A Priority Shift

Revival is a bonfire – the sum total of all the candles put together on a hill.

Is God our priority?

In any committed relationship, the other person is your priority. You know this because you think about them every second. You wonder whether or not they’re looking at you across the room. You check your phone to see if they texted you in the morning. They are your first and last thought of the day. You sacrifice your time, your money, your energy to be with them. You talk about them to everyone. There’s no question as to whether or not that person is your priority—you know. 

By the way we act, we know what our priority is. So it appears, based on how we act, that God simply isn’t our priority. We don’t have God as the center of our thoughts throughout the day and night. The thoughts of this world and the cares of this life fill our minds instead. We scroll through pages of media more frequently than we flip through the pages of our Bibles. We are eager to see entertainment rather than God’s face. We have no problem watching two hours of TV, yet we are reluctant to give God even one hour of our day.

As a result, we have become self-centered. Our religion is nothing more than a routine of chores rather than a personal experience that grows and bears fruit. As Ellen White diagnosed nearly one hundred years ago: “There is not one in twenty of the youth who knows what experimental religion is. They serve themselves, and yet profess to be servants of Christ . . .” Little seems to have changed. 

As a young person in school, I long to have a real relationship with God—to be on fire for Him; to be others-centered, not self centered; to care more about what God thinks rather than what men think; to be someone that reflects Christ to the world. We have to dream bigger if we are striving for lasting revival: Twenty out of twenty youth having a living relationship with God should be our aim. It has happened in the past, and can happen again.

What would this look like—an entire school having a relationship with God? Imagine with me for a moment. 

Before the break of dawn, lights can be seen all over the campus—students poring over their Bibles, communing with God, fellowshipping with the Creator of the universe. Students come together to pray, to encourage each other spiritually, and to share burning truths they have discovered as gems in God’s Word. As they “walk by the way”, they meditate on the things they have read, having His law written in their hearts. Their thoughts and feelings are in alignment with God. 

They file in a timely manner into the worship hall, eager for the message of the morning. Earnestly, they respond to appeals to put God first in their lives and to lay aside all selfish ambition. They live for a vision greater than themselves, beyond the temporal things of this life.

At breakfast, the discussions at tables center around service instead of self-pleasing. They share their ideas and desires to start ministries and consolidate plans to work in the mission fields. All are eager to do their part in hastening Jesus’ coming. They are determined to make a difference in whatever line of work God places them, whether doing the dishes or mowing the lawns. No task is too mundane or menial.

In classes, they listen in rapt attention, soaking up the wisdom and expertise of their teachers, that the knowledge they have in class can be applied to their own personal ministry. In the afternoon, they apply their knowledge practically: Ministering to the community, mingling with people who have become close friends, and meeting the needs of the world around them. They follow Christ’s method alone.

As the day winds down, in the personal quiet of their bedrooms, they close their days with God in devotion. With their minds stayed on God, they fall into a peaceful sleep, prepared for their early rise the next morning. The recreation on the weekends is not indulgent, but instead restores their physical strength for more service. This is not mere routine or habit; it is the very life force of their days, the purpose for which they exist. 

These types of students are character-based, ones that will be “leaders in enterprise”; “thinkers, not mere reflectors”; the “head, not the tail”–not because they meet the world’s standards, but because they are men and women of character. Conferences, ministries, mission fields, and even worldly businesses call from far and wide, requesting these graduates because there is something different about them. Their lives reflect Christ. This is the fruit of true revival in the school.

Perhaps it seems like this is only a dream. But this is what can be. If we truly desire revival in our schools, we must ask ourselves: What can I do to make a relationship with God my first priority? 

Revival is a bonfire—the sum total of all the candles put together on a hill.

“We must enter upon the work individually.” By “humiliation, confession, repentance, and earnest prayer” we can expect a revival of true godliness among us. Revival begins with us. It begins with me.

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