Do you know, God desires revival? What do we know about revival?How do we get ready for revival? In this chapter we learn how to prepare and get ready for revival according to Charles Finney. Are you looking forward to what God does when revival arrives? Let’s learn more.
Author : Charles G. Finney
Taken from Chapter 3 of : “How to experience Revival”
“Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” — Hosea 10:12
Revival – Preparation
Because the Jews were a nation of farmers, Scripture often refers to their occupation to illustrate its points. The prophet Hosea employed this strategy to tell the Jews they were becoming a nation of backsliders. He reproved them for their idolatry and threatened them with the judgments of God.
A revival consists of two parts: that which concerns the Church and that which concerns the unsaved. Here I will speak about a revival in the Church. Fallow ground is ground which has once been tilled bout which now lies waste. It needs to be broken up and mellowed before it is again ready to receive grain.
Softening Your Heart
If you want to break up the fallow ground of your heart, you must begin by looking at yourself. Examine and note the state of your mind. See where you are. Many never seem to think about this. They pay no attention to their own hearts, and they never know whether they are doing well in their faith or not. They do not know whether they are gaining ground or going back; whether they are fruitful or going to waste.
Now is the time to divert your attention from other things and look into this. Make a point to do this. Do not be in a hurry. Thoroughly examine the state of your heart and see where you are. Check to see if you are walking with God every day or with the devil.
Self-examination is looking at your life. It is considering your actions in the past and learning its true character. Look over your personal history. Examine your individual sins one by one. I do not mean for you to glance at your past life, see that it has been full of sins, then go to God and make a general confession. That is not the way. You must look at each sin one by one. It is a good idea to take a pen and paper as you go over them and write each sin down as they occur to you.
Go over them as carefully as a merchant goes over his books. Each time a sin comes to mind, add it to the list. General confessions of sin will never do. Now, begin and review what are commonly, but improperly, called sins of omission.
Ingratitude. Write down under that heading all the times you can remember where you have received favors from God for which you have never thanked Him. How many cases can you remember? Perhaps a remarkable provision, some wonderful turn of events that saved you from ruin. Write down the instances of God’s goodness to you when you were in sin — before your conversion — for which you have never been thankful enough. Do not forget the numerous mercies you have received since. How long is the list of times where your ingratitude has been so lacking that you want to hide your face in shame?
Go on your knees, confess these times one by one to God, and ask forgiveness. The very act of confession, by the laws of suggestion, will bring similar sins to mind. Write these down. Review them three or four times this same way and see what an astonishing number of mercies there are for which you have never thanked God.
Lack of love for God. Think how grieved and alarmed you would be if you discovered any lessening of affection for you in your wife, husband, or children. If you saw another engrossing their hearts, thoughts, and time, you wouldn’t be hurt? Perhaps in such a case, you would feel you would die of a just and virtuous jealousy. In a similar way, God called Himself a jealous God. Have you not given your heart to other loves and infinitely offended Him?
Neglecting your Bible reading. Note the cases when for perhaps weeks or longer, reading God’s Word was not a pleasure. Some people read whole chapters so carelessly that they cannot remember what they have been reading. If so, no wonder your life is without purpose and your religion is such a miserable failure.
Also note instances of unbelief. Recall the times when you have virtually charged the God of truth with lying by your unbelief in His express promises and declarations. God has promised to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Now, do you believe this? Have you expected Him to answer? Have you not virtually said in your hearts, when you prayed for the Holy Spirit: “I do not believe that I will receive”? If you have not believed or expected to receive the blessing which God has specifically promised, you have accused Him of lying.
Neglect of prayer. Think of the times when you have neglected secret prayer, family prayer, and prayer meetings. Remember when you have prayed in such a way that offended God more than if you omitted prayer altogether.
Poor Spiritual Attitude
The way you have performed your spiritual duties can also reflect a poor attitude. For example, praying with a lack of feeling or faith, in a worldly frame of mind, so that your words were nothing but mere chatter. Someone who prays this kind of lifeless, careless prayer would not be able to give a reason for their prayers.
A lack of love for the souls of your fellowmen. Look at your friends and relatives and remember how little compassion you have felt for them. You have stood by and watched them going right to hell, yet it seemed as though you did not care. How many days have there been where you failed to pray about their sinful condition or show any ardent desire for their salvation?
A lack of concern for unbelievers. Perhaps you have not cared enough for them to attempt to learn about their condition. Perhaps you will not even subscribe to a missionary magazine. Look at these factors and see how much you really care for the lost. Write down your true concern for them and your desire for their salvation. Measure it by the self-denial you practice to help send them the gospel.
Sin Of Hypocrisy
Do you deny yourself the luxuries of life? Do you economize, or are you unwilling to subject yourself to any inconvenience to save them? Do you pray for them daily in private? Are you praying with the correct attitude? If you are not doing these things, and if your soul is not agonized for the unsaved, why are you such a hypocrite pretending to be a Christian? Your practice of faith is an insult to Jesus Christ!
A common vice is to neglect family duties. Think of how you have lived, putting yourself before your family. How have you prayed? What example have you set before them? What direct efforts do you habitually make for their spiritual good? What duty have you not neglected?
Are you watchful of your own life? Think of how you have hurried through your private duties, never really checking yourself or keeping your accounts straight with God. How often have you entirely neglected to watch your conduct, and, having been off your guard, sinned before the world, the Church and God?