When God manifests His presence, everyone in the vicinity becomes aware of His presence. This God-consciousness produces several responses. Here are three major responses seen in Scripture and history.
1. Sin is confessed.
When you become intensely aware of the presence of God, you also become acutely aware of any sin in your life. You suddenly get sensitized to the things you may have been desensitized to or rationalized away. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he confessed, “Woe is me! for I am undone…unclean” (Is. 6). When God poured out His Spirit in Acts 2, the audience cried out, “What shall we do?” In times of revival and awakening some literally cry to God for mercy. God is seen for who He is, and sin is seen for what it is. Saved or lost, sin is seen as an offense to a holy God. While not everyone may respond in humility, many do.
The first time I eye-witnessed a deep outpouring of the Spirit was in an after-meeting in Avoca, Ireland, during the summer of 2000 at a church camp. When we became aware of God’s presence, people began to confess their sins. There was nothing inappropriate, but there was earnest heartcry. Interestingly, neither the pastor nor I had mentioned confession. It’s just what happens when the human soul knows God is in the room.
2. Joy is expressed.
Once sin is acknowledged and people take by faith the clean heart made possible through the blood of Jesus, the Spirit revives the humble and contrite heart (Is. 57:15). When God revives, He fills, and “the fruit of the Spirit is…joy” (Gal, 5:22). Beyond the saints being revived, when the awakening took place in Samaria, “There was great joy in the city” (Acts 8). In the Congo Revival during the 1950s, when the Spirit fell in various villages, those not right with God cried out for mercy, while those already walking with God cried out to God for joy.
When God first moved in the church camp in Ireland, the after-meeting continued for about two hours. After the confession, the group spontaneously broke into singing. It was joyous singing now that hearts were back in fellowship with God.
3. Jesus is professed.
When God’s presence is manifest, those who are cleansed and rejoicing will begin proclaiming Jesus unashamedly. The revived early church faced persecution, but they still “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8). Spirit-filled evangelizing is the overflow of a revival atmosphere.
Again in Ireland, as the after-meetings continued throughout the week and as the Spirit kept moving, various ones were becoming fervent in their desire to win the lost. Evangelizing increased through the Spirit’s work.
This article originally appeared here.