There are some valuable lessons we can learn from the painful experiences of 2020. One lesson I hope we learned is the difference between a Spirit-empowered cultural reformation and one that is empowered by political and religious spirits.
A reformation empowered by political and religious spirits has as its end goal the establishment of a theocracy on earth – a forced outcome where the will of the yet-to-be-converted is forced into compliance to a preferred agenda. This is not something only those in the conservative camp attempt. Those who are liberal-leaning can also do this. The god in this reformation demands compliance with a worldview.
A reformation empowered by God’s Spirit is different and can be uncomfortable to those used to change taking place by forced compliance. This reformation has as its goal the flourishing of culture, believer and non-believer alike. The agents of this reformation are embedded in the various spheres of society where their one goal is to speak and live the truth in love as defined by Paul in Ephesians 4. Their mission is influence, not force. The God of this effort is a person, Jesus Christ who offers each person a choice of their will to follow Him or not.
Jesus asked twelve disciples to follow Him before they believed. He entrusted them with the authority to do the work of His ministry, some of it supernatural before their allegiance to Him was confirmed. One measure of true reformation will be the ability of reformers to work with those who are not yet convinced of all aspects of our faith and may never become convinced. We offer them the ability to belong before they believe.
This kind of Spirit-empowered reformation is from the bottom up, not the top down. It does some of its finest work when it appears those in control of the summits of social influence are not yet willing to accept a flourishing message of hope and goodness for all inspired by the love of God. Becoming this kind of reformer can cause concern and even anger among some in the Church who cannot see the power of an influence that cannot be measured by the prejudiced scales of human justice or a preferred election outcome.
God is raising a new assembly of apostles to carry this message of reformation. These men and women will become the change agents God will use to alter the destiny of individuals and nations for His glory. This is a powerful and world-changing time to be a follower of Jesus Christ.