Wake Up and Get Ready
A Downward Spiral
[Reading time: 10 minutes] American society is increasingly polarized and opposition to Christianity and biblical values is growing. Christian organizations are being accused of hatred and intolerance, and considered terrorist threats. LGBTQ groups are increasingly hostile to Christian values. They’re pressing for revocation of tax exempt status for any group that adheres to such values. They’re pushing for sexual tolerance and training in schools. There’s pressure to remove all traces of Christianity from culture, including public prayers, crosses and names of holidays.
Many church denominations are abandoning fundamental doctrines, compromising the gospel and drifting with the secular tide. Many Christians are indistinguishable from non-Christians and have reduced their relationship with God to a religious routine — cultural Christianity. The number of Christians who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God is declining. As a result of gradual and continuous compromise, Christians are thinking like the world and embracing cultural changes.
Now, in an era of widespread spiritual weakness and indifference among Christians, our spiritual enemy is pressing the offensive and oppressing anyone who stands for God. We won’t appease him by making small concessions; instead, we must set boundaries and not compromise. Satan’s strategy is to wipe out every vestige of the body of Christ and claim sole possession of the earth. But there’s light on the horizon.
A Great Awakening
America experienced two Great Awakenings, in early 1700s and early 1800s. In both cases, the church had become spiritually asleep and ineffective, but God moved on ordinary people who cried out to him for a transformation. He honored their prayers by helping them purify themselves and giving them opportunities to present the powerful truth of the gospel to those who desperately needed it. A few of those people became well-known for their preaching, teaching, music or the churches and ministries they started. But there were thousands of people actively engaged in the awakenings whose names weren’t recorded in history. They were ordinary people like us.
Another Awakening is beginning now in ordinary people scattered across our nation and around the world, and it’ll grow into a major spiritual movement. Expect it to have greater impact than previous awakenings, even the great movements of the twentieth century, because this will be the last “big push” before the Lord returns.
The gospel is a message to individuals and it changes individual lives. Even when large crowds turn to the Lord, the repentant crowd is merely a collection of individuals who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Even when God uses a group of people, the group is effective because each person chooses to participate.
God always works with us one-on-one and it’s always his intent to work through every believer, not just a few. It’s his Spirit within us who does the work, provides the direction and produces the results. There’ll be few “big names” in the new Awakening because God’s focus will be on ordinary people influencing their worlds in everyday life.
The new Great Awakening already is beginning and spiritual activity is escalating among both the godly and ungodly. The growing conflict between the spiritual kingdoms soon will include everyone. This is a spiritual conflict, not intellectual, physical, social or political, though it’ll affect these realms and more.
There are perilous times ahead and open conflicts will occur in the streets; not with guns or brute physical force, but authority opposed to rebellion, true power opposed to hostility. The ungodly will demand “tolerance” of their sin and viciously attack those who stand true to their biblical convictions.
Severe persecution will arise unlike anything in recent American history. It’ll be as intense as the conflict related to slavery, but it’ll affect every people group because it’ll be a spiritual conflict. It’ll become obvious in every part of our society and culture. Civil discussions will become impossible where powers of darkness have the greatest influence. Even the public media will reflect hostility toward Christians — news reporting, music, the Internet, commercial advertisements and more. The evil assaults will take some lives, destroy property and demand acceptance of the vilest forms of evil. We’ll see open hostility to every form of morality and righteousness, a demonically-inspired revulsion against God and his people. The dark side will be hostile and use every evil tactic to belittle the saints and try to destroy their influence, but God’s people will turn from the world’s ways and be victorious.
God will use the enemy’s worst efforts to produce the best results in us, the saints. We’ll consider sin disgusting and turn to God with all our hearts. Even the spiritually immature saints will engage in the conflict, and grow stronger and more mature. We’ll identify unrighteousness and its results in every part of society. We’ll grow in authority and use it to take down the principalities and powers of evil. Even those who seem least likely will be victorious over sin in their lives and the culture around them. Entire regions of righteousness will develop in our nation, just as there’ll be regions of absolute depravity. In most areas, however, spiritual conflict will be continuous as citizens of the two kingdoms interact in their normal daily activities.
The contrast between the kingdoms will be evident everywhere, and it’ll be obvious who belongs to each kingdom. There won’t be any uncommitted, nonspiritual people.
There’ll be a spiritual swell of righteousness — a spiritual revival — followed by a nationwide plunge into depravity. But believers will rise to spiritual greatness by serving people who are desperate, and sharing the gospel with those who are receptive. People will plunge into every form of depravity they can imagine. Violence, abuse, and perversion will seem out of control, but we’ll revolt against evil and embrace righteousness. We’ll become like God our Father and the world will hate us.
