How to Reboot Your Relationship with God

A Scottish whisky distiller named Thomas Dewar once said, “An honest confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation.” And I am afraid that before I begin today I have to make a confession that may damage my reputation. Well, probably not since most of you know me already. But here is my confession. I don’t own a Mac. I own a PC. Not just any PC but a 600 dollar Sony Vaio that has, in my opinion, a very short time left on this earth.

As you can imagine, this is not the computer you want to use to plot the complete domination of the universe. It’s not horrible. But it’s not great. And quite often, it gets kind of – how should I put it? – Sluggish. The problem begins when there are too many programs running at once. My AVG antivirus is updating, my outlook express is downloading emails, iTunes is playing some Michael Buble and Bible works is performing a word search. Next thing you know, my wonderful Vaio begins to slow way down. It gets so bad that after a while you can’t even close the programs that are running. I mean, you click the X and nothing happens. It just stays there staring at you. I press control + alt + delete and that only makes things worse. Knowing that there’s only a short amount of time before my computer completely locks up I have to act fast, so I scroll over to the start button and down to the shutdown menu and click “reboot” (Some computers like mine call it "Restart). I love reboot. I have discovered that whenever my computer is bogged down the only way to get it working properly again is to reboot it. And once the computer comes back, all of the issues it was having are gone, and I am able to work with it again. I find that I have to reboot my computer quite a bit. But what I have also discovered is that I'm not that different from my computer. God often has to reboot me as well. In the same way that my computer gets bogged down with stuff, my life gets bogged down with stuff, and it gets so bad that God can’t even interact with me anymore. And in order to get me back he has to reboot my Christian experience. I am convinced that the greatest need of our church today is a reboot. We are caught up with so much, yet so little. Weighed down with ministries, projects, sermons and activities and yet we are spiritually sluggish. God wants to revive us. God wants to reboot our Christian experience.

Isaiah 57:15 says, “For this is what the high and exalted One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”

You know, God is a God who loves people. In the Old Testament we read a love story between God and a woman named Israel (by woman I mean nation). God and Israel had this intimate relationship with each other that started all the way back with Abraham. Abraham was a friend of God and God chose the children of Abraham to be His special people. Over the centuries however, Israel began to drift further and further away from God. He had given them everything. Love, care, friendship, protection, justice, a listening ear, power and prosperity – but Israel didn’t seem to care. Like an unfaithful spouse Israel started to drift from God and chase after other gods. It got to the point where Israel was so far from God that child sacrifices, prostitution, idolatry, and oppression had become the norm. They had totally forgotten about God. But God loved Israel and He wanted to win Israel back.

When we read the book of Isaiah we find ourselves immersed in the worst period of Israel’s history. The northern kingdom of Israel, which was home to 12 of their 10 tribes, had been conquered by the Babylonians and to this day no one really knows where those 10 tribes ended up. The southern kingdom Judah wasn’t far behind. They had turned their backs on God so far that He couldn’t get through to them anymore. They felt like everything was fine. Like they didn’t need God. Like life was good and they could handle whatever came their way. But they were wrong. During the days of Isaiah a new king came into power. His name was Manasseh, and the Bible says he was the worst king that Israel ever had. He was so bad that God finally reached a point where there was nothing more he could do for Israel except judge them. Jewish tradition tells us that Manasseh was so evil, that he actually had Isaiah, the author of the book we are reading, sawed in half.

And so here is Israel. It looks like all hope is lost. There is nowhere left to go. No one left to turn to. They are in that moment where they are so far from God it seems they can never make it home again. I don’t know about you, but I have had moments when I feel far from God and my heart yearns to just go back home to Him but I don’t even know where to start. And it’s in the middle of all of this drama that God speaks through Isaiah a message of revival. He’s telling Isaiah “I’m going to revive Israel.” Now understand that to revive does not mean to bring back to life. Resurrection means to bring back to life. To revive means to restore. God wanted to revive Israel. In other words he wanted to restore her. But restore her to what?

Let’s look at the text. “For this is what the high and exalted One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”

God wants to revive Israel and so he sends this message through the prophet Isaiah that not all hope is lost. There is going to be a revival. He is willing to reboot their walk with Him but before he goes into that he says, “For this is what the high and exalted One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy…”

What is God doing here? He is describing himself. Now why in the world is he doing that? Why is God describing himself? It’s like he’s saying, before I give you the message I have I need to introduce myself. I am the high one, the exalted one, the eternal one, and the holy one. Why is God describing himself? The first thing I would like to point out about revival is this. Most people think of revival in these terms: “The church is dead. We are not doing anything to spread the gospel and so God has to revive us so we can get to work again.” So the purpose of revival, according to this way of thinking, is to get the church to do more. But understand that the true purpose of revival is not to get the church to do more. True revival is about God getting you to remember who he is. God doesn’t want to revive us so that we can start another ministry or plant another church. No! God wants to revive, or restore our love for Him! There are many churches with all kinds of activities in need of revival. Revival is God taking your life full of idolatry (which can be ministry), full of sin, full of rebellion and reigniting the spark of your love for him! It’s not about more stuff. It’s about remembering who he is and falling in love with him again.

Who is God in your life? Do you remember where you were when he found you? Do you remember who you were with when he snatched you up? Do you remember how he has come through for you and your family. How the bills have been paid, the children fed, and the problems solved. Do you remember that he is the high and holy one? Guys, God wants to revive our love for him. God wants to reboot our Christian experience.

So how can we have this revival? Well the text says two things. First God revives the spirit of the humble. Why the humble? Because only the humble are willing to let him. Are you willing to admit this morning that your relationship with God is not all it’s cracked up to be? Are you willing to admit you are an idolater? Are you willing to admit you have a problem that only God can fix? God reboots the humble.

The second thing he mentions is that God reboots the broken hearted. Now God doesn’t literally revive the heart. This is talking metaphorically. The heart means the mind and the emotions. God wants to reboot your thoughts and your feelings. Understand that revival is an emotional thing. God wants to revive your heart and your spirit. This is emotional stuff! And God only revives the heart of the broken ones. Why the broken ones? They are the only ones who recognize how badly they need a healer. Are you willing to admit this morning that your relationship with God is broken?

Guys. God wants to reboot our church. We need a revival. But it starts with me. And it’s not a revival of activity. It’s a revival of knowing and loving God. God wants to reboot our Christian experience. He wants to get rid of the mess and bring us back into a love relationship with him. Israel was too proud. They weren’t willing to admit that they had a problem. They thought they were OK. They had a city, a king, money, and land. But they didn’t realize that their relationship with God was broken. Our churches are the same way. We need to be restored to that first love experience with Jesus.  The old preacher Vance Havner got it right when he said, “Revival is the church falling in love with Jesus all over again.”

A twelve year old boy became a Christian during a revival. The next week at school his friends questioned him about the experience. "Did you see a vision?" asked one friend. "Did you hear God speak?" asked another. The youngster answered no to all these questions. "Well, how did you know you were saved?" they asked. The boy searched for an answer and finally he said, "It’s like when you catch a fish, you can’t see the fish, or hear the fish; you just feel him tugging on you line. I just felt God tugging on my heart."

What was the last time you felt God tugging at your heart? I mean seriously, what was the last time you felt his love? Guys, this is what revival is all about. It’s about allowing God to reboot our Christian experience so that we can feel him tugging at our hearts again. It’s about allowing him to remove all of the noise and the activity and the theological mumbo jumbo so that we can just feel him tugging at our hearts again. God wants to reboot our Christian experience. He’s calling us to fall in love with him all over again.