As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
– Acts 9:3-9
“The man that would have God’s best becomes at once the object of the personal attention of the Holy Spirit. Such a man will not be required to wait for the rest of the church to come alive. He will not be penalized for the failures of his fellow Christians, nor be asked to forego the blessing till his sleepy brethren catch up. God deals with the individual heart as exclusively as if only one existed.”
– A. W. Tozer, The Size of the Soul
I used the Saul conversion in the Scripture reference, because of one verse. “The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.” The message was for Saul alone.
Tozer is talking about revival in this quote above. Thus, he can refer to the body of people as Christians. Some may have gone astray. Bill Bright referred to them as Carnal Christians, those who have shoved Jesus off the throne of their souls by some unrepented sin and taken control. It happens. When it becomes rampant within a church, a revival is often called for. His illustration of one person getting it while the others around him are still in the fog is much like the Scripture above. Saul heard the message and saw Jesus, but the others with Saul only heard a sound and saw no person.
Have you ever heard a sermon and thought that the preacher was talking to you alone? My younger son came to the Lord in just such a manner. It is the Holy Spirit working within you and using the person speaking as His conduit.
There are two ways of looking at this personal focus in either revival or re-birth. We each go to God individually. But God comes to us individually as well.
If you are looking for a revival in your church, praying corporately for the church as a whole may not be adequate. Pray for each person in the church. Go through the church directory. If you know the person, you can make it personal. If you don’t know the person, ask yourself why you do not know them and ask God for an opportunity to know them better. This can be a tough challenge for a large congregation, but remember, salvation is an individual activity, and revival is an individual activity. In fact, our personal walk with God is something that we each do at our own pace.
Having a church family provides a group of people that help each other, but our progress along the path to be more like Jesus is an individual activity. I am reading the book, The Weight of Glory, by C. S. Lewis. When I get to the essay entitled ‘Membership’, I may come back to this topic. He speaks of this paradox of individual salvation in a community of God. Both are needed.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.