Exposure. Implosions. Explosion.
During the last few weeks of 2022 and coming into the new year, I heard those three words repeatedly in my spirit as I pushed through a season of travail over the complicity of sin in our nation, even by leaders in the Church. I believe the Lord was telling me:
1. There will be an “exposure” of hidden sin.
“And it will come about at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who are stagnant in spirit, who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good nor harm!’” (Zephaniah 1:12 NASB)
Judgment starts within the house of the Lord, and He wants to expose the hidden sins—the complacency, the compromise, the complicity to sin—in the Church. In many ways, we have become complicit to sin because we have compromised our convictions. When we break God’s laws, all other laws—natural, spiritual, and moral—are impacted. Romans 13:1-2 (TPT) speaks to us about the importance of submitting to these laws:
“Every person must submit to and support the authorities over him. For there can be no authority in the universe except by God’s appointment, which means that every authority that exists has been instituted by God. So, to resist authority is to resist the divine order of God, which results in severe consequences.”
Choices always have consequences; our private choices even have public consequences. I sense God is about to expose many things that are being done in secret, because there is so much compromise in His Church.
Proverbs 13:6 (TPT) says: “Righteousness is like a shield of protection, guarding those who keep their integrity, but sin is the downfall of the wicked.”
God is exposing things, but exposure can also be positive. Ezekiel 9:4 (NKJV)shows us God also seeks out the righteous:
“…and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’”
Exposure is not just exposing the compromised, the complacent, or those who are complicit to sin. The
Lord, I believe, is also going to exposeor shed light on those who have not compromised.
2. There will be “implosions” of the kingdoms of this world.
Hebrews 12 tells us everything we put our security in will be shaken, except for that which cannot be shaken. We know the only unshakable kingdom is the Kingdom of our Lord. I sensed that
everything we put our trust in, the things that we lean on, will begin to fail us. We’ve already seen this happen quite a bit these last few years. We’ve put our hope in the kingdoms of this world! And every time we turn around, someone is letting us down.
The only One who will never let us down is the Lord. We must understand His laws—spiritual, biblical, universal—so we can then honor moral law and natural law. We cannot do that without first seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, so that all these other things will be set in order.
3. There will be an “explosion” of God’s presence.
The third word I kept hearing was “explosion.” But here’s the good news:
It wasn’t an explosion in a negative way. I sensed that, when the worldly systems we lean on begin to implode and God exposes the hearts of men, both evil and good, there will be an explosion of the manifestation of His presence!
God is about to do something much like He’s done in history past. Some of the most pressurized, difficult moments in history were the very same times He moved greatly. There will be an explosion of God’s presence on those who humble their hearts before Him and receive a fresh revelation of the Work of the Cross and the Power of the Resurrection. We are already seeing signs of this at Asbury College and other locations.
A CLEAN HEART
On January 17, I was continuing in travail over the burden I had for complicity of sin. Throughout the night, I just couldn’t get that agony out of my heart as I was interceding. I was lying in bed, unable to sleep, when an old Keith Green song from Psalm 51, came to mind. As I listened to the lyrics again, I began to weep:
Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and renew a right spirit within me.
That night, I listened to that song over and over until there was a breakthrough. In the midst of my agony and travail, through tears of release and freedom, the Lord reminded me our hope lies not in the institutions of men but in leaning on Him. And it starts with us.
In the midst of the reforms of Josiah, God spoke through Jeremiah and Zephaniah and said you cannot bring lasting change until you first deal with inward corruption of the heart. I can’t deal with the issues around me until I deal with my own heart first. I must make sure my posture before God is contrite. Then He can create a clean heart in me so I can say, “Father, be glorified in all that I do, say, and think.”
That’s what I want to see happen every day in my life. And it isn’t easy! My flesh constantly wars against the Spirit. But I know I have the Spirit of God living inside of me and I’m the temple of the Holy Spirit, just as you are, if you call upon the name of the Lord.
It’s by His abounding, great, and amazing grace that we can walk in the fullness of His Godhead bodily and the fullness of His purposes in our lives. We’ll never have all the answers. We will never be perfected by ourselves. But He who is perfect does the perfecting work in and through us. It’s by Him that lives are changed.
Winkie Pratney says that rather than praying for revival, we should pray to the Revival-Giver. It’s so true. If we align our hearts with the Lord’s heart and allow Him to shed His light on us so that we become lovers of truth again, we will be repulsed by sin and compromise. We will truly say, “God, do whatever you need to do in me so you can work through me.”
When we become desperate and passionate for God, we will no longer lean on institutional and worldly things that seem to bring us pleasure, security, hope, and joy. When we recognize our only hope is in the hope of glory, Christ Jesus, we will be eager to share that hope to the world around us.
As Matthew 5:16 tells us, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and bring glory to your Father in heaven.”
WHO DO YOU CHOOSE?
The late Bible teacher Derek Prince wrote a book called, The Beast or The Lamb: Discerning the Nature That Determines Your Destiny. What an appropriate title for a time such as this! The summary on the back cover says:
“Our ancient enemy is cunning, and his subtle deceptions can infiltrate an unsuspecting heart—and church. When we don’t know or take seriously the daily relevance of the Bible’s teaching on satan and the end times, we can unwittingly get swept up in his schemes…
“Today and in the days ahead, a destiny-determining choice lies before you: Will you give in to the nature and deception of the Beast? Or will you stand firm in the nature of the Lamb, preparing yourself for the day He returns?”
We need this message now, even more than when he first wrote it decades ago!
