Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Please read this wonderful account of the Holy Spirit’s recreating and renewing work in a person’s life as recounted by Bishop Kivengere in reference to the revival experienced in East Africa.
I could tell you a case of a man back home, forty-five years old – a pagan, illiterate, who knew nothing about Christ. Then he was brought by grace, through the preaching of the Christians, into the presence of Jesus and Him crucified; and that man was so changed that within a month, when impure thoughts came into his heart he literally went outside from a meeting and vomited. What a standard, what sensitivity! A man steeped in paganism, with no Bible training, no background. And now in the light of Calvary, in that smashing, invading love, this man is taken, re-created, renewed, his conscience is so clean that when impure thoughts came he even went and physically vomited. A sensitivity had been created. The Holy Spirit had renewed the personality. Is this your case?
I find after I have gone on with the Lord, sometimes I grow insensitive. But the impact of the Holy Spirit, the impact of the renewal, is that you begin to move with that sensitive tact in the heart. If it is jealousy, don’t you think the time has come when you can say, ‘My heart was been renewed, and I am going to write a letter to that person and ask for forgiveness’? Yes, the posts of England may be very busy when God begins to work. And the homes of your country may experience men renewed, coming to put a few things right. That’s when Jesus comes alive: not when we enjoy lovely teaching, but when the teaching becomes so embarrassing that you walk away and do something about it.”
Bishop Festo Kivengere, “Christ the Renewer,” in The Keswick Week 1972, (Marshall Morgan And Scott, 1972), 75.
O God, by the Holy Spirit help us to see Christ, give us a heart of renewal with an increasing sensitively to holiness, and give us the will and strength to respond appropriately.
HT: Ray Ortlund