God chooses to fill empty vessels, but He cannot fill people with the Spirit if they are already full of themselves, and there is a real danger in the church of having a sufficient spirit. That is why we don’t see many revivals; people thinking they have a sufficient, satisfied spirit.
When we humble ourselves, God promises to hear and respond — and he never breaks that promise. You will never find a time in the Bible when men humbled themselves before God and he did not hear and respond. God puts the responsibility to humble ourselves on us.
Seeking humility means we confess our burden for the way things are. The circumstances of people carrying crosses, living far from God, precede every revival in the Bible.
We must feel a burden for our own lack of righteousness.
Fast, weep and mourn
Why do we get upset when sinners sin? What do we expect them to do? They don’t have the truth of God, the cover of the blood of Christ or the Holy Spirit to guide them.
God says in Joel 2, "Even now, return to me with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, abounding in love and He relents from sending calamity."
That’s what it means to humble ourselves, to feel that burden. However, I wonder if we have become too proud to rend our hearts, weep and mourn.
Even in desperate times, we have one great source of hope. We can move God’s heart by our pleas, and a passionate calling on God’s name by his people always precedes revival.
However, God is moved by someone’s kneeling, not his or her standing.
God tells us repeatedly that if we are serious about humbling ourselves, we must pray and fast.
Jesus, in His teaching, did not say “if” you fast. He said “when” you fast.
Fasting is one of God’s ordained ways of humbling ourselves.
Psalms 35:13 says, "I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting."
In Ezra 8:21, the prophet Ezra proclaimed a fast so that he and his companions might humble themselves before God.
Fasting is a sign of humility to the Lord God because it is our attempt to subject our desires so we can focus on God’s desires. Also, fasting communicates availability and yielding to God for whatever He wants instead of what we want. Most of all, fasting enables us to give our full attention to God’s leading and not to our own agenda.
Fasting means you are willing to give up something your body demands to fervently seek something you spirit needs.
You want revival? Pray and fast.
So why don’t we?
First, we are afraid because some denominations don’t do it.
The second reason is pride. It is humbling to fast. If you decide to pray, mourn and fast, some people will ridicule you because you are doing something radical and not going with the crowd. See Psalms 69:10-13.
Revival doesn’t come because we see the importance of humility and declare its virtues. Revival comes because we intentionally seek it.
God clearly says, "This is what you do if you want to humble yourselves before me."
The question is, are we too proud to do it? Humility means we have a burden with present conditions — and then we pray, fast and start addressing our desperate need for holiness.
Revival always makes us address our need for holiness. I have wondered why revival comes so slowly and so infrequently, when every church would say they are for revival. So why do we rarely see it?
Many people ask for revival because they think it would be fun. They have never been in a revival.
Long term, revival is glorious; short term, it is painful. Because if there were a movement of the Spirit in church, there would be a conviction of sin like we have never seen before. And are we sure we want that?
Every time you start to tell a dirty joke, or keep your money from God, make a dishonest deal or skip church over some silly, selfish reason, do you really want the spirit to crush you so that you have to fall to your knees and ask for forgiveness?
That is what you are asking for if you are asking for a revival.
Peter says in the fifth chapter of his first letter that we need to clothe ourselves with humility because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, we must humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand.
Humble or be humbled
Every time something bad happens, we are too quick to say, "That must be spiritual warfare." Many times, it is God’s discipline. It is God keeping his promise to humble the haughty in spirit.
Do you remember how proud and arrogant King Nebuchadnezzar was before God, even though he had been warned in a dream to humble himself? He didn’t, of course. Therefore, God sent him into the wilderness for seven years to live like an animal. In Daniel 4:37, he says, "I learned a great lesson. I learned that all those who walk in pride He is able to make humble."
The Bible says that one day every knee will bow. We are not talking about whether you will be humble before God. We’re just talking about when you will humble yourselves and how. God will humble all that do not humble themselves, The Bible says.
If you will not fall flat on your face before God, he will put you flat on your back — but one way or the other, you’re going down.
If you want purity and rightness in your life and in this church, you must humble yourself and ask God for revival.
Rev. Albert Corey is pastor of Oak Ridge Assembly of God in Crestview.