Is Your Heart Prepared for Revival?

The State of the Heart
The progression of a hard heart does not occur all at once. The reason revival is imperative centers on the passing of time. If one’s heart is not continually searched and redirected to God alone, then our humanness takes over as it did with people in the Bible. The lessons learned from Scripture assist the Church in recognizing that obedience and a surrendered life displays the favor of God. When people turn away from God and search to have their needs met in other ways, then they lose the presence of the One who created them.

Preparing one’s heart is an ongoing, deliberate choice. It does not happen by accident. Could you relate to any one of these churches? Have you withdrawn from the Lord? Are you going through persecution that brought discouragement? Why does contemporary life draw us away from total surrender to God?

We Want Control
First, we like control over our own lives. Who doesn’t, right? I know I struggled with surrendering this for years and, at times, must place it back on the altar. The need to control prevents us from giving God everything. Instead of total dependence on God, we move into self-dependence and dictate our own life, thus stifling the Spirit. This stems from multiple areas such as anxieties, fear of the unknown, and pride.

Oh, how the anxious heart creates tension and blocks the peace of Jesus. Worry depletes the presence of God in our lives, and it takes our attention off Him and places it squarely on the problem or circumstance in front of us. We become swallowed up by fear. We justify and rationalize the need to take over and fix problems without waiting on the Lord. This is one of the main reasons people attend counseling. People like to decide what, when, and how they live to avoid feeling uncomfortable or anxious. This need for control limits the ability to humble oneself before the Lord.

Pride, too, may play a part. Such pride may stem from self-reliance, unforgiveness, or not wanting to address hidden sin. Whatever the root cause, pride destroys a person’s relationship with God: “Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble’” (James 4:6). Because of this opposition to God, the person moves further away from Him with a hardened heart. Unforgiveness is a root that pride can enter through, making it essential to address. Even Jesus said, unless we forgive others, God cannot forgive us (Mark 11:25). This creates enmity between God and us.

Lack of Focus
Another reason we get drawn away from God is a lack of focus. We begin communicating with God through prayer, but then the phone rings or a child bursts through the door. Distractions of life intrude. Time spent with God is overrun with a to-do list, people pleasing behaviors, and day-to-day tasks. If a circumstance arises that demands attention, time spent with God is usually the first activity released. Keeping a prepared heart shifts down the list of importance, and eventually the consequences of this action surface, hindering one’s relationship with God. Concerns of the world are closely related to lack of focus. Never ending daily burdens supplant openness to the Spirit flowing through the day. Opportunities to embrace a move of the Spirit are replaced with over-planning and feelings of being overwhelmed, once again strangling out life in the believer.

Complacent Living
Complacency also hinders the progress of preparing the heart for revival. Among the self-satisfied, the desire to go deeper with the Lord is not worth the investment of time and resources. We become settled with where we are in life, and desperation for God is absent. Fulfillment emerges from family, work, possessions, and entertainment. Life appears to flow smoothly, and routine develops. Cynicism may also prompt complacency. Unanswered prayers, woundedness, or failed goals tend to trigger people to pull back in their relationship with God and to cease seeking Him.

As the parable of the seed and the sower reveals, the deceitfulness of wealth can choke out the Word of God (Matt. 13). Some people come to salvation, but the love of the world grabs their attention and trumps a prepared heart. The lust of the flesh overwhelms the fruit of self-control. Instead of turning away from sin, there is a conscious choice to engage in it. When confronted with this truth, justification and rationalization occur. What a person once called sin; they now embrace. Jeremiah revealed that the heart is deceitful and sick (Jer 17:9). When we trust in our own judgment, we have lost the truth.

Consequently, the above issues result when we do not understand the importance of keeping our heart prepared before the Lord. This preparation sometimes occurs during tragedy or other life-altering circumstances when dependence on God is the only viable option for us. Instead of waiting for this to transpire, choose humility regularly. As Psalm 24:4-5 notes, “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.”

(An exerpt from Kristi's new book ABLAZE to be released in 2021.)

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