“But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil” (Psalm 92:11, emphasis mine)
What do you do when things get stale? How do you turn up the fire of devotion when it smolders and flickers? Don’t let it die out. And rest assured, even if you can’t even see embers, know that it’s spreading beneath the surface. You’re still alive ain’t ya? All it takes is a little prodding, a little gratitude. Mix in some worship and interaction and the Holy Spirit is sure to remind you of something that you can follow–like a rabbit trail–back to a white-hot fervency for God and His love for you.
“And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3, emphasis mine)
The concept of revival begins in the heart and mind of God first. But I believe that for a widespread revival–of discipline, simplicity, love and power, much like was exhibited in the Book of Acts–necessarily begins in the hearts and minds of a few individuals and branches out from there. There are men and women the world over who have been going through a process directed and scripted by God to bring about much change in small ways in their locale, their neighborhood and their community. You’ll hear about them soon enough.
And this is where I take issue with the term “fundamentalist”. That word has been so mud-stained, dragged through the street, as to have the most negative of connotations when used in the public square. It needs to be rescued from the landfill of language. And as with everything in Christianity, one must look to Jesus when defining the truth of things. Jesus was the most fundamental fundamentalist ever to walk the earth. When I think of “fundamentalism”, I see visions of minimalism and simplicity. And power. The impetus of which is that white-hot love of God. I don’t mean to sound stupid here, but the “fundamentalism” of today implies a backward and bigoted sect of religious Christianity–akin to a cult–that refuses to acknowledge “anything that disagrees with their interpretation of the Bible”. And I’m not here to haggle over individual or denominational interpretations. Fundamentalism, to my mind, has more to do with getting down to the black/white of love and judgment. Of mercy and forgiveness and compassion. Of intensity and charity and radical, if painful, selflessness, than the aforementioned slander. “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” So says the writer of Hebrews (12:4) And because of the liberty and freedom that many Americans (Christians, included) take for granted, they’re not likely going to have to, either. Let’s look again at the term “fundamentalism”:
The writer of Hebrews (again) put it very simply (11:6): “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he (she) that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Can’t get much more fundamental than that.
I believe that God would pour out His Spirit upon us if we were to follow that simple exhortation, to seek Him with all of our heart. Jettison the larger picture (for now) and focus on your world. Invite God in if you haven’t already and show Him around. He knows it all anyway. And if you don’t understand or have the faith, then talk to Jesus. He’ll introduce you.
Revival happens in the heart and mind of the individual before spreading to the congregation, before spilling onto the street.
There’s another (though slightly less-so) overused Christian-ism, the acronym: “B.I.B.L.E.” It stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. That’s cute. I would like to point out, however, that this attitude of “hurry up and leave” as such, has infected much of mainstream, main-street Christianity. Why should we be in such a hurry to go to a place where our newfound faith can’t be exercised amidst toil and trial? That might sound naive and self-serving, but what if all the faith that you were able to take to Heaven with you was just what you were able to exercise while here on earth? Some people would have very little upon setting foot on the streets of gold.
“Do you like fresh fish? It’s just fine at Finney’s Diner.” Dr. Seuss
Early Christians used to meet in secret. In an act of divine conspiracy, the Greek word for “fish” (Ichthys, Greek: ΙΧΘΥΣ) is an acronym for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”. That’s pretty fundamental. As an aside, the writer George Bernard Shaw proposed that the word “fish” in English could (and possibly should) be spelled “ghoti”. With the “gh” from rough, the “o” from women and the “ti” from nation. An acronym for that might be “Go Home On To Infinity” or some such. I know I’m radically digressing here. It would seem that the original acronym was so fundamental, so irreducibly complex, as to be perfect. ΙΧΘΥΣ. Perfect. Focus on Jesus. Everything, then, is fresh, new and beautiful.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” (Psalm 60:1)