It begins with hope.
In my time in ministry, I have found that many believe that revival consequently means overcoming a struggle for piety and discipline. As in, it’s revival when you start doing your quiet times every day after finally being convinced that He loves you. Mind you, all these things are great things. However, at most, these scenarios minimize Christianity to just you overcoming yourself to survive another day.
The cross has a greater inheritance for us than just becoming “better people.”
We have the Holy Spirit within us to do more than survive. Because of Him, it is in our very spiritual DNA to rule and reign. God originally placed that DNA in Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28). When sin came into the picture, this part of humanity’s essence was defaced but never erased, and the blood of Jesus Christ restored our ability to rule and reign (Luke 10:18).
Too many Christians believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ in death, but they refuse to believe in the redeeming power of His name as we live! We settle too easily.
“As long as we don’t commit another sin…”
“As long as we are able to keep our depressing thoughts out of our heads…”
“As long as we are able to mention the word ‘church’ or ‘Christian’ at the workplace….”
Such low expectations of life remind me why Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33).
Hope sets your sights on higher expectations, because these expectations are not contingent upon your ability but more so upon God’s goodness.
Instead of getting along with coworkers, it would look like bringing coworkers to Christ. Instead of good grades at school, it would be to acquire whatever preparation is necessary to bring healing to the broken through our careers. Instead of making it a goal to attend church service every week, it would be one’s aspiration to hear God’s truth and to taste its fruits in every corporate worship setting.
The power of hope is vastly underrated in this generation. We use skepticism, jadedness, and pessimism as shields from the sorrows of disappointment. These defense mechanisms of choice may be able to preserve you, but they will never empower you. In fact, revival was never birthed when God’s people chose to cloak themselves with hopelessness.
We can especially see the power of hope in Abraham and Sarah who were barren. Romans 4:18 says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’”
Abraham and Sarah were beyond the point of seeing physical fruit in their lives, despite their years of obedience to God. Abraham could have settled with that, for lesser miracles, such as thriving in his work and having a good marriage. However, he had this undying — sometimes wavering — hope that became a magnet for God’s greatness to manifest in his life. He left the security of his father’s land because of this hope (Genesis 12:1). He faithfully settled in foreign places because of this hope (Genesis 13). When the Lord told him to look at the stars and envision the nation that will be birthed through him, Abraham believed Him because of hope (Genesis 15:6).
Your hope is what instigates the Holy Spirit that lives in you to release miracles unto this earth. Hope is what draws Him to show you what your destiny is, not just what your career is. Hope welcomes Him to redeem corrupt neighborhoods. Hope invites Him to deliver cities and shake nations. Hope sets Him up to heal broken hearts and broken bodies.
In this moment, I invite you to reflect upon your life. If the Holy Spirit released an outpouring of power onto you, what sort of dreams would you give birth to? If your dreams amount to just doing well at work and getting married, then you are in need of a hope upgrade.
The point of Christ’s admonition was that the sons and daughters of God need to set the bar higher. Those without God have to hope for a decent living, paid bills, and fleshly pleasures because that’s all they have inherited so far. But the children of God? They need to hope for more because the spiritual DNA of a conqueror has been restored unto them. It’s no longer about surviving in a dark world, but it’s now about saving it by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s time to move on from the American Dream and start seeking God’s kingdom dreams.
Oh, there is so much to hope for. This world needs Jesus. Our churches need Jesus too. It’s time to turn your hope on and invite Him to pour out in a fresh way. It is not foolish, as the world may say. Rather, it is mighty.