Life Action has identified six biblical responses to God that historically have been precursors to revival. I’ve been writing briefly about each of them. So far we have seen two:


Today we look at the third response:


“Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20 CSB).

What a beautiful promise from the Lord! To repent is to change direction. When we identify areas where we have turned away from the Lord, and we change direction and turn back toward Him, His grace does in us what we cannot do in ourselves.

Not only does He forgive our sins, He wipes them out! He no longer holds them against us. And He empowers us to live in a new and beautiful way. Seasons of refreshing come. What an amazing way to live! This is what revival looks like, and this is why there is no revival without repentance.

Repentance is a very popular idea among Christians today … as long as it is someone else who needs to do the repenting! We have entered a season in the North American church where unabashed arrogance and self-righteousness reign. Every day on social media there are new self-righteous movements of indignation about someone else’s sin.

But it is exceptionally rare to hear people talking about their own sin. We are very upset about the wickedness of the world around us. (And it is indeed wicked.) But why should we be surprised that those without Christ live sinful lives? What is more shocking is that followers of Christ can be so intent on the sin of others with so little repentance of their own.

So if we truly want a revival movement that could even change the heart of our nation, it must begin with repentance in our own hearts.

What should we repent of?

Well, obviously, the Holy Spirit will bring conviction to each of our hearts if we get our eyes off of others and onto ourselves. However, it is also helpful that Jesus Himself told the church what He most wants for us. So when we deviate from that, it should be clear that this is what we most need to repent of. Listen to the words of the Lord in His prayer for us:

“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be [one] in us, so that the world may believe you sent me” (John 17:20-21).

So it is the fervent desire of Jesus that His people put aside arguing and division, and allow His Spirit to draw their hearts together into biblical community. The reason He desires this so much is so more people will come to know Him!

If we truly desire revival, let’s lead the way in repentance from anything we may have done to cause division in our church. And let’s challenge others to do the same.

And then let’s repent for our failure to love our lost neighbor, and to share the gospel with him or her.

If we repent in this way, we will literally begin to be part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer, and I believe we will see sweeping revival.

I’ve already seen this with my own eyes. In 1995 we saw God’s people in Brownwood, Texas, humbly and honestly repent, and revival came and changed our church, our city, and hundreds of campuses across the nation. Now we are beginning to see that again as students return to the Lord in universities across the country, resulting in a national student revival movement.

So what about you and me? Will we repent? Will we join the movement of God in our day?

Like the father of the prodigal son, Jesus waits for each one of us. And when we run toward Him in repentance, instead of away from Him, we will run into the arms of the One who longs to revive us and fill us with His new life. And with our own eyes, we can see seasons of refreshing in our own day.