«Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands» (2 Timothy 1:6).
WHEN MY DAUGHTER WAS seven years old, there was a day when she could not stop crying. It was a peculiar experience and, among her many exclamations, she said that she was a sinner and urgently needed God’s intervention. She lifted her arms as one who wished to receive a special anointing. I, who was observing her, felt deeply moved, and did not doubt for a moment that it was the work of the Holy Spirit. I knew it because He is the only One who convicts us of sin (see John 16:7, 8).
That experience with my daughter reminded me of Charles Finney (1792— 1875). Finney was an American lawyer who had grown up in a non-Christian home. While reading law books, he found that they made many references to the Bible, so he decided to buy a Bible and read it. That attentive and thorough reading of the Bible led to a personal experience with Christ. In his autobiography, he says that on one occasion, he felt that the weight of his sins was immense, and that for that reason God had abandoned him. He wanted to kneel down at that moment to pray to the Lord, but he was embarrassed that someone might see him. It was that possibility of feeling shame that meant a spiritual awakening for him, for he thought: Well! A sinner like me is ashamed that another sinner like me will see me on my knees praying to God in order to be reconciled with Him.» Then he promised God that if he were converted, he would preach the gospel. The peace he felt was tremendous and he fulfilled his promise.
Charles Finney said two very simple, but accurate things: 1) the secret of revival lies in prayer; 2) the only one who possesses free will to seek a revival is yourself. So, dear friend, fan the flames; ask God to forgive you, to convert you to Him every day, to use you, to allow you to be an instrument in His hands.
Jesus said: «I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!» (Luke 12:49). He came to bring that kind of fire that leads us to a deep conversion, to a purification of the heart, to a commitment to His Word. He wants us to live in such a way that we are not cold or lukewarm, but filled with the warmth of His love and the work of His Spirit in our hearts.