It Is High Time for a Spiritual Revival

Written by David E. Smith

Jackie Gingrich Chushman‘s article titled, “It is Time for a Spiritual Revival,” resonated with me as she lamented the challenges of COVID-19 “lockdowns, masking, sickness, death, fear, overwork, underwork, government stimulus, vaccine creation, the fast-tracking of new antiviral technology, work from home, school closures, supply-chain snafus, tight political elections, protests and rapidly changing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just to name a few items.”

As Illinois Family Action continues to monitor legislative activities in Springfield and Washington D.C. and as we report on government school failings and scandals, it is clear that America needs a spiritual revival. After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, hope arose that as a nation–as a people–we would turn back to Almighty God as our high tower and refuge. Unfortunately, society’s moral, spiritual and intellectual decline continued.

Chushman included some dispiriting facts that point to the need for spiritual revival:

The percentage of Americans who reported being a member of a church, synagogue, or mosque fell to a record-low 47 percent, according to a March 2021 Gallup report,” the update said (polls conducted 2018-2020, 6,117 adults, +/- 2 points). This is the “first time in Gallup’s trend since the 1930s that less than half of U.S. adults have claimed such membership.” While fewer than half of Americans said they are religious, more than half said they believe in the power of God. They are just not sure that that power comes through a religious institution created by humans.

As reported in September by Gallup, “Trust in the federal government’s handling of international problems has fallen nine percentage points since last year to a record-low 39%, and now matches the level of trust for its handling of domestic problems — one of only a few times that has occurred” (Sept. 1-17, 1,005 people, confidence level +/- 4 points). Trust in institutions has been falling for a while, but this precipitous drop seems unlikely to return to over 50% anytime soon. Most of us truly believe that our government is not only fallible but incompetent.

Gallup reported in October that “the vast majority of Republicans (75 percent) identify as conservative; Democrats are divided, with nearly as many describing their political views as moderate (37 percent) or conservative (12 percent) as describing them as liberal (51 percent)” (Sept. 1-17, 1,005 adults, +/- 4 points). Republicans may be tighter ideologically but they have managed to continually put politics over policy and ego over generosity. In doing so, they have become as mean-spirited as the Democrats in their messaging. A sure loss for Republicans.

Gallup also reported in October that a little over a third (36%) of people “in U.S. have a ‘great deal’ or ‘fair amount’ of trust in mass media” (Sept. 1-17, 1,005 adults, +/- 4 points). “This includes 68% of Democrats, 31% of Independents and 11% of Republicans.” While Democrats might still overwhelmingly trust mass media, this percentage will likely fall as the fallout over the political, pandemic and personal biases in reporting become more and more evident over time.

Chushman exhorts us to “look for the better angels–both within ourselves and, more importantly, within others,” which is a biblical principle (Philippians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Yet in her closing sentences, she blows it as she asserts that “our job on this earth is to help others see the light in themselves, as well as our light in ourselves.”

The problem is that we have no light in-and-of ourselves without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. We are in this cultural morass precisely because we are looking to ourselves for the answers and are shaking our collective fists at God, His Word and His prescribed ways of living. This includes our understanding of the purpose of life.

The first question in the Westminster Catechism teaches us that “Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.” The Catholic (Baltimore Catechism) also teaches that truth, saying in question 6  “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” This is consistent with Scripture:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24)

We err when we look to ourselves for anything good. Scripture is clear: our hearts are deceitful and will mislead us (Jeremiah 17:9). Jesus makes this clear when He asserts that “No one is good but One, that is, God” in Mark 10:18. The Apostle Paul reiterates this in Romans 3:12, saying “There is none who does good, no, not one.” In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah declared “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”

All good things come from God:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

The only way we can produce anything good is if we abide in Him and Him in us:

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) [emphasis added]

Looking to ourselves is not the answer. Seeking God and His Truth and knowing His Word will lead us to His perfect will for our lives:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

If we all strive to do this, there will be a revival. But it requires living for Christ:

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:7-9)

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