I'm spending a lot of time writing at the moment, about being 'awakened'. It's a journey many of us have been through, some of us are in the middle of, and some long for. Some don't even know this journey is available to them! Being 'awakened' is the process of 'waking up' spiritually, to who we are, what our purpose is, and how God wants to partner with us.
When we are awakened, everything about us changes – our stance changes and our outlook changes. The position of our hearts change and our spiritual posture towards the day changes. This is what I want to write about today.
Imagine a person trying to go against the flow during London’s rush hour. Imagine them getting tossed about, carried by the flow of people all pushing to get onto the tube. This person is an example of our sleepy state, pre-wake up. We may try and walk in the opposite direction, but we’re not really strong enough or alert enough to get past. We get jostled and shoved in the direction of the majority.
So many of us are in this position. Our voice is stifled by the growing volume of the world, and often also, unfortunately, the church. We are so quick to betray our authenticity in order to conform to the box we’re surrounded by. When we have our voices and strength sapped from us often enough, many of us just allow our uniqueness to be extinguished, and we become another shade of grey, amidst the thousands of others out there.
When we are awakened, suddenly a warrior rises up in us. Our position becomes more intentional, our feet are poised for holding ground. We are not easily swayed, we are alert and we don’t allow ourselves to be moved by oncoming traffic and pressures. It becomes clear to us that our voice is highly valuable, and we learn that while we may need to craft how we communicate, what we have to say is our gift. Our authentic, unique voice is one of our gifts.
We have a heightened sense of attack, God’s Spirit in us opens our eyes to the activity that goes on in the unseen, making us able to prepare for attacks and pressures before they arrive. This gives us an opportunity to use God’s full armour (Eph 6), and not only hold ground that we’re standing on, but to take NEW ground.
Taking new ground is something that can appear scary to us, like it involves becoming Wonder Woman or Superman. We look at our lives and think that we have been through so much and haven’t got the energy to move forwards anymore.
When we are awakened, we start to see how the seasons we’ve walked through, the tests, the fires and the trials that we’ve faced, are all part of our training. Those smaller valleys and hills we’ve endured were preparation for mountains and gorges that God wants us to take for his kingdom.
When Joshua took Jericho, he didn’t do it from a command centre, through comms, with other people’s boots on the ground. You cannot conquer ground you haven’t walked. It is by walking through things that enables you to conquer it, but not only that, it makes you able to navigate others through the landmines and dangers of that land.
In the kingdom of God, nothing is wasted, and nothing is selfish. When we have put on the armour of God and stand our ground, it’s sometimes the right thing to turn around and see how far he’s brought you. Sometimes there may be people behind you who need a helping hand with exactly the thing you’ve just been through. Sometimes you look ahead and realise that the hill you’ve just conquered wasn’t Mt Everest after all, but what you’ve learned along the way will help you on your next quest.
Stepping out and taking new ground requires obedience, determination, persistence in prayer and a grit to be able to stick to what you’ve heard God say. Joshua didn’t waver in his battle plan of marching around Jericho seven times. Not a single arrow was fired, or sword wielded, not even a shout was made, they obeyed, they were determined, and they silently prayed persistently as they walked.
Sometimes we need to identify what our posture is, or has been, and adjust it. Maybe we are aware that we've been functioning in a 'half asleep' state. Maybe it's time to reallign our posture, to intentionally put on the armour, dig our heels in and walk the land that God has asked us to conquor.