Random Blog Clay Feet: April 05, 2008
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Saturday, April 05, 2008


I woke up just after 2:30 with the alarming thought that the false revivals in the last days will not only be that of emotionalism and false doctrines, but that the even more deceptive false revivals will look very pious and religious and fervent, but very much filled with the intensity of legalism that I grew up with. That will make it extremely difficult to resist because it will focus on perfection of character, Godliness, holy living and strict adherence to the standards of righteousness. These things are impossible to argue against without placing one's self on the wrong side of the logic from the get-go. So it will be assumed by default that this kind of revival is the true one as opposed to any other thinking or activity going on. This is the counterfeit that will be so convincing and compelling because it appears to have all its ducks in the right order and is enjoying the power of heaven.

This will be presented to be in contrast to other false revivals where there is much display and focus on emotions, feelings and outward attractions and entertainment. Even today both of these camps tend to point to the other as the justification for what they choose to focus on and both use the Bible to defend their positions. Anyone not agreeing with their viewpoint is considered in the enemy camp and is likely outside of salvation. This logic is all too familiar to me, but what is very unfamiliar is what the real revival will look like.

I sense that God is slowly trying to get me to become familiar with the true attributes of the genuine revival so that I will not be deceived and distracted by compelling counterfeits or when it is time to embrace it fully. But even more and beyond knowing some of the subtle differences between the true and the false, I must have the right spirit within me and most of all a right concept of God or there will be no way that I can avoid deception from one side or the other. Both sides specialize in focusing on one assumed side of God's attributes while discounting other's which is why both sides are so dangerously unbalanced. But the true is not a mingling of the right percentages of both sides to achieve equilibrium, the true is going to be, I believe, something of a completely new nature that is not easily defined with the measurements we are used to using.

We have always gaged the truth of a belief system or a group's experience by almost exclusively measuring the externals with what we believe we see in the Bible. That is not all wrong or bad but because it is so filtered through our pre-conceived paradigms and cultural prejudices and because we usually don't have enough of the sweet Spirit of Jesus and a right picture of God in our hearts, we end up judging by our own internal standards instead of allowing judgment to take place spontaneously by waiting for the natural exposure that always occurs when God shows up.

There is simply no way we can accurately judge anyone or any revival without first having major corrections to our perceptions of what God is like. The nature of any revival will simply reflect the beliefs about God that are held in the minds and hearts of those indulging in whatever style of revival endorses those beliefs. If we want to believe in a permissive God that is tolerant of sin in our lives and willing to indulge us for eternity half-perfected or coerced into perfection, then we will focus on doing whatever we can to excite our emotions through any means possible to create the God we want to worship.

If, on the other hand, we believe in a stern God who is very demanding, exacting and unpredictably sometimes harsh and that we are certain is someday going to run out of patience with sinners and exact revenge on them in terrible assaults of pain and torture to satisfy His justice, then we will promote fear and dread as the best motivations to whip up emotions to cause conformity and control among ourselves in the name of inducing perfection at any cost. We will dwell on the terrors of the last days as a means of frightening ourselves and those around us away from any displays of emotion and will cultivate a paranoia against anything that makes us feel too good so that we can avoid becoming tainted with the deceptions of the other camp. Our joy will be forced, our unity dictated and manipulated and our enthusiasm will be mingled with a fervor for fear and foreboding. We will necessarily use redefined religious words so that they fit nicely with what we are experiencing.

Of course, we will not know we are redefining our words because we have been doing that all of our lives already. Anyone who dares challenge our assumed meanings for words or texts will be viewed with deep suspicion at best and considered a threat to our purity and unity. Emotions too, will be considered a threat that must be repulsed and stifled at all cost so that we can perfect ourselves into the stern image of the God that we have created and worship.

Both of these camps contain much truth that has been argued endlessly for centuries against each other. But both camps also have left out important understandings about the true nature of God that has left them inadequate to bring about the kind of transformations that God intends to accomplish in the real revival and refreshing that He is going to bring. But to achieve justification for their beliefs about God each side will become more and more adamant and even militant in their defense and promotion of their views in antagonism against the other until the animosity on both sides breaks into war. But ironically both sides share many of the same lies about God's character and personality that keep them entrenched in a blindness that will prevent them from entering into real grace if they are unwilling to reconsider their fundamental assumptions and paradigms and allow God to reveal the real truth about Himself, addressing the deepest longings of their hearts.

