Revival Begins in the Mirror


Jerry B. Jenkins shares a personal story about spiritual revival.

Most Christians can recall an experience sometime following their conversion where they came back to God after a period of spiritual dryness. Sometimes the rededication experience is so meaningful, emotional or dramatic, it may be mistaken for salvation.

I remember mine clearly. As a teenager, I was working at a summer camp where a young evangelist, John Ankerberg, was to speak. He’d been one of my spiritual models and I was secretly proud that he would ask me what he should speak about that night.

“Phoniness,” I said with confidence. “There are a lot of phonies out here this week.” I was sincere. I didn’t count myself among them.

John recruited me. I sat in the back, ready to counsel the phonies who saw the error of their ways during John’s message. But as he spoke, God got through to me instead. I fell under conviction — heart-pounding, mind-racing, guilt-ridden conviction — that I had been living in sin.

Truly, I had not intended to be a phony. I didn’t run with a bad crowd, didn’t get into trouble. But no one outside my Christian community knew I was a believer.

John challenged us to say, “I’ll stand for Christ by God’s grace if I have to stand alone.” As soon as John invited people to stand and be counted, I leaped to my feet. He said, “Counselors are already standing, ready to pray with you,” and he sent a young camper my way for counseling.

If you’ve never tried counseling someone about your own spiritual problem while under conviction, I don’t recommend it. As soon as I finished, I ran to the privacy of a friend’s car and got right with God.

What refreshment! What peace of mind! What joy! And what corresponding sense of sadness and loss that I had not been revived earlier.

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