“Revival is a renewed conviction of sin and repentance, followed by an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is giving up one’s will to God in deep humility.” – Charles Finney
A term most Christians would be familiar with is revival which means to awaken something lifeless. Every believer can identify with revival because that’s essentially what happened to our spirits at the point of our salvation. God’s greatness in mercy and love caused us who were dead in our trespasses to be made alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5). The outcome is a conviction about sin, repentance and living humbly before God by giving up our will for his Acts 2 and the Asbury Revival are amongst monumental moments in history commonly defined as revival. The point of this article is to explore these events and explore how we can make revival a constant in our lives.
Revival in Pentecost
The presence of God, the word of God and unity amongst believers set the precedence for revival and Acts 2 is a clear picture:
The believers were completely united, and the Holy Spirit was experienced in a way that empowered the believers to be witnesses as Christ promised in the previous chapter (Acts 1 4:8). Being empowered by the presence of God, Peter spoke God’s word and as Acts 2:37 puts, ‘the people were cut to the heart’ (Convicted). They then asked what they shall do, and Peter’s rebuttal in the following verse was ‘repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’.
The Holy Spirit is the presence of God that ushers in new life, as the breath of God made woke Adam in the garden, the Holy Spirit wakes us. Revival is also characterised by masses coming to faith and it was no different in Pentecost as 3,000 were added to the church. The key themes of conviction, repentance, the Word and the Presence of God are also common in the revival at Asbury.
The Asbury Revival
The Asbury revival took place in the late 19th century at Oxford’s University Asbury College, led by passionate believers seeking to renew their faith more passionately and authentically. Like Acts, the revival emphasised the presence of God through prayer and the word of God through bible studies and evangelism. The revival marked a significant point in history and inspired a new generation of believers to witness Christ in their everyday lives. In 2023, the Asbury revival has found new life and history is repeating itself. Students bask in God’s presence, ingesting God’s word and fellowshipping with one another in unity to the end of conviction, repentance and the relinquishing of their will for God. Many also travelled far and wide to experience the revival.
Drawing from both Revivals to maintain revival in our lives.
As believers we never really graduate from the need for conviction, repentance, humility and relinquishing our will for God, making the need for revival constant in our lives. God is richly generous with His presence and His word which we can experience personally, and through community – all that’s needed on our part is intentionality.
We must cultivate an environment for God’s presence and word through prayer, the scriptures and the body of Christ both personally and corporately. If I see sin in my life, I must see an opportunity for the ingredients that make the beautiful meal of revival to be blended: conviction, repentance and the humility that comes from being apprehended by God’s Word and Presence to relinquish my will of God’s. Again, I can do this through my devotion and by inviting believers into my need for revival, to share God’s word with me and pray with me.
It’s cultivating this environment that will make us sensitive to the ingredients and allow us to sustain a life of revival. We can experience revivals, at events like Pentecost or Ashbury but it is our daily practice, that will allow us to sustain it in our daily lives, and it is my prayer that God will grace us to do so, In Jesus’ name, Amen.