Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Moment of Awakening ….




I’m going to, over the next few weeks, explore the Beatitudes and their impact on my life and yours. This is, for me, one of my favorite subjects in all of scripture, and so I want to get my thoughts down on these vast and critical subjects related to our spiritual growth and maturity. I started last week with my entry on meekness. We are all on a journey in the leadership of God, and partnership with Him along the way involves agreement with the heart “attitudes” He longs to birth and cultivate within us. The exploration of these internal realities provides glorious insight into a heavenly value system that is radically set against the foolishness, frivolity, and vanity of the things of this world. I want to connect with a value system that turns my heart and my world upside down.

There is no more important moment for a man or a woman than when they encounter a Holy God for the first time. This first encounter is really our first encounter, but in truth the Holy Spirit had long been brooding and stirring in our lives, in an external and internal sense, calling and inviting our hearts to come home. The Lord longs for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, as Paul once said (1 Tim. 2:4). God is searching the whole earth, calling all men to Himself as He searches for any who would come into agreement with Him. He is looking for friendship with men. Thus, the moment of encounter when we are first confronted with Him and by Him is one in which we are reoriented to take a journey that culminates in deep, voluntary agreement with His heart and mind.

Our journey is one that begins with connecting, by grace, with the reality of our spiritual poverty. One of the most glorious moments in our entire existence is the moment in which we are confronted with the painful reality of our complete lack of resource to accomplish anything noteworthy. When the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes to us and reveals our sinful state He also shines the light on our inability to do anything about it. It’s the problem of no resource - we can’t get ourselves out of the shameful pit we have dug for ourselves in our delusion and pride; only the divine “rope” offered by the Lord can set our feet on a rock and “establish our steps” (Ps. 40:2).

This same problem gripped the heart of the prophet Joel, thousands of years ago. An insurmountable problem was facing Israel, and the people were largely ignorant of their impending crisis. Fixated on an immediate, natural crisis, they had (as they had done for quite some time) overlooked their internal or spiritual crisis. Their spiritual crisis, their internal corruption, was leading to their destruction. They were destroying themselves. Thus, they were on a collision course with God Himself, who was intensely committed to stopping them before they could succeed. The great and terrible (Joel 2:11) judgment of God that was coming was about more than wrath and holiness, it was about a God whose plan for these people was so critical that He had to cut out, with a surgeon’s precision, any in their midst who threatened that plan to birth a Savior and King. It was also about a God who was committed, in His deep love for them to go to war against all of their enemies who threatened their destruction - even if the enemy was them.

Thus there was an unavoidable problem - if something did not change they were on a collision course with God Himself. There was no army, no earthly amount of finance, any shelter or protection from this grave threat. There was no resource on the planet, external or internal, that could save them from what was coming in regards to judgment. Who could endure what was coming to them?

This is the terrifying reality of my own spiritual poverty. My life was on a collision course with a holy God, with terrible judgment awaiting me if something didn’t change. Only, I had no power to change anything! My initial moment of “awakening” was the moment I came face-to-face with my own poverty of spirit and my great need for divine resource called grace to awaken my heart to love the things of God and empower me to do those things. This, of course, is a continual, ongoing reality. I can never graduate from “poor in spirit” in this life. I will have to continually “fight the good fight” of faith (2 Tim. 4:7) by continually seeking resource from heaven to resist temptation and sin while being renewed in my thinking (Rom. 12:2).

This was God’s solution for Israel when facing national crisis. The crisis was the context to provide an external “push” or impetus for them to come to the end of themselves and seek the face of God. It was God’s kindness and mercy that led to the raising up of Babylon to sweep into Israel to destroy it. Without the external crisis or trouble, Israel would have been blind to the internal cancer that was eating away at them from the inside. It was the crisis that caused them to become desperate and seek the only true solution - sincere repentance with prayer and fasting. This was to be for them something more than a momentary gathering, or an occasion - this was to be a lifestyle of continual prayer meetings and solemn assemblies that marked them as a people before God. The gatherings would train them in a different mode and reshape the way they thought and approached life as a whole.

It is the same for me. I need more than an initial awakening, or a salvation experience in which I am confronted with my internal corruption - the deadly cancer of sin. I need more than the initial encounter with God that stirs me and spurs me to pursue Him both for relationship and internal transformation. I need an ongoing awakening, one that happens on a continual, daily basis. I need to continually present myself before the Living God in all of my spiritual poverty and great need and see Him as Jehovah Jirah - my Provider, my divine resource, my sole source of life and hope. Once I connect with Him as One who can provide the more necessary thing - internal resource or supernatural grace - I can be empowered to love and pursue Him trusting that the externals are the easy part. The external needs, the sustenance and supply, are easy for me to receive.

I find that it is all too easy for me in the immediacy of life to reverse that reality. I often imagine that I am in great need for the externals, yet I need to be continually reminded that they are the easy part. The harder part is to come again for a fresh awakening into an internal, spiritual reality of encountering the Living God. I need to reach again. I need to come again. I need to drink and eat the only food that will help me and ultimately satisfy me. If I will fight that fight, than I truly have no worries. The external “stuff” of life isn’t even considered true necessities anymore.

They’re just considered the fringe benefits that flow from a tender, generous, wise and loving Father who knows what I need before I ask. Jesus, awaken me again today.


No comments:

Post a Comment