As Blaise Pascal put it,
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing…”
This means we were created to be filled by God. Nothing fills the heart with any permanence, nothing, except to know God and His glory, and to be revived by Him.
Psalm 85:6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Humans were made to find joy in the glory of the LORD. And this only comes through pursuing Him, asking Him to breath on the smoldering embers of your soul.
Revival of a person’s heart is caused by the Spirit, the Ruach of God. The word means breath, or spirit, and refers to the Holy Spirit who breaths on our hearts that the smoldering coals might be ignited into a flame. We begin to experience the Ruach of God when we first recognize the emptiness of our souls. We might try to fill this emptiness with entertainment, food, a better career, more money, children, a nice care, a new pair of shoes, a better education, Facebook approval, more Twitter followers, etc., but this only leaves us wanting.
We continue to feel this distance from God and the hollow emptiness until we turn to the LORD, in the Word (the Bible) and through prayer, with godly sorrow, we are lead to repentance. It is in this moment we are humble enough for the Ruach of God to breath on our souls and we begin to feel a flame burn in our hearts all the way down to the kidneys as the exclamation point from God affirming the Spirit’s work in our lives.
There are three kinds of Revival done by the Spirit of the LORD: spiritual renewal, revival, and spiritual awakening.
- Spiritual Renewal: refers to the revival of an individual’s soul. The embers of the smoldering heart develop into a flame and the individual catches on fire for Jesus and can’t help but joyously speak of the goodness of the LORD.
- Revival: happens on a corporate level, when an entire church comes alive to the Spirit and worship is joyous and earthshaking as people cry out to the living God. The affects of this revival is a spiritual fervor of the congregation to work together for God’s glory and to seek and achieve His will. The affects of such revival is a long lasting impression on all those who experienced the revival, and righteous living is pursued by the community as they seek to continue to follow the LORD.
- Spiritual Awakening: is when the revival spreads beyond the walls of the church building and the broader society is affected. This is not just Christians coming alive and recommitting their lives to the Lord, this includes unbelievers being affected and policies changed in companies and laws affirmed or re-written in government. A better society results from a Spiritual Awakening as people are transformed by Jesus and the Spirit. An example is the first Spiritual Awakening in England and America in the 1740s. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence became Christians and were positively affected by that revival, even affecting their politics. Benjamin Franklin, who did not become a Christian, was even affected positively by the First Awakening, and he counted George Whitefield one of his most cherished friends (Whitefield was the primary preacher and street evangelist of this First Great Awakening). This could happen again, I believe we are due, and it could include all of Seattle as everyone in our church and the churches of West Seattle catch a vision for Jesus.
For an awakening to happen again, this requires you pursue the LORD with an individual fervor. Robert Coleman once said,
“Show me your gods and I will show you your people. Because we become like those we worship. Worship a god of war and I will show you a warring people. Worship a god of licentiousness and you will live a life of license. But worship a Holy God and you will strive to become holy.”
The Apostle Peter said,
1 Pet. 1:5 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
For the embers of your soul to be fanned into a flame, it begins at the throne and the holiness of God (Revelation 4 & 5).
“Herein is the purpose of creation… “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” Whenever this end is reversed…man’s primary quest becomes his own glory, then God’s will is perverted, and sin comes into being… How this happens is illustrated in the worship of Caesar… But just as perilously, it can be seen in the self-indulging, pleasure-oriented life-style of our generation. [Though we] …may have more refined ways of asserting our independence…” – Robert Coleman, Singing with the Angels, 42-43
This God shaped vacuum can only be filled by God. You cannot find fulfillment in any other person or thing, you will only be left wanting. And God has made known the shape of this vacuum of your heart,