Set Free to Respond
I know that I am not alone in the need for heart revival. So many of God’s people have unresolved issues hidden in their hearts! Anger, depression, fear, religiosity—all of these prevent us from responding to God. Thankfully, His Word and the power of His Spirit are greater than our ignorance and self-justification.
The first step to freedom from any secret sin is to allow the Holy Spirit to probe and uncover it by the light of God’s Word. That’s where true revival starts. I needed the Holy Spirit to reveal me to me. When I accepted the truth of who I really was, the release of my soul began.
As I’ve shared my testimony and the principles of revival around the world, I have seen hundreds of women respond and receive deliverance from their hidden “fill in the blanks.” Recently, in England, a pastor stood in awe watching several hundred women and girls rush to the altar after the truth of God’s Word revealed them to themselves.
While they repented, the power of God swept through. Soon these women experienced another dimension of revival as God revealed Himself to them in a mighty way. Some collapsed under the weight of His glory, moaning, tears streaming down faces. Others, with hands in the air, experienced a release and an uplift they had never dreamed possible. They allowed God to do surgery in the depth of their souls and take the ax to the bitter, greedy, impure, angry roots of their lives.
In a recent meeting a little old lady in her 70s, bent over from years of bitterness, wept as the power of God swept over her frail body. Collapsing onto the floor, she lay still as the Lord did surgery on her soul.
Later she came to me with tears in her eyes, saying: “I have lived with that bitter root for most of my life. It ruined my relationship with my daughter and husband. That thing is gone. I feel totally different. And I believe God is going to restore my family relationships.”
There is lasting fruit in true revival. Four years ago, a young woman came to us on her birthday, ready to commit suicide. Every year on her birthday her father would sexually abuse her.
She had decided to kill herself rather than live with that secret shame and torment any longer. She came hungry and desperate, deciding to give God another “chance.”
The power of God struck her, and she responded. Today, she is a team member of a church, working with youth and children and touching others with the fire of revival.
Another woman who had been married 30 years had always allowed a bitter root to contaminate her husband’s attitude toward the churches they had helped to pioneer. After about three years at each church, she would allow a spirit of offense to rise up. This would force them to leave the church with some flimsy excuse and go on to help some other new work, where the same cycle of offense and bitterness would occur.
After hearing my testimony, she repented, responded to the Lord and was released from the spirit of offense. She and her husband are now concentrating on their marriage and feeling like newlyweds. Her grown children are rejoicing that they have a new mom.
To get free from an unresponsive, hard-hearted, religious attitude, you must become so desperate that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to change. A woman who was determined to find freedom from religiosity came to one of our Women in Revival conferences. During a powerful time of praise and worship, she shocked her friends.
When the glory of God became heavy in the room, she jumped up on one of the chairs and stretched upward with all her might, bellowing out praises to the Lord. Later she explained: “The lightnings of God suddenly struck me. I received instantaneous healing of chronic pain. But the most glorious healing I received was that of my hard, religious heart. I’m free!”
That is what real revival is all about—experiencing the height of His glory along with the depth of His digging. As our hidden “whatevers” are dealt with, we are loosed from our self-justifying, self-centered ways. Our self-effort ceases as the power of God removes the bitter roots and their poison. God’s power comes into our lives, and healing pours out into every relationship.
True revival is supernaturally initiated when God steps down from heaven into the midst of His people to bring vigorous life to the half-dead. When we respond to this visitation with hunger and repentance, our hearts are turned back to our first love. We are cleaned up, equipped and empowered to do the works of the kingdom of God. We, the revived, are then prepared to become effective evangelists and gather in a great harvest.
I like to think of revival as having two dimensions: height and depth. The height of revival is God’s revealing Himself to us. His presence is manifest, and the weight of His glory settles on us. As God reveals Himself, His power is released, and people are miraculously changed and healed both physically and emotionally.
The depth of revival is God’s revealing us to us so that we see ourselves in the light of His Word. Deep conviction pierces our souls, and our hearts begin to break as we see how far we are from God’s plan for our lives. The sword of the Spirit digs deep, quickening the Word and making it operative in us.
That’s when release and deliverance come. Only when both the height of His glory and the depth of His digging come into our lives are we able to be set free from the hidden things of the heart.
True revival comes in response to our hunger for God. We can’t work it up through religious habit—crying, moaning and burying our heads at the church altar as we have for the last 10 years—or by responding out of guilt or a fear that God is mad at or disappointed with us. We must allow Psalm 42:1 to become the cry of our hearts: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”
God will not ignore our earnest cry. He will touch us, one by one, by manifesting Himself to us and showing us our hidden sins so that revival can begin.
Kathy Gray and her husband, Steve, pastor World Revival Church of Kansas City, Mo., formerly Smithton Community Church, where revival began in 1996.
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