By Steve Simms
The body of Christ is like a campfire. We blaze with the flames of God's glory when we come together in heart-to-heart ONEness around the risen Jesus. History calls those times of spiritual fire freely burning in God's people, "revival."
That kind of revival is not a religious meeting with a special preacher, held in a church building. True revival cannot be contained in one building or one location or even in one denomination. And it can't be created by a program, an agenda, or a course of study.
Genuine revival (spiritual awakening) breaks out and spreads in and through human hearts. However, when people's hearts are separated from one another, they begin to loose their fire for God and eventually get cold, just like campfire coals do when you spread them apart.
No amount of preaching, singing, plays, concerts, sermons, studies, techniques, rituals, gimmicks, special lighting, fog machines, etc. will ignite God's fire in people until their hearts are open to God and to one another. So what can open human hearts?
The answer is simple and it is spread through out the New Testament. It is "a one anothering environment" -- an atmosphere where people are free to be real and honest with one another. The Bible calls this walking "in the light" and "speaking the truth in love." More than 50 times, the New Testament instructs Christ-followers to minister to "one another" in various ways.
When people are allowed to be vulnerable and honest with one another, the Holy Spirit begins to work in their hearts and in their midst. The book ONE: Unfolding God's Eternal Purpose From House To House puts it this way: "People's hearts are opened when they speak freely."
Allowing Christians to open up to one another opens their hearts. I've seen it hundreds of times. Someone begins to humbly share from the heart and the place is filled with a sense of awe, humility, and love; as Christ's presence saturates the gathering. That is the spark of revival. However, like any spark, it won't start an ongoing fire unless it is given the right environment of kindling and oxygen.
Revival's kindling is open and humble hearts. We must not "harden" (shut down and protect) our hearts. Revival's oxygen is the Holy Spirt. We must not turn off the flow of the Spirit. ("Quench not the Spirit.") By keeping the kindling and oxygen going, open sharing and "one anothering" create the environment where revival can break out, grow, and eventually spread far and wide.
Genuine revival unites believers as sisters and brothers in Christ. It sets "the solitary in families" and overrides the walls that separate Christians.
Are you ready for revival? If so, find a few brothers and sisters, gather regularly with them, listen to Jesus together, and then let everyone present say and/or do what the living Jesus tells them to. One anothering will break out, hearts will open, and the Spirit will move mightily. That's revival!