I think of the Grammy Awards that just aired, with its blatant glorification of satan. During a program designed to acknowledge musicians and artists with incredible talent, we instead hear raucous applause for a tribute to the devil—while families across America were opening the windows of their children’s minds to the demonic.
Lucifer has always been a master of mesmerizing and entertaining. We cannot “choose the Lamb” while also choosing, by our silence, to be complicit in this type of demonic compromise in the name of entertainment or anything else.
We are in a very serious time. We can justify, excuse, or even try to legislate our compromises. But that doesn’t change the universal laws of God. When we try to change God, who cannot be changed, we move from under His covering and suffer the consequences. But when we come under the covering of the Lord, we find ourselves walking in the fullness of His blessings, His unmerited favor, and the supernatural peace, strength, and joy that the world cannot give or take away.
Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He is our joy unspeakable. He is the hope that gives us direction and vision. The world may offer us a lot of slick marketing campaigns, like we see when people market a product or promote a politician. It all sounds good, until the light of the truth exposes them.
COVERED BY THE BLOOD
If we sow in the Spirit, we reap in the Spirit. If we sow in the flesh, we reap according to the flesh. The world calls it karma: “What goes around comes around.” But it’s the Law of Reciprocity, and it comes out of Scripture:
“Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows in his flesh, will of the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will have the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV)
God told Jeremiah to speak words to the people, but He also said the people would be full of pride, hardened of heart, and would not listen! Can you imagine God telling you to go speak a word in season, knowing the people would reject it? But we see that today! We want the things of God, the favor of God, and the blessings of God, yet we do not want the full counsel of God. As Elijah said to the people of Israel:
“’How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.” (I Kings 18:21 NKJV)
I believe the Lord is speaking to all of us right now to come honestly before the throne of grace, the mercy seat of God. As we humble ourselves as living sacrifices on the altar of God, it might break us; but it also breaks the flesh off of us. Then God can do a deeper work in us so He can do a work through us.
If we continue to run from Him, putting on those proverbial fig leaves and hiding, we will find ourselves wanting and ultimately exposed in nakedness—spiritual nakedness. That’s why we need to understand the dangers of becoming complicit to sin, compromising our convictions, and ultimately becoming seared of conscience and losing our love of truth. When this happens, we are uncovered.
We need to be covered by the Lord. We need the great, amazing, and abounding grace of God to give us hope and a vision of destination and purpose in our lives.
This is not a time for us to be complicit to sin—whether sins of commission (proactively or overtly committing sin) or the sins of omission (knowing to do right but not doing it)—from living in complacency or compromise. If our nation’s broken cisterns and foundations are to be fixed, then we, the Church, must awaken our hearts and get back to our spiritual moorings and biblical principles. To compromise our convictions is to sell our birthright and spiritual inheritance, like Esau
did for a morsel of flesh.
In the book of Exodus, God told the people that, when the spirit of judgment came across the land, they were to stay indoors and under the covering of the blood of the Lamb on their doorposts. Today, this reminds us we are to stay under the covering of the Lord, the blood that was shed for us on the cross of Calvary, the Lamb of God that was slain before the foundations of the world.
THE SIDE OF THE LORD
With the advent of social media, it has become easier for many to express their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. We can give our two cents worth on every issue under the sun, yet at times we base those opinions on assumptions without facts, experience, or personal knowledge. Assumption, I was taught by the late Dr. Edwin Louis Cole, is the lowest form of knowledge.
There are times we can become so insulated from the crisis around us, the human suffering, and the needs of people, that we become indifferent. But we, as Christians, should be especially sensitive about how we express ourselves. Even in our strong disagreements, we can firmly and strongly disagree with others without being disrespectful and dishonoring.
Galatians 6:9-10 (NKJV) reminds us:
“Let us not grow weary while doing good. For in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are in the household of faith.”
Everyone can have an opinion, but God’s opinion is what matters. One of the biggest challenges in our society today is the lack of civility and character we display in our disagreements, even in the Church. I’ve never seen so many people who are so adamant and opinionated, politically and otherwise, that they allow their preferences to divide their families, their friendships, and even their churches. It’s painful, agonizing, and heartbreaking, especially from those representing Christ.
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’” (Joshua 5:13-15 NKJV)
God is no respecter of persons. His character, nature, word, and Spirit are unwavering. God is God, and we are not. It’s important for us to align our hearts with His, not to justify our actions or wants, according to the flesh. Just as the commander of the Lord’s Army said, we are here to represent the Lord.
THE SIMPLICITY OF THE GOSPEL
I went through those weeks of seeking God and hearing those words in my mind over and over and over again: Exposure. Implosions. Explosion.
Those weeks of agonizing and travailing, interceding and praying, processing about the season we’re coming into in 2023, all culminated on that one evening, in that moment where the breakthrough came and tears began to flow. But before that could happen, I had to offer myself fully to the Lord, so He would create in me, first, a clean heart.
God is about to pour out His Spirit, and I want to be humbly yielded to Him, rooted in Him, and sensitive to Him. When He speaks, I want to draw near to hear so I can move quickly to respond.
Yes, there will be an exposure of things done in darkness. It will reveal sin, but also shine a light on those who have not compromised. When the things we’ve leaned on and trusted in (the institutions of men) begin to implode around us, we will not walk in fear; instead, we will know that there’s about to be an explosion of the manifest presence of God!
May I encourage you today to return to the simplicity of the Gospel! Get back to that place of just being in love with the Lord, where you remember the joy of Your salvation. In that place, we can all walk in the fullness of His anointing, calling, and purposes in our generation.
Will we choose the Beast or the Lamb? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
You can listen to this message on A Word in Season with Doug Stringer & Friends, Episode 203. Available on your favorite podcast outlet.