One of the good things about having lived six and a half decades has been the opportunity to watch several moves of God’s Spirit come and go, as well as to visit many churches internationally. I’ve seen so many of them walking wonderfully in the Spirit, only to return to old ways, or crash and burn, in either case tragically missing what God really wanted to do over time. What happened?
I want to suggest that much of the body of Christ needs to break free of what I call the “mood cycle”. Too often we come to the brink of breakthrough into a real outpouring, sensing the imminence of something wonderful that could change a church, a generation or a nation, only to have the enemy of our soul begin to whisper in our hearts and ears in order to sow heaviness. We then become captivated by moods, fall to discouragement that it didn’t happen on our timeline, and fail to press through in prayer. Breakthrough gets pushed back to another time and the cycle begins again. Wake up, body of Christ! Stop listening to any voice but that of the Master and choose a heart of perseverance.
I’d rather it was always easy. I’d rather just ride a wave of blessing that comes without real cost or effort, but there’s that word we don’t really like. Perseverance! It’s a word for grownups, for those who know what maturity means. Perseverance isn’t perseverance until you’re tired, discouraged, it’s taken too long, and you don’t want to do it anymore. That’s the most crucial part of the battle and those who do it get to win resounding victories in the kingdom of God.
We live in a very difficult period of history, a time of erosion of hope around the world, persecution of Christians, escalating violence, racial conflict, rampant deterioration of morals, and economic fears, among other things. Watch for accelerating turmoil in October, particularly around the election in the U.S. Paradoxically, these periods of history have been the seedbed of real revival. Study the dark spiritual state of society in the American colonies when the First Great Awakening broke out in Northampton, Massachusetts in the early 18th century. Or the immorality running rampant when the Haystack Revival erupted in 1806 as five students cried out for a move of God on their university campus in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
No matter what we feel, what we sense in the culture around us, or think we see with our eyes, it’s time to realize that we were born for such a time as this and that our finest hour is upon us to shine brightly in the darkness. We will make a difference. We will win.
I believe that we live quite literally in the time of Revelation 8:3-5: “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”
If we will persevere in prayer, regardless of moods and feelings, listening only to the voice of Jesus, rather than to the world around us or even our own feelings, our prayers will be magnified in heaven in this season as they mix with the smoke of the incense rising from the heavenly altar of incense. In response, fire will fall and revival will be loosed.
Never stop. Never give up. Never let go. God is coming in power!