What exactly is awakening? Have you thought about that question? As Christians, we want it – and we are all looking for it to happen. Yet what does awakening mean? And what does it look like?
Most serious Christians bemoan the condition of our world as it is. We see ideas and actions removing boundaries we once thought were permanent, and we see an emphasis on many religions other than Christianity. How did we get here and how do we turn it around?
Most Bible scholars who are praying and listening for God’s direction see a Great Awakening coming to America and to the world. So what will it be like?
First of all, this awakening will involve many who are Christians waking up to the reality of who Jesus is and how important He really is in their lives. Their love, which might have grown cold, will return, along with their desire for His will to be done. Their faith will rise up as they turn their hearts back to God.
The second part of this awakening will be for many new believers to come on the scene. Many who have known about Jesus all of their lives, but who haven’t really known Him personally, will wake up to the fact that He is real and He wants to be their Savior also. And their lives will change dramatically, turning to the One True God for their answers.
Then society will begin to change. There are those who will never receive Jesus, of course, and those people will be determined to continue down the road of destruction. Yet there will be a change, because the righteous will have more of a sway on laws and customs in society. They won’t tolerate the greed, the corruption, and the evil which is so accepted today. God’s love and wisdom will have more of a presence.
So how does this happen? It happens one person – one soul – at a time.
Current expectations always involve huge crowds and massive actions, but that’s not the way it happens. Even if a huge crowd is there hearing a powerful message, salvation or rededication comes one person at a time. Each individual heart has to make the choice to accept Jesus on its own. One person – and then another – and then another.
One thing we have to overcome is what I call a “spectator mentality.” We sit in the stands and watch our teams play their games. We sit in churches watching and listening while the preachers preach and the singers sing. We sit in front of our TV’s and watch celebrities perform. Oh, it’s even worse than that. Now we watch other people live their lives in the Reality TV craze.
We have become watchers and not doers.
Yet awakening will change that. As people turn to Jesus, they will have a zeal that will bubble over into every aspect of their lives. People at work, at school, and at home will see the changes – the love, the joy, the faith – and they will want to know more. Then also the newly revived ones will be eager to share their newfound zeal. They will be witnessing as they go – wherever they go.
That’s what real awakening will look like. In the 60’s and 70’s, there was an incredible revival of Holy Spirit and the Word. During that time, many non-denominational churches were founded and organizations like Full Gospel Businessmen and Women’s Aglow were started. There was revival all around.
Significantly, the many people who were impacted by that revival came to the Lord through the influence of friends and family. There were large meetings, of course, as there are always when God is front and center. But the majority of people came to Jesus because of the testimonies and lifestyle changes of their friends.
That’s why you and I are so important. As the coming awakening ramps up, our stories will be significant- and our willingness to share with others will be crucial. Some will make their decisions in large meetings, for sure, but they will need people along side of them to answer questions, to pray with them, and to encourage them in their walk.
So as we look forward to this next great revival, let’s get off the bench and get into the game. All of us are needed. That’s how it has happened in past awakenings, and that’s how it will happen this time.
All hands on deck. A thrust of God’s people fulfilling His call – praying, witnessing, and encouraging those around them. A thrust of God’s people fulfilling His vision for His world.