“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit…” (Isaiah 57:15-16 NKJV).
In this amazing passage, it’s clear that if we prepare the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart, that God will bring the fires of revival. It's a great reminder that His Word always comes to pass. As the lyrics in a popular contemporary worship song attest, “When all hope is gone and Your Word is all I've got, I have to believe You still bring water from the rock” (Spirit Lead Me).
From Isaiah 57, we also see that holiness plays a role in being revived. Holiness is desiring what God desires. God is love, but His name is holy. He is referred to as the Holy One of Israel over 30 times in the Bible. There were times when the church trembled at His Word and walked in holiness. Those were, and still can be, glorious times. God abides with those who have a humble spirit and holiness is often a mark of humility.
To be clear, holiness involves salvation as well as sanctification. The only way to be declared holy before God is to repent of your sin and confess Christ as your Savior: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
From there, we are called to live holy lives that honor God. Our decisions either fuel the fires of revival or quench the Spirit—we either rejoice in God and walk in His Word or grieve the Spirit by disobeying. The choice is ours.
Five ways to keep the fire burning
According to the Scriptures, there are five spiritual principles that often spark a spiritual awakening and keep it going. Prayer and fasting ignite the fire, but the following scriptural truths fan the flames:
1. Embrace godly sorrow. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says that godly sorrow, in conjunction with repentance, leads to salvation, but it also leads to brokenness and dependence on God. When was the last time you wept over the condition of the nation as well as the condition of your heart? Brokenness breaks up the fallow ground of the heart—“break off all your evil habits; clear your hearts of weeds, in order that they may be prepared for the seed of righteousness” (Easton Bible Dictionary).
2. Recommit your life to God. Zechariah 1:3 says, “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you’.” Once your focus is back on God, He begins to work in and through you.
3. Restore what you can. Genuine repentance always leads to restoration. Whether it’s seeking forgiveness or mending broken relationships, you can never go wrong by making things right. In Isaiah 58, even their fasting was ineffective because they were harsh and self-focused. Pride never ushers in a spiritual awakening. A critical, harsh heart needs to be crushed under the power of the cross.
4. Holiness is not a suggestion. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says that we must purify ourselves from everything that contaminates our spirit. Romans 12:1 reminds us to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him. Without holiness, no one will see revival.
5. There must be continual hunger and thirst for God. Matthew 5:6 tells us that only those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, holiness, and purity will be filled. Continually seeking Him isn’t optional; it’s essential to spiritual awakenings. In studying past revivals, many of which were years or decades in the making, they all began after consistent and persistent seeking. The heat of revival never comes from a microwave setting.
In closing, even if you’re not where you’d like to be, God’s love and mercy is continually calling you back to Him. If you prepare the sacrifice, He will provide the fire.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at shaneidleman.com or wcfav.org. He is the author of Feasting & Fasting, If My People, Desperate for More of God, and Help! I'm Addicted. Follow him on Facebook at: facebook.com/confusedchurch. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler https://parler.com/profile/ShaneIdleman/posts.