American society will become increasingly dangerous, but the best days are still ahead for the true church, those of us who center our lives on God and serve him with our entire being. We’ll see him in action as we’ve always wanted. Miracles will become commonplace and the extraordinary will become typical among believers. God is about to do something new, including miracles never seen before in human history. We’ll do even greater things than Jesus did because he’s with the Father interceding in our behalf.
We’ll share our material goods to help others and God will multiply what we have. He’ll fill us with absolute joy as we give away our possessions, food and other necessities. When circumstances deteriorate and God’s blessings increase, scriptures we’ve known for years but never taken seriously will suddenly come alive. We’ll flourish in the gifts and abilities God gave us and fulfill our destinies in every glorious detail. Those who turn to him without reservation will discover how great he is and what he’ll do through them.
It’s Time to Wake Up
There is nothing passive about God’s kingdom and passivity isn’t a valued trait. Scripture refers to the “zeal of the Lord” because he’s intensely passionate about righteousness and restoring his people. He’s developing his nature in us and we’ll discover his zeal as we become zealous far beyond what we think is possible. As we see the depths of perversion and corruption sin produces, we’ll embrace holiness with an intensity that’ll astound even the angels around God’s throne. When we see the full reality of sin, we’ll adamantly reject it because we’ve experienced him. We’ll see the sheer danger and foolishness of flirting with sin. We’ll praise him for his grace that brought us out of its destruction.
Spiritual passivity is a result of spiritual slumber or dullness. As people become more aware of God and begin seeing the spiritual pollution in society, they’ll have to embrace either godliness or godlessness. Spiritual passivity and neutrality will no longer be possible.
Maybe these thoughts terrify you because you believe you could never survive such conditions. In reality, none of us could on our own. But God placed his Holy Spirit within us to teach us, develop us, equip us, lead us, and produce the results we need. If we properly prepare ourselves and rely on our heavenly Father and his Spirit within us, we can’t fail.
If we want to experience the unprecedented presence and glory of God in our lives, our community and our nation, we must commit ourselves to the following.
- Accept responsibility for our own spiritual development and don’t rely on someone else to do the work for us.
- Conform our thinking to what Scripture says, which is the essence of repentance.
- Make room in our lives for the Holy Spirit, defer to what he wants and engage daily in spiritual disciplines, such as Bible reading, meditation, praying, and journaling.
- Make the awakening a personal priority and ask God to begin it in us. We can’t expect God to do in public what we’re unwilling to let him do in private.
- Learn to humble ourselves and love people the way God loves them.
- Choose to associate with Christians who want to serve God and be alert to the negative impact sinners and worldly Christians have on us.
- PUSH — Persevere Until Something Happens
Christians sometimes use the acronym PUSH for “Pray Until Something Happens.” When we examine the principles of God’s kingdom, we discover perseverance is crucial to all spiritual matters, including our spiritual development. I suggest we modify PUSH to stand for “Persevere Until Something Happens.” This applies to prayer, using our spiritual authority, and just about every other spiritual activity we do.
Evil dominates our culture because we’ve been biblically illiterate and spiritually passive. We can enforce the victory Jesus won at Calvary by standing up for biblical principles and winning one soul for God’s kingdom at a time. That’s the strategy.
All of this is possible. It’s what God wants because it’s the best for us and he’ll produce the results if we’ll make the effort.
Jesus Did it All
We have no reason to be afraid, because Jesus won the battle on the cross. The enemy will viciously attack us, but he’s already defeated and is desperately trying to regain control. God’s allowing him to reveal the destructiveness of sin and the need for righteous judgment, and strengthen us spiritually as we turn from sin to embrace holiness.
To some it may appear Satan is winning, but Jesus has already defeated him and will arrive on the scene to impose the victory. Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Premier of all authorities. No one can effectively challenge or dispute him.
Even those who demand their right to live as they please will kneel before him and admit he is Lord. They’ll experience the eternal torment designed for Satan and his angels, knowing their sentence is right and the result of their own free choices.
Until then, we must strive to persuade people with the good news that Jesus died for them and they still have time to receive the gift of salvation. We’ll become mighty activists declaring the freedom of righteousness versus the bondage of sin.
A new Great Awakening already is beginning and spiritual activity is increasing rapidly, as is the conflict between the godly and ungodly kingdoms. The spiritual conflict will involve everyone and will affect every part of our lives, so we need to prepare ourselves now. Jesus defeated Satan at Calvary, and we’ll actively enforce that victory until Jesus returns.