What is certainly not so clear to me at this point is what the true revival will look like. I sense that some vague truths and important points are starting to emerge in my heart and mind but since it has so seldom been observed in this world there is very little to measure it against. But there are a few things that I am starting to feel more aware of that I believe will be hallmarks of a true revival.

For one thing, there will be much more focus in the lives of anyone involved in true revival on the glory of God rather than on their own feelings, beliefs or even perfection. I believe that a true follower of Jesus will realize acutely that they are only a mirror and as such there is no way they can ever for one second live in righteousness without constant reception and reflection of a true picture of God. One of the fateful flaws that I think is emerging in the conservative camp is the belief that someday we will have to live in a self-contained perfection developed through hard, stern struggles against external sin in our life until we have repressed all our evil desires enough to eliminate or at least consistently control them. They believe we will be required to live for a period of time on our own perfection because it has been clearly stated that our Intercessor will no longer intercede for us in the presence of the Father and we will have to live in a perfection and holiness without Him making up the differences between our righteousness and His.

While there is technically some truth in this belief, again it engenders a spirit of self-dependence and fear and much self-focus. It does not recognize that we are only mirrors but somehow believes that for a period of time we have to be originators of righteousness, even if we believe that we achieved it with help from God. With this spirit we are compelled to work very hard on outward perfection of appearances and strict control of our emotions and thoughts so as to please a very demanding, strict God who is waiting for a people to perfect themselves so He can take them to heaven. Since sin is viewed as external violations of rules and laws, then to eliminate sin from our lives means much striving to conform ourselves to the most strict understandings of that law. Of course to try to accommodate much in the Bible that indicates other facets of grace we are taught that we must utilize God's help and power in some way or other to accomplish this task. But the primary focus is always on perfection of behavior, speech and strict thought control. The intensity and fervor with which this is carried out will appear to be how much we are experiencing revival.

But I believe that true revival will be found in those who realize the futility of going about trying to establish their own righteousness, even with a lot of help from God, and spend their energy and attention deepening their hearts into an intimate relationship with God's heart and constantly learning more and more truth about His goodness, His faithfulness, His kindness that leads them to repentance, etc. And as they focus more and more exclusively on God and the true glory of God becomes more and more evident to their hearts, they will simply reflect that glory in natural and spontaneous outflows of righteous living that will surprise even themselves if they can even see it. They will not be obsessed with their own perfection nearly as much as they will become totally enamored with the perfection of the beauty and attractiveness of God.

Because they are not self-focused, either on attempting to perfect their outward behavior or to look to emotionalism to satisfy their deepest cravings, they will be free to enjoy the intense emotions of God without fear or guilt or shame, at least from Him. They will be entering into a whole new dimension of living and reality that will appear to be rigid and law-based by the one camp and dangerously emotional and fanatical by the other camp.

But they will not achieve this by working hard to change their life or by entertaining themselves into bliss, but by unlocking every compartment of their hearts and minds to the refreshing, cleansing, life-giving presence of the One who loves them with a passion they have never imagined before. Their fears, shame and pain will be swallowed up in fresh revelations of His love, forgiveness and purity. They will learn to be led by the true Spirit and will live with God's real presence burning like a fire in their bones. They will begin tasting what it really means to enter into the joy of the Lord.

Father, I am only scratching the surface of what I think You have in store for us. I feel that I have only vague inklings of what a true revival is going to be, but I want to be a part of it. Please keep me from deceptions both on the right and the left of what You want me to truly experience. I want to enter into the genuine joy that You created my heart to experience and I don't want to settle for any cheap imitations or be intimidated by any fear-based theology that demands conformance. I choose to keep looking to You for a transformation of heart instead of being squeezed into someone's mold. I want to be freed from all the fears and lies and triggers that are embedded in my heart instead of masking them over with pleasure or denial. Fill me with Your light of love and truth today.

Please give me glasses made in heaven so I can see reality and others around me the way You do. Please give me hearing aids manufactured by angels so that I can more clearly hear Your still, small voice on a continual basis. Please sensitize my fingers, my lips – all of my senses to feel what You feel, to sense what You value and to become more alive with the abundant life that You promised to give to me. Fill me with Your sweetness, fresh revelations of Your goodness and more capacity to appreciate Your perfect kindness. Help me to realize the danger of denying the truth about You and the fatal consequences of unwillingness to be brought into perfect synchronization with Your heart, not because you will punish me but because it is inevitable from close encounters with You. I choose to allow You to align me with the powerful forces of life through submission to Your loving discipline and mentoring. Make me one of Your successful experiments of grace for Your reputation's sake.