As we prepare for this season of 21 Days of prayer and fasting, it is imperative that we catch God’s vision of what He intends to do in this hour. We are called to participate with God in creating the very thing He has in His heart to bring forth. This is a mystery to us. Why would the limitless God of the universe who can do anything at any moment seemingly stoop to the level of partnering with us frail and weak human beings? The answer is that He is totally given over to relationship with His bride. His husbandly heart is moved with desire as He looks upon His bride and that desire seeks to do all in companionship with her and through her.
In the first article to prepare us for the 21 days, we were called to consider the state of our spiritual lives. God is beckoning each of us to His high calling of personal revival. He desires to revive us from our spiritual slumber, each and every believer who calls upon His name, stimulating a deep desire to individually pursue God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. With these revived ones, God is then seeking to bring forth generational awakening. This is a corporate reality among the people of God where due to having our spirits individually revived we now contribute to the corporate whole and move together toward awakening across the generation.
It is true that we must individually choose whether or not to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Yet, God views His people not individually but corporately more often than we might realize. He loves and is ever committed to each individual yet is seeking to mature and grow His corporate body into what He has always intended it to be as His unified and single body. Then finally through a generation truly awakened to His ways, thoughts, desires and who willingly gives herself to joyfully participate with Him in His purposes, He will bring forth global harvest to an extent that history has never known. A harvest is coming from every people group and tongue under heaven that is going to blow us away and the only thing standing in the way of this is us.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 unveils to us part of our purpose in this season. Dry bones cover the earth today. These dry bones represent the body of Jesus Christ which is not functioning to the capacity that she should be. They represent the compromise, complacency, apathy, the spiritual weakness and so much more keeping us from effectiveness in the purpose of God. Ezekiel is given the opportunity to view these bones strewn on the desert floor. He is told by the Lord His plan of doing a creative miracle of bringing them to life and then commanded to be the vessel through which that plan would take place. He was to speak to the bones the words the Lord gave Him and life would be infused into them. Ezekiel does this and watches with amazement as the process of sinews and flesh and breath being put into them takes place. They then stand to their feet and number an exceedingly great number whom God promises will go into the land.
As we consider the concept of generational awakening we are wise to ask ourselves what God is seeking to awaken in us corporately. What are some core realities that need to be awakened in our hearts and deliberately cultivated so that they persist within us over the long haul of a lifetime spent walking with and serving God? Each of these begins with us as individuals yet they do not stop there. If the body of Christ is to faithfully accomplish what God has in His heart for today’s generation then each of these realities must be taught, preached, written about and prayed until they begin to be internalized across multitudes of ministries, organizations and church traditions. This is generational awakening as God intended it! But it requires we move from our often very individualistic mindsets related to our lives in God to include a corporate understanding as well.
1. Our True Calling
One of the most important of questions which many in the emerging generation of believers is asking revolves around God’s calling or will for our lives. Today, the will or call of God is often reduced to guess work in many parts of the body of Christ. It seems that we have gotten away from Paul’s understanding of this expounded in his prayer for the Colossians in 1:9, “that you would be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Paul stating “the knowledge of His will” specifies that we can and are to know the specific will of God for our lives. It is not guess work but something that those awakened to God and His heart will begin to walk in with confidence, faith and courage.
History is divided up into time and eternity. Our state in eternity will depend much more than we often realize on what we do with our time. Our time on earth is precious and what we do with that time will have direct correlation with our reward in heaven. This has no bearing on our salvation itself but on the rewards referred to in Scripture. Time on earth is for sowing, eternity is for reaping. Such truth adds a tremendous amount of seriousness to our lives as believers and as the corporate church. It amplifies the need to know what we are to be about in life and ministry as our true calling in order not to misspend our time.
Scripture asserts in many places that the corporate calling of an awakened generation is two-fold: a dwelling place of God Most High and to participate in the global harvest. These two over-arching realities will be infused into every plan and task. They will be on the forefront of hours of intercession and will be at the center of financial giving. They will be the primary content of preaching and teaching.
The first portion of this corporate calling is to be a dwelling place of God Most High. We are awakened in the reality of how much we are magnificently loved by the living God and have opened up our very beings to receive and drink of that infinite love. We corporately come to realize that God is not perpetually mad at us for not measuring up but instead thrilled with joy over us choosing to follow His Son. We then give back love to God through developing a lifestyle of corporate worship, prayer, adoration, fellowship, devotion and surrender. In doing so we are forever changed as we experience Him drawing near in ways we could not have imagined because we cooperated with His prescribed ways of doing things. Such a community becomes a place where the very presence of God can dwell freely. This is the very core of our calling as we are daily conformed into the likeness of Jesus when we cooperate corporately to be the dwelling place of God Most High.
