The words of the Psalmist in Psalm 37:4 is one of the main reasons, in my view, why revival has eluded us. Love for God is central to experiencing a revival. It is due to the lack of love that genuine revival has remained elusive. The Psalmist says,
“Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4 NKJV).
The word “delight” means something that gives great pleasure and joy. It also means to, “please greatly.” When we truly love God, then he will become our delight and pleasure. Love for God motivates the desire for personal as well as a corporate revival, and in turn, inspires us to pray for revival. For the avoidance of doubt, we must define what revival is. Many mistakes every activity or work of the Holy Spirit as revival. By revival, we mean a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit that restores life to what is dead. For me, the best examples of revival in the Bible are found in Ezekiel 37 and Acts 2.
Revival cannot take place unless there is a deep love in our hearts for God who sends revival. God responds to the prayers and cries of those who are passionate about him. Our generation has grown to love blessings and gifts from God far more than the Giver. We seek God not because we truly love him, but because of what we can get from him. Herein lies the dilemma and the wickedness of the devil. The devil wants to fill our hearts with the hunger for the mundane, for material things. Materialism beclouds our love and judgement. The love for materialism renders our prayers powerless. When we love gifts and blessings more than the Giver we belittle God.
Jesus taught, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39 NKJV).
Jesus’s question to Peter is very relevant to our generation. Peter was quick to return to his fishing profession soon after the death of Jesus. In his backslidden condition, Jesus appeared to him and the other disciples asking them this question:
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs”
John 21:15 NKJV).
Thrice Jesus asked Peter to reaffirm his love for him. And thrice Peter answered in the affirmative that he loved Jesus. His declared love however fell short of the sacrificial and selfless love Jesus expected. Peter felt so offended that Jesus questioned his loyalty and asked him the third time if he loved him.
“He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17 NKJV).
If Jesus were to beam his searchlight on our professed love for him what would he see? Our love for God must be unalloyed, complete and total.