If this is all true . . . then why doesn’t it seem to make a difference?
That question haunted me for years. As I studied in the college library, had nervous breakdowns during my piano lessons, and tossed and turned at night—no matter where I went, the unanswered questions followed . . .
How can the gospel be true when Christians are angry, fake, and judgmental?
I try and try and try, and it never feels like God accepts me. I just fail all the time. What more can I do to get Him to stop being angry at me?
What kind of God is this who doesn’t change His people?
How can Jesus be real? He just seems like something that gets tacked on to Sundays for most people . . . not the all-ruling, sovereign Lord.
Does saying you are a Christian even have a point if you’re not living wholeheartedly for Him?
Maybe God doesn’t exist at all—and that’s why His people (including me) aren’t any different.
I looked around me, and as far as I could tell, Christianity—the faith I was baptized into and had grown up in—was filled with hypocrisy. I could point out all the little areas of falsehood in others’ lives. The backstabbing. The bitterness. The gossip. I could easily make a list.
But as I looked with judgment at those around me, I failed to look at my own heart. Little did I realize how deeply rooted that same hypocrisy was in me. I was blinded by my own unconfessed, hidden sin. I needed God’s supernatural change myself. I needed revival.
What Is Revival?
When you read the word “revival,” maybe you think of something akin to the meetings I attended as a kid: a week-long event with lots of fiery evangelistic preaching, fiddle music, and teary altar calls. Though these kind of “revival meetings” have their place—and God often uses them to impact lives—this is not the kind of “revival” I mean here. (You can put away your snake traps.)
Instead, I’m talking about the kind of revival that leads to life change. I love how Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Tim Grissom define revival in their book, Seeking Him: “Revival is what happens when God’s people, whether individually or corporately, are restored to a right relationship with Him.”
Different traditions in Christianity use different words for this concept. In your church, you may talk about “reformation” or “renewal” or “rededication”—all good words with different nuances. But really, at the heart, they each point to the same core idea: God transforming His people from lives that are hypocritical, corrupted, or apathetic (or even unconverted entirely!) to authentic, vibrant followers of Jesus Christ. When that happens—when the Holy Spirit works—nothing is ever the same again. He transforms us from self-seekers into God-seekers.
Imagine what that looks like. Honesty about your sin can help others find healing, repentance, and freedom in Christ. Forgiving a long-held grudge can restore broken relationships in your family. A holy, dedicated life of service makes the gospel beautiful to those who are far from God. When God’s people are transformed by the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection on our behalf, His grace flows through us to others. And that is truly lovely and God-glorifying.
My Own Revival
We talk a lot about being “true women” of God here on the blog. And it is important to recognize that the Scriptures have much to say about our roles as women in the home, the church, and the world. But we can never, never reflect God’s image for us as women if we do not first discover the beauty and the richness of the gospel . . . and submit to all its implications for our lives.
That is what God did in my life. In the middle of my questioning Him, running from Him, and stubborn unwillingness to listen to Him, He entered in with His mercy and love. Through His Word and friends who were truly seeking Him, God finally revealed my sin to me . . . in all of its ugliness. My self-righteousness hypocrisy and immoral choices were shown, and I was crushed. But He didn’t leave me there. He took me by the hand and showed me something glorious: grace.
I learned that I did not need to—and could not—work for God’s acceptance. At the cross, Jesus had taken my sin on Himself and given me His perfect, pure righteousness (Rom. 3:21–26). I could stand before God because of Christ’s work on my behalf, not because I had kept any rules (Eph. 2:8–9). Oh, the freedom in that glorious truth!
The Lord soon showed me that though His gift was free, it demanded my entire life. It compelled me to forgive those who wronged me. It called me to repent. It asked me to get honest before others. It has called me to give up my most precious idols. This has been a painful and messy but beautiful process. I have seen how our kind God has taken my weak, sinful life and redeemed it for His purposes. (Which always leaves me speechless and humbled.)
An Invitation to Reset and Refocus
Our bloggers all have similar stories of how God has revived and is reviving them. Together, our prayer and passion at the True Woman blog is that every reader will experience the same kind of grace, hope, and joy in Christ that we have tasted. He is truly merciful and good!
With that in mind, the blog team and I want to invite you to take 2018 to reset and refocus on Jesus Christ. This year, our blog is going to focus in on one theme: seeking Him together. Each month, we’ll dig into a new topic to help you explore a different facet of pursuing God and living a revived Christian life. You’ll hear personal stories from our bloggers, powerful truth from Scripture, and takeaways you can ponder.
Are you excited yet? Here are three ways you can join in today:
- Subscribe to the True Woman blog—so you don’t miss a post!
- Purchase the study Seeking Him—to explore the topics we’ll be covering on the blog even more in depth.
- Share your journey on social media with the hashtag #SeekingHim—we’d love to see pictures, quotes, and even Facebook Live videos of how God is reviving you this year!
And above all, ask God to help you truly seek Him this year. He is the One who has to work in each of our lives. Our team is right there with you, praying that He will work in you (and us!) today and every day this year. May you have a blessed—and revived!—2018.