Thursday, January 6, 2011

Revival and the Glory of Jesus Christ

Last Spring I met with a dear friend for breakfast. As I sat sipping my coffee, my friend passionately shared her longing to see God’s glory fall on the UW-Madison campus. I listened attentively, but my heart struggled to connect with her words. I did not share her zeal, and her obsession with God’s glory quite honestly made me uncomfortable. I left the conversation feeling restless. Why wasn’t I passionate about God’s glory like my friend? And for that matter, what was God’s glory?

This conversation was the start of a great work in my heart. As a light illuminates a dark room so my pride was laid bare: I could not understand God’s glory because I was too focused on my own.

In our flesh we will never comprehend the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Satan has blinded our hearts to God’s glory, and we thus need spiritual assistance to behold spiritual realities: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Hebrews 1:3 says: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” To behold God’s glory is to behold Jesus Christ, and to behold Jesus Christ is a work of God alone. This is horribly humbling! I have done nothing to behold the glory of Jesus Christ! It is a consequence of God’s mercy alone!

And so what are the implications of these truths? Revival will only happen when we humble ourselves before an all powerful God and ask Him to move: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15). As believers we need the Holy Spirit to awaken our hearts to the glory of Jesus Christ! We need to truly hold Him as our highest treasure!

When believers hold Jesus Christ as their highest treasure a beautiful work will transpire: Rather than seek to advance individual fame, brother and sister will join arm in arm to chase after His fame. Believers will forsake pride, boasting in their weaknesses and the power of the cross over those weaknesses. Believers will walk in brokenness before each other and before a dying world. They will forsake worldly wealth, comfort and security. They will bear the cross thereby showing a dying world the ultimate worth of Jesus Christ!

One person is not intended to carry the burden of revival alone. It contradicts the very purposes of Christ: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23). Christ longs for His body to be unified in purpose. Will you brother and sister join with me in asking the Lord to reveal His glory to our hearts and to our campus?

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