Thrilling Feelings About Revival

I never planned it to be so, but I come from a school of thought, even a Christian one, that distrusts feelings.

It’s the sort of view that feelings are great when they are working your way but bad feelings will drag you down if you’re not careful. I’m not alone with such a view, because it is a very British one.

It has made me stoical, and I can endure a lot of physical pain without making much of a fuss about it. My ill health in the past two or three years has given me plenty of room for practice of the approach I have absorbed.

But what if God starts talking to us along the direction of our feelings, especially if we are schooled to downplay them?

I’m not talking about feelings that tempt us to do things that we know to be wrong, but simply Him communicating through our feelings as a form of guidance when He wants to say something important (see Philippians 2:13).

I remember encountering such thrilling feelings before, when in my late teens, I came to know Jesus. My atheistic viewpoint on life at that time was not working out well, to put it mildly.

Starting to have conversations about Jesus with a Christian friend of my brother resulted in me having the most incredible new feelings of peace. Twice in one week, I slept peacefully at night in a way I had not done for months. It was a foretaste of that glorious ‘peace of God’, referred to in Philippians 4:7, that I found more completely in Jesus some months later.

My Baptism in the Holy Spirit also happened with a flood of feelings, which is not that surprising after it has hit home to anyone that the Holy Spirit is a person and not some kind of invisible force. However, this was not an easy subject to approach in a Christian environment that had taught me to distrust feelings.

Happily for me, I found that the revered Bible teacher and evangelist R.A.Torrey (D.L.Moody’s successor in Chicago) not only approved of it but provided excellent Bible teaching on how to experience it. It’s written there in a light paperback, in print, entitled The Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Then there is the subject, not to say the feelings, of revival.

I came across revival for the first time many years ago, but I hung back on it for a long time largely because I didn’t want to raise other people’s expectations in a way that could set them up for disappointment.

However, I have realised that – like it or not – the cold truth is that God has repeatedly moved on the United Kingdom in revival in the past. There is not a great deal in the way of advances of the kingdom of God in the UK that has not been related to these revivals in some way.

I love reading the accounts of individuals who have lived through some real revival.

The thrilling feelings that can accompany understanding of real revival remind me of those days of old that I have just written about here. The idea that anything about ‘religion’ could be thrilling will not please the sceptical, but then it never has.

There are consequences, though, of experiencing something that is that brilliant. Coming to Christ and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit changed my life forever. It is very difficult to keep silent about something that is freely available to all. In fact, it’s a shame to keep silent when others have not grasped what is out there freely waiting for them.

There is an urgency factor as well.

Coming to Christ made me urgent to try and share my faith with my non-Christian friends, which was not without some success. I lost a friend or two, but that was because I was marching to a different tune.

Sharing my experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was similar, where I met with some notable success and some loss of Christian friends and respectability at the time.

And now there is revival, and revival starts with a radical impact on the people of God, not with politicians or scientists or anyone else.

And how will Christians know about revival unless we find some gentle way to tell them?

Nigel Paterson