Revival, or "Thy Kingdom Come!"?

I wonder, dear reader - are you aware of the history of awakenings of Christian enthusiasm during the last three hundred years of America's history?

I found a succinct and believable account of those awakenings in Wikipedia under the heading of "Great Awakening".  That article's initial summary is as follows:  "Historians and theologians identify three or four waves of increased religious enthusiasm occurring between the early 18th century and the late 19th century. Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations."

I have had the great privilege of experiencing some of the Fourth and Fifth revivals identified in that article, but I find no mention of the fact that a revival or awakening clearly presumes that there is a state of slumber or apostasy from which Christians were awakened or revived!

So, my intention on this page is to look at the causes of Christian spiritual slumber or apostasy in the hope that you, dear reader, might be challenged to evaluation your life in the light of God's calling for you, and to properly present the plan of God for mankind to you, dear reader, in the hope that you will be challenged to become all that you can become by the mercy and grace of God which are available to one and all!

First of all, then, my understanding of the overall plan of God for His creation is that He created the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, both visible and invisible, to know Him personally and to live together with Him eternally in perfect peace and joy and harmony.

Part of God's plan, and perhaps central to His plan for creation is that we are all to be bound to Him and to each other by His incredible love!  And part of love is freedom.  Love does not control, but it does seek and draw those who are loved.

As a result, God was not surprised when, as is succinctly expressed in a passage in the Bible book of Isaiah:

Isa_53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah [God] has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

So, we find all of mankind went astray from a personal knowledge of God.  As a result we live a physical and mental/emotional life without the spiritual life of God which only comes from His indwelling Spirit in a person.  Each person is born into this life of being astray from God, and God actively seeks anyone and everyone to come back to Him by recognizing that they are astray from Him, and that His plan for life in His kingdom is better than our best efforts of life astray from Him in our own little kingdoms.

To complicate matters, we really do have an invisible adversary who actively sows mayhem and hinders us from being fully reconciled to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The result of all of these factors is that those who do turn to God when they realize that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him still tend to go astray from Him as well as being subject to the interferences of our invisible adversary.  This, in my humble opinion, is the cause of spiritual slumber and apostasy.

I further believe that God allows this straying to happen so that we realize how inept we are at knowing Him and doing His will.  Otherwise He would simply slay the adversary, melt us all down with His incredible love, gently show us the truth about ourselves, and establish His kingdom in short order.  The trouble is that, if God did not show us clearly how apt we are to stray from Him, that we would do so quickly and His Kingdom would not last forever!!!

Therefore we have had about two thousand years since Jesus lived on this earth and showed us the Father, and taught us what we needed to know about God and His kingdom, to prove how quickly we stray from God and turn to our own ways.

But there is hope!  I believe that the end of this current age, which many call the 'church age' is close at hand, and that God will soon begin to pour out His Spirit in new and different ways to establish His Kingdom on earth with Jesus reigning from Jerusalem.  That, according to the Book of Revelation, will last a thousand years, and then another final apostasy will occur, after which there will be new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells forever.

From now on it will be clearly shown that Jesus was indeed right when He declared that:

Mat_16:25  For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.
Mar_8:35  For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, he shall save it.
Luk_9:24  For whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever will lose his life for My sake, he shall save it.
Luk_17:33  Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

Thus we come to the need for the crucified life for those who would accompany Jesus and join His kingdom.  The church has failed to proclaim this truth and God's provision for our spiritual death and resurrection in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ because the church has relied on its own understanding of what is recorded in the Bible instead of trusting God with our whole hearts.

The original disciples of Jesus had all the qualities which God desires.  They were untrained and unlearned, they didn't understand what He was teaching, but they trusted Him with their hearts instead of relying on their own understanding!  THey were imperfect and their imperfections have allowed a flood of slumber and apostasy to creek or flood into the body of Christ.  And yet this arrangement will not last forever, but will eventually (and hopefully quickly) be replaced by the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and ultimately by the rule of God over all.

I hope that this gives you a little food for thought, dear reader!!