We are in the opening acts of an Awakening. For me, this is the seventh Awakening for the United States of America, “Great Awakenings” can be defined in many ways…at any rate, the curtain is up on the next one.
God’s Word gives us many examples of Divine strategies for moves of God with national and cultural influence and impact. The interplay of Providence within and around nations and cultures targeted for Awakening reveal some patterns. All the patterns of Providence (God is involved in history) reveal something about leaders and remnants. God reveals who He is and how He does stuff in the Bible, and one revelation could be entitled, “How God Awakens Nations to Restore Their Purposes.”
Purpose and Awakening
When God awakens a person, He awakens that person’s purpose or destiny. What is destiny to a person is purpose to a nation. When God awakens a nation, He awakens that nation’s purpose.
When God awakens a person or nation, He awakens them through kingdom leadership. This becomes obvious when we consider that God’s strategy is kingdom and God’s kingdom is leadership.
Note that when God awakens a person through kingdom leadership, He isn’t looking to install a taskmaster or tyrant in that person’s life, but a father. God doesn’t wish to turn people into slaves or puppets but leaders with the strength of will to surrender to His purpose for their lives. God doesn’t control people as much as puts them into a position of strength so that no one else is controlling them. “No man can serve two masters.” God, as Lord, has a wonderful approach to leadership that sets a person up to experience personal fulfillment of destiny. God redeems and restores personal purpose.
This is personal transformation. All transformation is restoration. God restores a person so they can become the person He created them to be, so they can do what He called them to do.
When God awakens a nation, He awakens kingdom leadership within that culture. He isn’t looking for a kingdom leader to become President or Emperor. He is bringing a national level of kingdom influence and impact that will strength the culture so someone else isn’t controlling it. God doesn’t control nations as much as He positions them with the strength to fulfill their purposes. Their purposes are kingdom purposes.
This is cultural transformation. All transformation is restoration. God restores the culture to fulfill the purpose for which He created that culture.
We cannot separate Awakening from purpose or we fail to mature the Awakening, or the Awakening gets hijacked by some inferior purpose or perspective that further discredits, distracts, or distresses the purpose of the nation.
Awakening is More About Accountability than Accumulation
Continuing with “purpose is the purpose” thinking, Awakening isn’t measured by numbers or accumulations of believers. Awakening measures a culture’s fulfillment of kingdom purpose, so Awakening is more about accountability for fulfilling purpose than accumulations of people, provisions, or perceptions.
At present, the accumulation of believers is the dominant presupposition behind our definition of “church.” We sometimes even assume a bigger crowd evidenced revival. We rewrite the history of revivals to dramatize this perception, and the false perception creates a false expectation.
This sentiment sounds like “God is about to show everybody how much He loves them.” Is He? He already did that. He’s been doing that pretty regular-like for quite a while now. He didn’t stop doing that. Assuming this is what Awakening is all about plays right into the scenario of accumulation that is the reason for needing an Awakening!
The easiest and efficient way to accumulate people is to give them what they want. Awakening isn’t about giving people what they want. Awakening is about purpose. It is an accounting for the fulfillment of purpose. So, drop the motivational aspect out of the vocabulary of Awakening because Awakening is going to blow up the boat!
The assumption that Awakening will fill up what emptied out is spurious. What has been emptied out was emptied out because it wasn’t fulfilling purpose. It was supposed to be empty. God isn’t about to fill it up again so we can repeat that dead end process!
Nothing is more likely to empty out a ministry than accountability, and the kingdom avoidance of accountability set the stage for the culture to follow suit. Nothing makes people more nervous or angry or avoidance-minded than accountability. “I wish to do what I wish to do” has become “I wish for God to help me do it.” When God awakens a person or a nation, He immediately begins bringing their lives or culture into accountability for purpose. He doesn’t arrive like Santa Claus for people to recite their wish lists!
Historic Setting but No Historic Superstition
Superstition assumes the repetition of identical activities magically produces the same or desired results. Superstition assumes animistic appeasement of spiritual forces will allow the spiritual influence to feel better about the human condition. Church conferences are rife with it, and billions are spent annually signing churches up for superstition.
When we say the word, “revival,” we immediately fall into a historic superstition. We assume that “do again, Lord!” means that God will repeat Pentecost, that our hearts will be strangely warmed as Wesley described his encounter, or that Asuza Street will happen again. We are ready for a repeat of historic superstition and we get a bad case of the “if only’s.”
“If only God would do this or that, then things will get back to what they should be.”
Of course, we don’t have a clue how things should be because God is transforming so He can get on with restoring. He will restore things to where they should have been had His people not wandered away from purpose, and when He does this, no one will recognize “how things are” because things will be as they should have been. They will never be as they were before.
On the other hand, an historic setting will provide a backdrop or context for the move of God. History provides reminders of purpose, glimpses of purpose begin fulfilled in the past, and a connection point for “where we should be” with “where we were” at that point of fulfilling purpose before we lost our way.