C.H. Spurgeon, the powerful English preacher, said the following about the need for revival and repentance:
The fact is the Church has scarcely ever been in a state of universal revival since the day of Pentecost. There has been a partial moving among Christians every now and then, but the whole mass throughout has never burned and flamed with the earnestness, which the grand cause demands. Oh, that the Lord would set the whole Church on fire!
I trust that sorrowful penitence does still exist, though I have not heard much about it lately. People seem to jump into faith very quickly nowadays…I hope my old friend repentance is not dead. I am desperately in love with repentance; it seems to be the twin sister of faith.
I do not myself understand much about dry-eyed faith; I know that I came to Christ by the way of weeping-cross…When I came to Calvary by faith, it was with great weeping and supplication, confessing my transgressions, and desiring to find salvation in Jesus, and in Jesus only.
Most of us came to the Lord like Spurgeon is describing above, but we’ve lost the first love we had for the Lord. The truth about all human flesh is that when we come to a place of comfort, we tend to forget God.
Few of us came to the Lord when everything was going on very well. Likewise very few of us seek the Lord as fervent as possible when in prosperity as we do when all hell breaks loose. The greatest distraction to us all is not the difficulties, but the prosperity. In fact we should learn to seek the Lord as much in prosperity more than we are in difficulties. E.M. Bounds wrote,
Material prosperity is not the infallible sign of spiritual prosperity. The former may exist while the latter is significantly absent. Material prosperity may easily blind our eyes so much so that it is easy to make it a substitute for spiritual prosperity. How great the need to watch at this point! Prosperity in money matters does not signify growth in holiness.
The seasons of material prosperity are rarely seasons of spiritual advance, either to the individual, the nation or to the church. It is so easy to lose sight of God when goods increase. It is so easy to lean on human agencies and cease praying and relying upon God when material prosperity comes to the Church.
Is there not in the life of us believers an idolatry of money, talent and education—and a confidence in the flesh that grieves and resists the Holy Spirit? When we’ve set up idols in our hearts, and we don’t have a poor and contrite spirit, nor do we tremble at God Word, (see Isaiah 66:1-2), then we need to repent and be revived.
Revival is coming! We hear that all the time. But if we desire a revival, it should start with our own lives. Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? (Psalm 85:6)
In one of the greatest revivals in human history-the Welsh Revival, the Holy Spirit began convicting the church of her sin of lukewarmness before He began convicting the heathen of their sin. But this was a gradual work that obviously evolved over many years. As Stewart has observed in his book, Invasion of Wales by the Spirit through Evan Roberts:
Every outpouring of the Spirit is preceded by earnest, agonizing intercession, accompanied by a heart-brokenness and humiliation before God. This is followed by recognition and honouring of the blessed Spirit.
Pastors and flock alike in their churches are deeply concerned about the discrepancy between the heart-stirring record in the Book of Acts and the present-day condition of the church. So it was in the little Principality of Wales before the month of November, 1904.
It is an impossible task to trace the beginnings of the awakening, either in individual hearts or in individual churches. One reason, no doubt, is that those who had the deepest experiences with their Lord were loath to reveal them publicly. These experiences were too sacred for them to divulge to the public.
Many, I am sure, could have forward and given personal and private witness to the first stirring in their own breasts, helping us trace the glorious beginnings of the revival, but somehow a veil of secrecy has been spread over these early days.Suffice it to say that no revival is of sudden origin.
When the revival manifests itself in a mighty way it comes suddenly as in the days of Hezekiah, but even so, its origins begin with the Holy Spirit of God moving effectively in individual lives in private. Let no one pray for revival—let no one pray for a mighty baptism of power who is not prepared for deep heart–searchings and confession of sin in his personal life.
Revival, in its beginnings, is a most humiliating experience. When one, like Isaiah, sees himself in the light of God’s holiness he must inevitably cry, Woe is me! (Isaiah 6:5)
The depth of any revival will be determined exactly by the spirit of repentance that is obtained. In fact, this is the key to every true revival born of God. There is always much need for heart preparation, in humility and separation, before God can consistently come.
Jesus promises that your godly sorrow, your broken and repentant heart, and your renewed first love for Him will lead to a personal revival which He will use to bless others.
So, pray to the Lord to truly give you a broken, contrite and repentant heart, something that He doesn’t despise. Ask Him to take you back to who you were when He first met you. As you repent, the Lord will grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the deep and intimate knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17).