, day by day I will recommit my life to Him, knowing that He will do His good will in me.
“It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 159.
This year will not be a repeat. This year I will accept His revival. This is true renewal! “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” ().
GC Education Director