For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Just as water runs to fill the lowest place, so the Spirit of God floods to fill the hearts that are humble.
Revival is a word that is used often among Christians. Literally it means to be brought back to life. Stephen Olford describes revival as that “strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessing.”
When the life of God is absent from the lives of believers we become distracted and empty within. Historically, when churches lack the life of God in their worship they focus on power struggles, they teach doctrines that entertain and amuse, that “tickle people’s ears” but lack the life-changing power of the gospel. Faith is neglected and repentance is forgotten. Walking “by sight” rather than walking “by faith” is emphasized and people are encouraged to seek the blessings of God without surrender to God. Spiritual life without God seeks the crown without the cross, victory without confession of sin, spiritual progress without dying to self, faith without repentance, dry orthodoxy, and legalism.
When God sends revival, the simple, biblical truths are re-discovered and proclaimed, evangelism is re-discovered, worship is spontaneous and heartfelt, prayer is meaningful. In the absence of revival people talk to people about people to tear each other down. In revival people talk to God about people to build each other up (Deut 32:9-14).
Revival can also be a personal experience. All of the great revivals in history have begun through an initial work that God does in one life or in the lives of just a few. We can experience personal revival if we will listen to the call of God, repent from our sins and attempts of self-righteousness, and respond in our hearts to Him.
The text from Isaiah 57 affirms that God fills the life of the humble. God dwells in a high and lofty place and the sole exception to this fact is that He also delights to dwell within the hearts of the humble. This is Merrill f. Unger’s definition of humility
Christian humility is that grace which makes one think of himself no more highly than he ought to think (Romans 12:3). It requires us to feel that in God’s sight we have no merit, and in honor to prefer our brethren to ourselves (Rom. 12:10), but does not demand undue self-depreciation or depressing views of one’s self, but lowliness of self-estimation, freedom from vanity.
If your faith is stale and needs reviving, take some time to let God search your heart, confessing your sins to Him, and let Him do his work of convicting and convincing you of the forgiveness that He offers in Christ. Repent fully and deeply and believe in His offer of forgiveness through Christ. This is where revival always starts: one person such as you praying sincerely to God.
Lord, work within us the sorrow that we need, grant to us the gift of repentance that leads to life that we might be filled with You. Amen.