Over the years there have been countless prophecies given that have foretold of an unprecedented move of God that will sweep across the earth in our generation. According to these prophecies, this move of God will bring revival to the church and salvation to the world, thus reaping the final harvest of souls before the end of time as we know it. Some believers have embraced these prophecies only to become discouraged as year after year goes by without seeing them fulfilled. Others have given up on the hope of revival altogether because they consider the current condition of the church and the world to be just the way that it is. Still others have adopted a utopian mindset that convinces them that they are already living in revival, when in reality they are only “ankle deep in the river.” (Ezekiel 47:3)
But if you are like me, there is something deep inside of you that still believes that God is going to do something great in our day! Despite the disappointment of fallen leaders, the despair of offenses and the discouragement of trials and tribulations, you can’t find it in you to throw in the towel just yet. Something in your spirit cries out for more of God, for a move of His Spirit in your life that you have never experienced before! You know that God wants to send revival because it is His nature to restore. And you can’t help but believe that this can happen today because both Scripture and church history tell us that He has done it before. But circumstantial evidence has made it difficult for us to really believe that things will turn around when they have been moving in the wrong direction for so long.
But many wait for God to pour out His Spirit while they go through the motions of church life as usual. They just go with the flow of their spiritual experience in the midst of a world system that is bent against God and His church, wondering if things will ever get better. They keep waiting while looking for “signs of the times,” hoping that God will either come on the scene of human affairs or rescue us from impending judgment. They continue waiting for God to move while they watch their spiritual lives deteriorate and their vision for the future evaporate. What is wrong with this picture?
The problem is that the American church as a whole has been doing the wrong kind of waiting. In Isaiah 40:28-31, the Word says that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” So we can conclude that if our strength is not being renewed by our waiting on the Lord, then something must be wrong with the way we are waiting. Certainly, God has not run out of strength to give His people. And I’m sure that He is still able to fulfill His promises. So the problem must be on our end.
The Hebrew word for waiting actually has a 3-fold meaning. It means to actively serve, to expect and to join together. The first meaning is best understood with the analogy of a waitress in a restaurant. A good waitress waits on her customers by being very attentive to their every need. She listens closely to what they say so she can make sure that they get what they want. She will make sure that her customers feel completely welcome in the restaurant environment and she will do whatever is necessary to make things right. Ultimately, she wants to please her customers in every way so she will receive a nice tip. This is how we are to “wait upon the Lord!” We spend time in His presence so we can hear His voice. Upon hearing His word for our lives, we can then process His order by being doers of the Word. And if there is anything in the environment of our lives that displeases Him, then we should be quick to repent and make things right. After all, we are His servants, right?
The second part of waiting upon the Lord is to expect. This implies that we are to have faith in God’s ability to do a thing. The first aspect of waiting involves our active service for the Lord whereas the second part involves our trust that God will do what only He can do. But even this expecting is not passive. Because of our faith in God’s promises, we should give voice to His Word through praise, prayer, prophecy and preaching. And at times, our faith requires that we make decisions in life that are in line with His plan for us. After all, faith without works is dead, right?
The third aspect of waiting upon the Lord is that of joining together. This speaks of the intimacy of our relationship with the Lord. It involves true heart-felt worship, a spirit to Spirit communion that will be a place of exchange: our will for His will, our thoughts for His thoughts, our emotions for His emotions. It is here that we receive everything we need from the Lord. The strength to do what God wants us to do is received as our spirits touch the heart of God with true worship, sincere faith-filled prayer and positive confessions that are a result of agreeing with God’s Word for our lives.
Are you getting a better picture of what it truly means to wait on the Lord? It is a far cry from the passive activity that it has become in much of the church today, where we expect God to do for us what He has already told us to do. We expect God to fulfill His promises without meeting the conditions He gave us. We expect God to bless us but we won’t let Him change us. We wait for God to drop revival out of the sky while we live our lives in pursuit of our own pleasure. The last time I checked, we were created for His pleasure! Simply put, it takes our cooperation to see God’s Word come to pass in our lives. That’s what a relationship is all about!
God wants to supply all of our needs, but we must seek His kingdom first. God wants to heal our land, but we must first humble ourselves, pray and repent of our wicked ways. God wants to give you a greater measure of His anointing, but you must first be faithful with what you have already received. What I am saying is that God will not release the final outpouring of His Spirit that we have all been waiting for without our spiritual hunger for more of God and radical obedience to His Word! God will not bless our mess! The blessing is released upon our obedience to His Word and our faith in His power. When God’s will truly becomes your highest priority, then you will find yourself moving deeper and deeper into the depths of the river of God, which will take you to the place you’ve only dreamed of, a place that cannot be achieved by human effort.
When you truly connect with God, you will receive strength from His presence. And if you walk in the strength He gives you, He will give you the strength to run. And if you run in the strength He gives you, He will then give you the strength to fly! (Isaiah 40:31) Do you see the progression here? If you respond to what you have received, God will increase your capacity to flow in the Spirit. But if you allow the waters within you to become stagnant, then you will become faint and in need of revival. God wants us to be in a constant state of renewal, not because we consistently become spiritually dry, but because we are constantly being changed from glory to glory! Sure, we all have times in our lives when we go through desert places, but Isaiah 43:19 says that He will “open rivers in the desert” for you if you pursue Him at all times. Desert places are not the norm for those who continuously seek Him. They are the norm for those who wait for God to do what He has already told us to do. If you want to experience the depths of God’s Spirit and be a part of this next move of God, then your occasional pursuit of the Lord has got to shift to a relentless surrender to His will. Then and only then will you experience the river that Ezekiel prophesied about in Ezekiel 47:1-9, which started out ankle deep and ended up being “a river that could not be crossed!”
I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that God has already poured out his Spirit and He is already moving in the earth today. The river is rising and gaining momentum. And you can be a part of this move of God by truly waiting upon the Lord! So as you step into the river, just go with the flow. Let the Spirit of God take complete control of your life. He lives inside of you for a reason. Don’t neglect Him only to pursue your own happiness in this life. He is the River that flows from the throne of God in Revelation 22:1! He is the River that causes everything in its path to live, according to Ezekiel 47:9! He is waiting for you to welcome His continual ministry in your life! What are you waiting for?
The bad news is that if you neglect to pursue an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, you will miss out on this outpouring! The whole reason Jesus came to the earth 2000 years ago was to transform a religion that focused on external things into a relationship that focused on the internal work of the Spirit. So if you continue to go through the motions on the outside without developing a passion for God on the inside, then your experience in God will make you believe that the river of God is only ankle deep. What are you waiting for? Get in the River and Go with the Flow!