A Full Awakening
But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep. But fully awakening, they saw His glory, and the two men who stood with Him. And in their parting from Him, it happened that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. And let us make three tabernacles, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah;” not knowing what he said. And as he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them. And they feared as they entered into the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved, hear Him.” And when the voice occurred, Jesus was found alone. And they were silent and told no one in those days anything which they had seen. (Luke 9:32-36 MKJV)
It’s possible to live for decades while sleeping. I know this because I have.
When I was a child, I received much information about God. As a teenager, I remember being inspired to follow Jesus. In my twenties, I remember experiencing powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In my thirties and forties, I was committed to receiving as much revelation as I could. I was convinced there was nothing beyond greater information, greater inspiration, greater manifestations and greater revelation. However, now in my fifties, I’ve experienced an awakening. I’m truly more alive in Christ then I’ve ever been. And I’m freer and more effective in the Kingdom than I ever imagined possible.
Egregious Thinking Called Noble
My old thinking, which I thought was noble, was actually egregious to God. My thinking was like those slaves coming out of Egypt, I only wanted my master’s rules and to-do list. Trying to avoid punishment and, hopefully, receiving provision and favor. I thought it was noble to live for God’s approval. For His blessings, for His protection, for His love, for His provision, for all I could receive from Him.
I’ve awakened to the reality that God has already given me everything I could ever need — and more. I received it all the very moment I believed and trusted in Jesus.
It’s egregious to try and earn what only Jesus could earn. It isn’t noble to continue striving for what has been freely given. I can now live from God’s abundance and never again for what He has already given me. I live from God’s approval, from His blessings, from His protection, from His love, from His provision — from all that I’ve received.
Why was I in a Spiritual Slumber?
I spent many years trying to reconcile what God’s Word says about me with what I thought about myself. God called me a saint, but I still struggled with sin. So, I did what we all do. I listened to preachers, read books and did Bible studies. For every preacher who pointed me to the majesty and power of God, (which I already possessed and had full access to in Christ), there were dozens, if not hundreds, of preachers who gave me to-do lists and formulas. It was the same thing with books and Bible studies.
But this was my real problem: There was something in me that desperately wanted to earn God’s free gift. The truth is, I could have had a hundred preachers pointing me to the power of God and one preacher giving me a to-do list, and I would have trusted the formula more than what God’s Word said about me. So, there I stood, heavy with spiritual sleep. Not seeing Jesus Christ in all His glory. Not wanting to believe my only righteousness is Christ’s righteousness.
How I Awakened
The deepest, darkest parts of my being had never significantly changed. I still had nearly all my fears and insecurities.
I became discontent and frustrated with to-do lists, formulas and self-generated willpower. It was at this time that I was asked to start a church plant. I decided to accept the challenge. I told the people coming with me we would ask the simple question, “What was the Gospel the Apostles Preached?”
I surrounded myself and our gathering with only that which proclaimed the Glory of Jesus Christ. We fasted from all to-do lists and formulas. All we sang about was the majesty and power of God. All we preached was what Jesus did for us. We chose to believe,
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
After several months of fasting to-do lists and only proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, it was like life went from black and white to color. Everything was about what Jesus did for me — not what I could do for Him. I knew, in Christ, I was fully known and fully loved by God my Father. I could live from His love, not to earn His love. I was awakened to the glory of Jesus Christ and all He has done. There was nothing left to do. It was finished!
To my amazement, when I asked the members of our gathering if they were walking in more freedom from sin, less freedom from sin or no change, they all said more freedom from sin. This was my experience too. After eight months with no to-do lists or formulas about how to get our act together, we were all living in greater freedom by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ alone.
What Awakening Means for The Kingdom
One might think being totally free from personal performance, trying to earn God’s love and avoid His wrath, would make you complacent. There is nothing further from the truth. Focusing on all that has been done for you is very humbling. It creates an overflow of gratitude. It creates an overflow of love for others. It creates a desire to partner with God, to do whatever He would have you to do in His Kingdom.
Realizing our utter inability to do anything to deserve or earn God’s love and grace can be devastating. But realizing the incomprehensible sacrifice Jesus made, so that we could have the same relationship with God the Father that Jesus has, is spectacularly overwhelming. We have an infinite amount of love, infinite acceptance, infinite provision, etc. All that our Father has, we have.
After awakening, how can you not live your life in partnership with God, bringing His Kingdom into full fruition?