“In 1982 in Cairo, Egypt, the Lord spoke to me about the end-time outpouring of the Spirit…The Spirit said, “I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity on earth in one generation.” What I got from that is that the Father will change the understanding of Christianity and the way unbelievers view the church. They will witness God’s glorious yet terrifying power through God’s people. God will change the way the Church expresses His life, with power demonstrations backed by holy love.” Mike Bickle (Founder of International House of Prayer – Kansas City)
I happened upon this prophetic word not too long ago. I was stunned! I said to myself, “This has been happening to me!” And whether we’ve realized it or not, for the last 30 years, God has been raising a new breed that have the heart of the Father like Jesus did. And so what is this shift all about?
It seems to me that the Christian experience is perceived by many in such a way that we pursue the results instead of the cause. What do I mean by this? The results being what the Bible tells us to do; the cause being the experiential transforming love of God. I know when I gave my heart to Jesus in 1978, the first thing I did was get a Bible and began this absurd journey in attempting to obey what it said. After all, my heart wanted to obey it. My heart was free. I felt the initial grace and love of God that comes with repentance and salvation. I loved everybody! I was free! But, after awhile, it all just led me on an endless hamster wheel of frustration, feeling really good, followed by more frustration, victories followed by defeat, and usually ending in burn out. And as much as I loved Jesus, I was not free, which just added another layer of frustration because I knew enough to know that freedom is exactly why He came. So I asked, “What’s wrong with this picture!” The words, “a lot!” came echoing back in my soul. Then the shift…
So, how do I see this shift in our understanding of Christianity taking place? To me, it’s a change in perspective from performance to intimacy. At the risk of being disrespectful by using this analogy with God, we have gotten the proverbial “cart before the horse” and God is getting it switched around. Now, God is not a horse, but my point is, are we seeking to obey God without knowing His heart and knowing who we are in His heart?
The shift begins with being able to open our heart by first receiving God love for us so we can love Him back (1 Jn.4:19). I used to try to love God. Can I tell you that this is an exercise in futility! I can only love Him, or anyone at all, to the degree that I first receive love from God. As Paul tried to tell us, without this we have nothing (1 Cor.13). And I have found that you cannot give something away that you have not first received for yourself. This is what Peter found out (Jn.21:17), but that is another vast subject that will need to be explored another time.
The shift is in us re-evaluating spiritual maturity. It’s not about how much we know about God, or what we “don’t do anymore” in our sin-obsessed Church culture, but by our growing capacity to receive God’s overwhelming, outrageous love, which causes us to love Him back with as much abandon as we can muster, resulting in us recklessly inviting others into this intoxicating dance. THAT’S IT! That’s FREEDOM!
What I am saying is that I have been, and am being, “shifted” by God! In both my view of my relationship with Him and in how I see others through Him. My Christian worldview has been turned upside-down. I cannot read the Bible the same way I did as a devoted but orphan-hearted Christian most of my thirty-something years with God. It’s good to have my “horse” in front! Not that I changed in my identity and purpose, but I am beginning to understand my identity and purpose.
We’ll probably talk more about this later. In the meantime, have a happy shift!