Let it go: Revive me again

This morning we are in the full season of revival. The coming together of churches for a series of nightly services garnered to revive Christian believers.

It’s a time for those who have accepted Christ but have backslidden to be revived and re-dedicate themselves to God; it’s a time of evaluation, to look at ourselves to see if we still love Jesus or have we grown cold in our fellowship with him; that means that as we go into revival we are to look at our spiritual lives and see where we stand with God and ask ourselves these questions:

Are we where we once was in the Lord? Do we still have the JOY of our salvation? How is our relationship with God? And how is our relationship with others, our families and our church family? Is there anything in our hearts that shouldn’t be there that I’ve been carrying for a year? Is there any conflict between me and another believer? Am I carrying some hurt, some deep wound that has me stagnated and I can’t move forward because it stands between me, them and God? Have I strayed away from God and now I’m in a sinful place; do I read my bible as I should or like I used to or do I read it at all? Am I involved in the spiritual things in my church, and I used to be; Am I more worldly minded than I am spiritual minded? Are there some things that I just need to drop and let go and come back home to the Lord?

See, this morning, that’s what revival is; it’s to bring us back to God if we have strayed away; it’s to cause to repent if we are caught up in any sinful lifestyle and return to God; it’s a confessing and admitting of any wrong act that we have committed toward God; if we have fallen asleep to spiritual things and we have left our first love (Revelation 2:4); revival is awaken us, to resuscitate us and cause us to renew our commitment to God; and though we hope and pray that sinners will come to Christ, revival is for believers because you can’t revive something that have never lived; sinners are dead in their trespasses and sins ( Eph. 2:1)”… they need to come alive in Christ altogether; the misconception of revival is that people dance in the spirit, fall out, give great testimonies and go away saying “we had a good time!” and though this may be the result of revival, this by itself is not revival; because if this is all we do but then after we do it we go back to living the same way, still holding grudges, still don’t come to anything spiritual, no renewed commitment, and we go back to our sinful ways then we have not been revived!

All we have had is several nights of emotionalism! Note that word re-VIVAL; and the word “revival” according to the MW Collegiate dictionary means “Renewed attention to or interest in something: an act or instance of reviving.” It also means “restored (Psalm 51:12)”… I want to speak to us today when I say some times we have to “Let it go and come back home!”

I want to talk candidly today when I say some of us have messed up this year; more than one time; and some of us may have not messed up but in our spiritual lives we are struggling with something and we’re trying to figure it out and it is stressing us out; or we’re holding on to something somebody did to us; and we just need to let it go!

Bible readers know of the story of Jacob and Esau; how before they were born they struggled in their mother’s womb; when they were being born Jacob grabbed Esau’s heel (Genesis 25:26a); then later, Jacob along with their mother Rebekah deceives Isaac into giving the younger son Jacob the blessing that rightfully belonged to Esau (Genesis 27;18-23); and because Jacob deceived their father and stole Esau’s birthright blessing Esau hated him and plotted to kill him for doing so; their mother Rebekah heard about Esau’s plan to kill Jacob so she sends him away to stay with her brother Laban in Haran until Esau’s anger is gone away from him (Gen. 27:41-45); as a result there’s a wall and wedge built up between the two brothers; however, the time came for Jacob to return home after some 20 years; was Esau still angry about what Jacob had done unto him? Was it still his plan to kill him?

Jacob didn’t know; but sometimes time heals all wounds; and sometimes community, we have to just “let it go!” Esau ran toward Jacob and they embraced each other and Esau kissed him and they both cried (Gen. 33:4).

My friends, if we this morning know that there is something that stands between us, a family member, a church member and God; if we have strayed away from God and we miss the fellowship; we’ve lost our joy, our worship and our praise to Him and we find ourselves faking it just to make it; well, see God running toward you … and he’s saying just “let it go and come back home!”

It matters not what you have done; repent and confess your sins and come back to the Lord (1 John 1:9)! And if you do you’ll get your joy back, your peace and your praise…”let it go” and then you can say “I have been revived!”

The Rev. George Ellis is pastor of Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.