The second portion of our true calling is to participate in the coming global harvest in every way possible – intercession, giving, mobilization, going, advocating. God has given the human race a special privilege not afforded by any other of His creations. Jesus Christ perfectly completed the atonement. We then preach the finished work of Christ in accomplishing redemption for humanity. He has placed upon His corporate church the calling and responsibility (which we will all be held accountable) of making this plan of redemption available to all humanity. This is the great unfinished work of the body of Christ and her true calling. This is God’s priority in this age.
If we will align our hearts and the activities of our lives with these two core realities of the true calling of the global church, we will not fail to walk according to God’s perfect will. For all that we do toward these two great ends, we will individually be rewarded greatly in eternity.
2. Our True Identity
Our identity as individuals and as the corporate people of God is vital. So much attention, energy, time and focus is given to honing that identity with those around us. We want to be seen in a particular light which culture, society and many other influences have told us are acceptable and right. For us this is inside the Christian community. In much of this there is present the sin of people-pleasing. We want to be seen as the good Christian, the successful Christian. We want to have the biggest church in town or the ministry that everyone talks about. These desires in themselves are not bad but when we are driven by them because our identity is based in them we’ve made an idol of these things.
Too many churches and ministries sell out on pursuing the true calling of God in pursuit of being the biggest and flashiest. Size does not always equate with being pleasing to the heart of the Father. It does not necessarily mean that God is blessing that particular group. They’ve not necessarily been awakened to their true identity as a people of God. King David is one of the best Biblical examples of having his identity in the right place. He never sought to be king. Such ambition to worldly greatness was never in his mind. He never felt that he had to become king to prove that he was worth something and had value. This is the crux of the issue.
Many of us feel we must achieve or accomplish for God in order to have value before Him in His kingdom. This is a flawed understanding because a person’s or corporate group’s value is not ever increased or diminished from something outside of themselves. David knew he had value for two reasons: he was loved by God and because he loved God in return. Our true identities and value boil down to this reality. We are His and He is ours. When this is clear within our hearts and we are not striving to attain value from some other source we are free to pursue God and be used of God without it causing disruptions within. God can’t release many of us into the very will He desires for us because He knows it will disrupt us and bring havoc to our inner lives because our identity is not founded upon truth.
If we are to faithfully lay hold of the corporate inheritance that God has planned for His Church, we must be awakened to our true identity found only in being loved by God and loving Him back with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength. This is all!
3. Our Unclaimed Riches
One of the realities God seems to be awakening in many across the body of Christ is the need to desire the treasures available to believers. We play an active part in receiving such things as we cooperate with God in seeking and pursuing them. The blessings which God provides us and are ours in Christ can be placed into three categories.
First, those which come upon us immediately following our trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior. These include forgiveness of sin, justification before the Father, regeneration, sonship to God and the baptism into the body of Jesus Christ. These are ours even before we have any idea of what they mean. Second, are those riches which we will receive only when Jesus returns. Such are moral perfection, the glorification of our bodies, the full restoration of God’s image on our redeemed personalities and being ushered into the very presence of God in all His splendor and majesty. Third, are the treasures which are ours by virtue of the shed blood of Christ but that Scripture makes clear we will not possess unless we make a concerted effort with focus and intentionality to do so. These include victory over the sins of the flesh, victory over the self-life, the consistent flow of the Holy Spirit possessing our personalities, fruitfulness in Kingdom work, regular awareness of God’s presence in our midst, an increasing awareness of deep intimacy with Christ, and a consistent spirit of worship flowing from our hearts.
God’s will is to awaken His corporate church to the absolute necessity of deliberately pursuing such treasures in Christ which are essential to our own spiritual health and to our capacity to be used of God in the coming global harvest. A lack of such deliberate pursuit is evidently hindering the global purposes of God in more ways than we fully grasp.
This earnest, sincere and deep desire seems to be a common pre-requisite when it comes to obtaining spiritual realities in the life of a believer. Such riches are not given lightly therefore half-hearted and wishy-washy requests will not be granted. We need to grasp that what God is entrusting to us is of the highest possible value. Those who are not truly hungry will not fully appreciate what they have been given and thus God cannot give such precious realities to them. Not possessing this desire has no bearing upon our salvation, yet what is at stake is going to the next level with God. A helpful question to ask ourselves is “How much of God do I really want?” We are as close to God as we want to be and we have received as much spiritual reality as we have hungered for.
Will this generation be the army? Each of us must assess our true calling, our identity, and our unclaimed riches. But in order to engage as an army, we must begin to think corporately even before we think individually. Our calling as a generation is to dwell with the Almighty as we purposefully reap the global harvest. Our identity as a generation is that we are His beloved and He is ours; He loves us and we love Him. Our unclaimed riches as a generation must mark us – a generation victorious over our self-life, keenly aware of God’s presence, deeply dwelling in intimacy with God, and fruitful in every good work. Let us band together and choose God’s grace to perfect us in His presence!