Thursday, Spiritual Awakening in Houston
2 Corinthians 3:16-18
Affluent, international, diverse, prosperous, growing… do these city-wide characteristics sound familiar? The Houston church is not that far removed from the Corinthian church’s experience close to 2,000 years ago. Such a city only finds awakening and revelation through the Spirit’s moving and the saints’ work.
Paul reminds the saints at Corinth that because of Christ’s triumphant work, they now have direct access to the Holy one. And because of the Spirit’s work, they are now ministers of God’s glory to the city. Do you consider yourself the “aroma of Christ” (2:15) and a “letter delivered by Christ” (3:3)? Our brother Paul vividly points out to us that the awakening of the city comes through the saints who “spread the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2:14) and are “letters to be known and read by all” (3:2). What does this have to do with glory and freedom? Paul tells us that where the Spirit is, there is freedom (3:17).
We are in a city trapped by both extremes of prosperity and poverty, enlightenment and yet bondage. The spiritual awakening of this city happens as the Spirit stirs and moves the hearts of all those who have yet to hear and believe the Good News! Yet, that work goes hand-in-hand with the saints that have been placed in this city. As the saints are transformed into the image of Christ, from glory to glory, so too the city will be able to sense the “aroma” and read the every day “letters” sent their way.
My hope is that we are not just awakening to the same things- for that would mean we are falling asleep to the same things. Rather, I pray that we are waking up to new revelations and understandings of our God; to new manners in which we can engage the city; to new relationships we need to build with an unbelieving city! Through those fresh awakenings, we are able to go from “one degree of glory to another” to better bear Christ’s image to the city. As we do so, we will be like that pleasant smell of fresh bread you can’t but help enjoy, and like that beautiful letter you read over and over because of how it stirs your emotion and intellect.
As we pray for spiritual awakening in our city, let us pray for the boldness Paul speaks about in this chapter. Let us pray that as we become men and women who progressively bear Christ’s image to the city, we be men and women who can constantly remind this city of the Gospel and a need for a savior by bringing freedom through the glory revealed. Let us pray for awakening that is pointing out new redemptive work to be done. Let us pray to be people that seek the welfare of this city, and that through that redemptive work, the men and women God is drawing to Himself will be reached with the Gospel through the saints!
Father, we are but servants of your Gospel, ministers of reconciliation, the sweet aroma of Christ, and walking letters to this city. We pray for all of the souls in the city that do not yet know you. We pray that you would continue to awaken them to life, and that you would awaken us as your body to rise up with the boldness we have been granted through your Spirit’s empowerment. Let us be faithful to your call to make disciples, and in so doing, let the ears and hearts of those you are calling receive the Gospel your saints preach. Let us be saints full of the aroma of Christ, and letters full of the Word. Let us be a church that goes from glory to glory, and reveals your glory to this city! We pray that you would remove veils of bondage, and turn this city to you. Lord, awaken Houston to you.