Posted in Christian Living, Lesson

Experiencing Revival Part 1: Love

Every new year needs new life. In the Christian life, we often equate that to revival.

At dictionary.com there are seven definitions for the word revival. For my part, I’m going to stick to the first one with an emphasis on spirituality.

Many people would think I was referencing the fifth definition: “An awakening, in a church or community, of interest in and care for matters relating to personal religion.”

But I don’t think that is the intent of the book of Malachi, which has the theme of revival.

To start 2016 on the right path, we’ll spend time looking at Malachi’s four-fold plan for revival. If we take it to heart, apply it to our own life, perhaps this new year will be a true year of awakening in the Lord’s Kingdom.

Defined

According to dictionary.com, revival is restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, etc.

If we’re applying this in a spiritual context, are we restoring something to spiritual life? Isn’t that the process of salvation?

I think it’s more likely that our spirituality needs renewed vigor and restored strength.

God breathed life into Adam to make him a living soul. When we were born into the family of God, He did the same thing with the Holy Spirit.

“And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

God has done his part. In order to maintain the vigorous spiritual livelihood imparted by the Holy Ghost, we need to do our part.

According to Malachi, this involves getting to the heart of four important aspects of our relationship – really fellowship- with God. These are:

  1. Embracing the love of God
  2. Honoring the holiness of God
  3. Obeying the commands of God
  4. Rediscovering the hope of God

About these Steps

This isn’t the usual post about the way to get to revival.

You know, the formula found in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

  1. If my (God’s) people
  2. Humble themselves
  3. Pray
  4. Seek my (God’s) face
  5. Turn from their wicked ways

Nope. This is about going deeper. Repentance and humility are the first step toward anything a human can accomplish.

However, Malachi goes deeper. He asks Israel some hard questions.

If we want true revival, we’ll need to adhere to the 2 Chronicles 7:14 formula and then get uncomfortable by delving into our heart.

Aspect One: Embracing Love

Check out Malachi 1:1-5. Here you’ll find God declaring his love for Israel.

They, of course, are amazed and grateful.

Wrong.

They respond with arrogance.

Check out the conversation:

God: “I have loved you” (Malachi 1:2a)

Israel: “Wherein hast Thou loved us?”  (Malachi1:2b)

God: I have defeated your enemy Edom. (Malachi 1:3-4)

Israel: “The Lord will be magnified” (Malachi 1:5)

But Israel only gives lip service to God’s name. The rest of the book of Malachi demonstrates this by siting numerous acts of religion, all done without love and respect for God.

Here’s the short list:

  1. Offering polluted sacrifices (Malachi 1:7)
  2. Withholding tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8)
  3. Saying one thing and doing another (Malachi 3:13)

Rather than making excuses for our shortcomings, we need to accept the fact that God loves us. He will love us no matter what we do or say.

His love for us should change our actions and attitudes. Do you “go through the motions” of love for your spouse, family or friends?

Most would agree we do sometimes, but most of the time our love for these people is heartfelt and demonstrative.

What about God? Are you accepting his love without reciprocating?

If we want revival in 2016, we need to embrace the love of God. That means admitting our shortfall in loving Him with only a fraction of the depth he loves us.

Up next Part 2: Holiness

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Author:

Freelance writer and editor whose background in education and BA in English Language & Literature amps her love of all things books. Twenty years of parenting and 26 of marriage gives unique insight to her preferred audiences of women, young adults, and teenagers.

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