Do you want to restore your first love for Jesus? How can we deal with our conflicts and repair our relationships? What does it take to remove bitterness? What are the things needed to rekindle a desire for God? What about refreshing our spirit for a deeper experience of God? These and many more are some of the topics covered in this book under one goal: Seeking God earnestly. Before jumping into that, the authors give us a clearer definition of what kind of "revival" they are talking about. It is not a series of religious meetings that comprise all kinds of activities, including motivational seminar types we see in the corporate world. Neither is it outreach evangelistic campaigns nor seasons of fervour. Rather, it is a planned, intentional, and sustained process of seeking God from the inside out. It can also be used as a group study. Over a 12-week period, this book helps readers do just that. Each lesson comprises a common framework. The typical week comprises:
Day 1: Faith-Builder Story
Days 2-5: Truth Encounter / Making It Personal
Days 6-7: Seeking Him Together.
There are Bible readings in "Going Deeper into the Word." A "Faith-Builder Story" accompanies each chapter that tells a testimony of God's work in the lives of ordinary people. The "Truth Encounter" section helps us link what we read with what we experience inside us. "Making it Personal" section is a list of practical exercises for us to work individually, while "Seeking Him Together" is meant for group work. All twelve themes mentioned are essential spiritual qualities. Revival is for all, at least at some point in our lives. Humility is the recognition of our actual state. Honesty is to learn to speak the truth in love. Repentance is needed especially when we are preparing to approach a Holy God. Grace is that bridge to lift us toward the goal of seeking God. Holiness is necessary if we want to approach God. Obedience puts our love into practice. A clear conscience is critical in our relationships with one another. We need to learn forgiveness as well as to practice sexual purity. We are sustained in a Spirit-filled life. Finally, our personal devotional life will be changed once our exercises become habitual. Thus, the goal of the book is not for us to have a revival that ends in 12 weeks. It is to enable us to begin a sustainable spiritual devotional lifestyle that goes beyond 12 weeks.
We all need some revival, especially for those who have been long-time believers feeling stuck in the rut. Sometimes, we just need an impetus to get the ball rolling. This book provides such a springboard to help us do just that. Based on Ps 69:32 which says: "You who seek God, let your hearts revive," authors Wolgemuth and Grissom take us through an interactive study to equip us with skills to seek God more intentionally and personally. Jesus has taught in his sermon on the mount that when we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the other things we seek will be added to us. In the same way, when we seek after God fully, all the benefits of revival, renewal, reconciliation, and so on will be added to us. Let me give three thoughts with regard to this book.
First, this book is highly readable. With clear labels and formats, readers can easily follow the steps needed to be done daily. The authors use simple everyday language to engage the general reader, which is helpful for those who do not have formal theological training. I appreciate the additional efforts the authors made to explain commonly used terms like "revival," "repentance," "humility," "holiness," etc. I find the "Seeking Him Together" most compelling because it exhorts us to be open enough to share our spiritual struggles, setbacks as well as victories.
Second, this is more like a workbook. Reading it alone will not reap much help. In order to experience the fuller effects of seeking God, one needs to answer the questions honestly and to study the truths personally. They are all linked together. Activities from each day are connected to the next day, and the next. Even for those who have read and answered the questions from the previous days, periodically, readers may have to go back and forth to be reminded. That is why working through the book in a group environment is more beneficial. Members can form an accountability system.
Finally, I like to remind readers that the book is first about seeking God rather than personal revival. This is a subtle difference. Just like how Jesus encourages us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and to trust God to add what we need to our lives, we need to focus on desiring God for God's sake, and to trust God to do the rest. In order words, seeking God is primary. Achieving personal gratification is secondary. Like the famous "Footprints on the Sand" story, once we are fully engaged in our pursuit of God, we will suddenly realize that in the midst of it all, it has been God who has been carrying us, encouraging us, and guiding us along all the way.
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an author and popular speaker for millions of women through her "Revive Our Hearts" and "True Woman" movements. She has authored 22 books, including this present volume. Tim Grissom is Editorial Director at FamilyLife. He has also written widely and co-authored several books.
Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.
This book has been provided courtesy of Moody Publishers without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.