How to Experience Continual Spiritual Awakening

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A sermon idea, based on Romans 13:8-14.

Spiritual awakening is more than a one-time occurrence – it’s a daily lifestyle we develop as we love our neighbors, leave the darkness behind, and live in the light of Christ.

Romans 13:8-14 NRSV

[8] Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. [9] The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” [10] Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

[11] Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; [12] the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; [13] let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. [14] Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

We sometimes use the term “spiritual awakening” to refer to historical moments in our culture in which a large number of people experienced Spirit-led revival and renewal. Or we use the phrase to describe a single moment of salvation, baptism, or rededication.

But spiritual awakening can be more than a moment; it can be a lifestyle. And it can be more than a personal, individual experience with God in mystical terms. Spiritual awakening can be a process whereby, over time, we leave behind the old life, the old us, and the old nature and put on the life of Christ instead.

Paul is still in the part of Romans where he’s giving us the “therefore” that flows out of the gospel. What the good news of Jesus makes possible is a life lived in continual spiritual awakening, and Paul gets practical with three ways we do that.

1. Love all of your neighbors.

Paul begins by echoing Jesus’ teaching about the law being summarized in this one beautiful command to love all of our neighbors. You can’t do harm to people when you’re truly loving them the way God does.

Adultery, theft, and even covetousness all cause harm to people, so love is choosing to place the health, holiness, and wholeness of other people high enough in our priorities that we are willing to love them no matter who they are.

2. Leave the darkness behind.

Many of us grew up in movements that sought to define darkness in terms of certain practices, but darkness is more intimate than that. We’ve experienced seasons in which we weren’t outwardly doing anything that would be deemed sinful behavior by others, but we knew deep down we were in an unhealthy, unholy place.

This darkness of rebellion is what we must leave behind if we are to experience true awakening. We can’t remain in places of anger, selfishness, and deception if we are going to experience the fullness of God at work in our lives.

3. Live in the light of Christ.

And finally, Paul tells us to “put on the armor of light.” That is, we should continually walk through life wide open to however God may want to lead us, wherever he may want to take us, and whatever he may want to change about us.

In light of the times in which we live – post-cross, in the current age of gospel enlightenment – we should wake up and remain alert to God’s desire to work among us.


Photo by Eric Masur on Unsplash.

Romans for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Misused, Problematic and Prooftexted Letter in the Bible (The Bible for Normal People Book Series 4)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kirk, J. R. Daniel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 212 Pages - 11/01/2022 (Publication Date) - The Bible for Normal People (Publisher)

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