As the first day of 2020 arrived, I found myself doing what I have always done for the last 40 years: seeking the Lord's word and focus for the coming year. This time, Jan. 1, 2020—something different happened.
As I prayed and listened—"Here am I, Lord, speak"—I began to have a deeper love for the body of Christ and felt impelled to write. What I received is a word for the body of Christ:
"See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them" (Isa. 42:9).
Just as the Lord proclaimed to Samuel the fulfillment of his prophecy concerning judgment of his leaders who were unfaithful and the establishment of faithful leaders over his house, so now He is coming to judge His church leaders. He will divinely remove the unfit and raise up His chosen prophets who know the signs of the times:
"This decade will see the shaking of all things in My church that can be shaken. Culture, politics, economics and social norms of the world system will be shaken off and removed from My church. What will remain is the pure light of faith and hope and love. Everything that is not founded in these three will be removed.
"My precious ones, do not kick at the goads. I advise you to buy gold (wisdom) refined by the coming fire.
"Here is the mystery of overcoming:
—First, love Me with all that is in you.
—Then lay aside every hope that can disappoint.
—Finally, hold to your faith that My plan for you will be completed.
"My church will burn brightly in the coming darkness—purified in the fire of My Spirit. This is the decade of a new horizon for My church."
As we continue to climb the mountain of His love, our spiritual ability to see the far horizon—God's purposes—is increased. Because we can better understand God's purposes, our faith and love are increased. Because our love and faith are increased, we move higher up the mountain of love. And because we are higher, a yet newer horizon again appears, and we see yet further!
After I received this word, I submitted it to my church pastors and they encouraged me by affirming the word. Then, I began a 21-day fast alongside our church and, during that time, sought the Lord for insight into this word. The following essay is the result:
In every society, the church of Jesus Christ is afflicted and limited by culture, politics, economics and social norms. To the extent that these are contrary to the kingdom of God, the church is limited in becoming the fully mature bride of Christ. Let's look at a few of these.
One definition of culture is the customary beliefs, social forms and material traits of a racial, religious, social group or organization.
There are more aspects to cultures than we can possibly identify now, but a few include:
Some aspects of cultures are antithetical to the kingdom and its principles and rule.
For example: competition. In the broken world we live in, competition is natural and ever-present. And there are benefits of this spirit to certain members of society. But not to all members. You see, some will win, some will lose. Some will gain, some will suffer loss. Some will be encouraged, some will be discouraged.
Competition is foreign to the kingdom of God and the mature body of Christ. Yet it is not uncommon for a church or a ministry to look at another as their "competition." But Ecclesiastes says that every labor and skill is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor.
This is vanity, and striving after wind. In the bride of Christ no one falls short; but rather, we encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak and are patient with all. There is no competition in the mature bride of Christ, as in heaven.
—Materialism is antithetical.
—Sensualism is antithetical.
—Violence is antithetical.
The Lord's purpose in the coming years and decade is to remove the ungodly aspects of culture that have enculturated the church.
By definition, politics is the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, including the debate between parties having power.
This is a broad umbrella that cannot be comprehensively discussed here. Let's take just one facet of politics—legislation. To the extent that laws enforce and encourage our looking out for the well-being of others, they are good in our broken society. But not all laws are just (acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good).
—Some are unjust.
—Some enforce discrimination.
—Some enforce favoritism.
—Some enforce bias.
—Some enforce lawlessness and evil.
And the judicial administration of laws often fails miserably.
Over half of the Psalms in the Bible speak emphatically of God and His people establishing true justice for all, free of corruption.
The Lord's purpose in the coming years and decade is to purify the hearts and minds of his people to walk and live in true justice—conforming to the divine perspective of justice rather than man's.
Macroeconomics deals with large-scale application of principles, while microeconomics deals with individual, small-scale applications.
Economics at the macro and micro levels affect each and every life every single day. Many economic principles that are accepted by society are inconsistent with the kingdom of God but have nevertheless been accepted by the church as the go-to standard of life.
There are too many of these to name, but consider a common one.
The notion of scarcity of resources is very common at both the macro and micro level of economic thinking and action. This is the idea that there is X amount of resources that must be somehow allocated amongst all. So if one entity or person gains an additional amount of resource, it is at the expense of another entity or person. The net sum is still only, and always, 100%. This mindset/stronghold is responsible for much greed, selfishness and self-seeking behaviors.
Once again, this is antithetical to the kingdom and His church—the bride of Christ. Throughout the Scriptures we hear the message of generosity:
"Give, and it will be given to you: Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will men [and God] give unto you" (Luke 6:38).
Indeed, the early church, which was a true reflection of the living church of God (Acts 2:42-45) claimed nothing as their own, but rather considered all things were shared as any may have need. The truth is there is no scarcity in the kingdom economy of the church and God pours out His abundance. But the notion of scarcity embedded in the church causes many, if not most, to hold on and accumulate whatever wealth they can build up and hang on to.
The Lord's purpose in the coming years and decade is to purify His people by shaking and destroying every false premise upon which the church believes and conducts its economic activities in the world.
First, let's define social norms:
Social norms (or mores) are the unwritten rules of behavior that are considered acceptable in a group or society. Norms function to provide order and predictability in society. On the whole, people want approval, they want to belong and those who do not follow the norms will suffer disapproval or may even be outcast from the group. Every society, of course, has their own unwritten but accepted norms and they vary by geography, racial and other distinguishers.
We'll just take one simple example.
Sometimes, in some areas or neighborhoods that are white and see several black families begin to move into the neighborhood, there may be the thought, Well, there goes the neighborhood.
This is a judgment and is antithetical to the mature body of Christ. Paul himself addresses such judgmental societal norms: "[They say] 'The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons!' This witness is true. So rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who reject the truth" (Titus 1:12-14).
The Lord's purpose in the coming years and decade is to sweep through His church and burn up in the refining fire every ungodly social norm it has come to accept and live by.
2020: A Decade of Refinement
The purging and purification that is coming to the body of Christ encompasses many, many such aspects of our lives that we currently consider as normative to Christianity.
But it's not.
This refining will affect and impact each and every one who considers and calls him/herself Christian.
Humility is the key virtue that will enable each person to be purified of all the worldly and ungodly aspects of their Christian walk. Then as the Lord intensifies the final shakings of His coming in the world we will truly be that light that the darkness cannot grasp and overcome.
And this brings us back to His instruction for all of us as this decade moves forward on a personal basis. Don't resist or "kick at the goads," trying to keep your Christianity unchanged alongside the strongholds you and I have always held dear.
"This is the mystery of overcoming through this shaking," says the Lord. "First, love Me with all that is in you. Then lay aside every hope that can disappoint. Finally, hold to your faith that My plan for you will be completed."
Louis Posthauer is the founder of Hunters of the Harvest, a ministry focused on equipping the local church to reach and restore dropout believers. Louis consults with pastors and church leaders to mobilize their congregation with a biblical strategy to reach the dropout believer. He serves as a lay leader and teacher at Calvary Community Church in Houston. To find out more about developing relationships of restoration with the Hunters strategy see more here.
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