It’s popular for churches and Christians to talk about how we need revival. However, revival is hard. Revival is painful, especially for the Christian. And revival has a prerequistite: the willingness to be broken.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” – 2 Kings 22:11-13, ESV
Josiah took over a kingdom that had departed from God for a long time. Even though there was a semblance of faithfulness towards God and the trappings of following God were there, the reality was that Judah was not adhering to their end of God’s covenant with it. We know this because the finding of the Book of the Law was such a significant event. We have confirmation because of Josiah’s reaction. He tore his clothes, an act of deep sorrow and trouble, and then asked for several folks to go to God, begging God for forgiveness for Judah had not followed God’s commands. Josiah was broken.
When we look at the impact of revival throughout history, the first thing folks focus on is how the lost come to know Jesus Christ. However, if we study revivals seriously, we come to understand that it isn’t just the lost who come to a sudden realization of their sinfulness, but it’s first the Christians. The Christians have to come to terms with their own sinfulness and their own actions which anger God. It’s such a realization that it often causes a reaction similar to Josiah’s. It’s shattering. It’s humbling. It’s life changing. Revival won’t just leave us with some heartache, but will render us truly broken.
Revival isn’t just for the lost. Revival is for all of God’s Kingdom. Revival, because of brokeness, will be painful. We will be face-to-face with God’s Spirit as every aspect of our lives is bared before Him. Too often we try to compartmentalize Him so we don’t have to face Him in an area we don’t want His control. Therefore, we minimize the pain, the guilt, the embarrassment, and the fact we need to change. We don’t get such a choice with revival. In revival our defenses and our walls are ripped away and we are faced with God’s holiness. This leaves us broken.
Are you willing to be broken? Are you willing to face God’s holiness and experience the dread as you whisper, “Woe is me,” like Isaiah did? If you want revival, if I want revival, this is the cost we must be willing to pay. However, strong faith requires brokenness. If you want a strong faith, if you want revival, you must want this brokeness.