What is revival really? Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts. The Lord Jesus is always the victorious One. The angels in heaven are always praising Him because He has won the victory. We may know failure and lack of fruit; but He is never defeated. There is no limit to His power. How can we share in His power? How can His power be shown in our hearts and lives? How can we serve the Lord in His power? We must be in the right relationship with Him. If we are, He will fill us with His victorious life. The life will then overflow from us to others. This is the real meaning of revival.

Being in right relationship
How can we get into a right relationship with Him? The first step is this: our will must be broken. We must do His will, not ours. To have a broken will, is the beginning of revival. It is a painful thing. It makes us humble. It is the only way. We must know what it means to say; not I, but Christ (Gal. 2:20). Firstly, our proud self must be broken. Only then can the Lord Jesus, who lives in us, fully reign in our hearts. Only then can He truly show Himself through us. Our own self must give up its rights. Our self is hard. It does not want to obey God. It likes to show that it is in the right. It wants to go its own way. It wants to claim all its rights. It always seeks glory for itself. The self must bow to God’s will. It must confess that it is in the wrong. It must give up its own way. It must obey the Lord Jesus. It must give up all its glory. Only in this way can the Lord Jesus have all and be all in our lives. We must die to self.

We must honestly look at our lives. We shall see that there is much of self in us. We often try to live the Christian life in our own strength. (The very fact that we talk about trying to live the Christian life shows that “self” is still reigning and trying to do it right by itself!) Self tries to do Christian work. Self easily gets annoyed. Self becomes envious of others. It resents others. It finds fault. It gets worried. It is hard. It is not willing to give in to others. It is shy. That is why we must be broken. God cannot do a great work in the lives of those who are ruled by self. He wants to fill us with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). But this is just the opposite of self! Until our selfish spirit has been broken and crucified, the fruit of the Holy Spirit cannot be seen in our lives.

How can we be broken? This work is both God’s work and ours. God shows us that we need to be broken, but we must choose. We must be willing for God to show us the truth about ourselves. Unless we do this, we cannot have fellowship with Him. We must be ready to listen to what God says to us. If we are ready to do this, He will show us the things which come from our proud, hard self. These are the things which cause God pain. When He does this, we have two choices. We can become proud and refuse to repent, or we can humbly bow our heads and say, “Yes, Lord.” The man who knows, day by day, the meaning of brokenness is the man who humbly agrees to what God shows him about himself. This is something we need to do every moment of our lives. We must daily be broken before God. This may cost us a great deal. We shall have to give up all our rights. We can no longer live to please self. Sometimes we may have to give back something we have wrongly taken from others.

Place of brokenness
There is only one place where we can really be broken. The place is the cross of the Lord Jesus. He was willing to be broken for us. When we realise this, we must be willing to be broken for Him. He always had the very nature of God, but He did not think that by force, He should try to become equal with God. Instead, of His own free will, He gave it all up and took the nature of a servant (Php..2:6-7). He was God’s servant – and man’s servant as well. He was willing to have no rights of His own. He had no home of His own. He had no possessions of His own. When He was cursed, He did not answer back with a curse (1 Pet. 2:23). He was willing to let men tread on Him. He did not strike back or defend Himself. He went humbly to the cross. There He was broken for us. He became man’s sin-bearer. He carried our sins in His body to the cross (1 Pet. 2:24).

In some of the Psalms, David foretold the coming of Christ. In one verse in the Psalms we read these sad words: I am a worm and no man (Ps. 22:6). There is a great difference between a snake and a worm. When a man hits a snake, it rears up. It hisses angrily. It tries to hit back. The snake is a real picture of self. But a worm does not do this. It does not try to hit back. It has no defense should you kick or crush it under your foot. The worm is a picture of real brokenness. This is what Jesus was willing to become for us: a worm and no man. Why did He do this? He knew that we were like worms. We had sinned against God. We had no right to come to God. All we deserved was hell. He now calls us to be like worms for Him. He wants us to be in the place that He was in on earth. We see this in the Sermon on the Mountain. The Lord Jesus there taught His disciples not to take revenge on someone who does wrong to them (Mt.5:39). He told them to love their enemies (Mt. 5:43). He told them to give and expect nothing back (Lk. 6:35). These things are only possible if self is broken. And this is only possible as we look at the vision of the Love which was willing to be broken for us on the cross.

Lord, bend that proud and stiff-necked “I”,
Help me to bow the head and die,
Looking to Him on Calvary,
Who bowed His head and died for me.

Choose to obey God
This is not something which happens only once in our lives. There will be the first time when God shows us these things and we die to self. But from then on, we must always be dying to self. Only in this way can the Lord Jesus be always showing His life through us (2 Cor. 4:10). Each hour of the day we must choose to obey God. This choice will be made hundreds of times each day. We will have no plans or time of our own.

Our money will belong to God, to use as He wants us to use it. We shall have to do day by day what He wants us to do. As we submit to God, we shall have to submit to those around us. Only in this way will we show that we are really submitting to God. People will make us sad. They will annoy us. They will make us angry. God will use these things to break us. In this way He will make us even deeper channels for the Life of Christ to flow out to others.

There is only one kind of life that pleases God. There is only one kind of life which really knows victory. That is God’s life. Our life can never bring victory. We may try very hard to win, but we cannot. Our life has self at its centre. It is the enemy of God’s life. We can never be filled with God’s life until we let Him put our life to death every day. And each day of our lives we must choose to let Him do that!

(Excerpt from the book “Calvary Road” by Roy Hession).

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