From Vision to Activation

Until love is awakened, our spirits slumber. Although we begin to envision a lifestyle of reckless abandon for God – that is all we have at first – a vision. A thing is dreamt about before it is realized. Conceptualized, before it comes into being. Each new level of experiential divine intimacy is preceded at first by a process of pondering and envisioning. At this point in our study, the Beloved has still not moved from a place of vision to activation in this relationship – from conceptualization to actually taking hold of its fullness:

My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” (Song 2:10-13)

There is a very real call to arise and take hold of our destiny. That destiny consists of habitation with the Lord. But notice that the Beloved is reiterating an earlier conversation with the Lord here:

My lover spoke and said …

This is not the Lord speaking, present tense. She is remembering the vision – this is a rehearsal of things formerly told to her. Perhaps a remembrance of past prophecies given. She is still familiarizing herself with the call to “arise.” To awaken. She is still in a place of pondering the vision. We must understand that throughout life, we are called to hold onto certain words and visions for a necessary time of pondering and processing. When the angels, shepherds and wise men came to Jesus’ birth, there were great signs in the heavens accompanied by profound prophecies. But Mary did not understand it all at first. Scripture tells us that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19).

It is important that we do not cut short the pondering process. The season of meditation on what has been spoken, and envisioning things to come. As with Joseph, the word of the Lord first had to test him for a season, until those things which had been spoken over him came to pass. There is an element of God’s timing at work here. Do not awaken love until it so desires. Understand that, at this stage of the passage, the night season is still technically underway. There is a proclamation that “winter is past” and that the season of spring – the time of love – is at hand. But this is a prophetic statement. It is like Jesus saying “the child only sleeps,” when everyone else around can clearly see that she is dead.

The blossoming, the singing, the presence of the doves (habitation with God’s Spirit), all have their obvious connotations as a time of awakening and spiritual renewal. But inevitably, we have a part to play in bringing this spring season into being. God has already called the spring into being, but we have to arise to take hold of it. We cannot just ponder the vision forever. At some point, we have to appropriate and step out into the truth that has been spoken.

:: active resurrection ::

Awakening from the daydream into a manifestation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, is the very substance of resurrection power. The shadowy vision should always be trumped by the true substance of that vision, when it appears. Christ’s followers could hardly grasp what He meant in saying that He would be killed and rise from the dead. But when it happened, they were utterly amazed. We see through a glass darkly, but when He appears in our midst, He will blow away the befuddled, childish concepts to which we once clinged.

We must step forward from the vision to the reality. We must see our destiny on the horizon, and begin to position ourselves for it. That is how we literally bring the future into the present. But you cannot make resurrection power happen. It is God that pulls you up from the dead. God who awakens you. This is a fine dance between His sovereignty and our free-will responsiveness. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. There is a season of waiting and pondering on what He will do, but eventually, we have to step out into the realm of faith and doing ourselves. In this sense, we allow Him to do through us.

There is a clear call to position ourselves for resurrection power. To prepare ourselves for the King. The bridal call is to get ready for the Bridegroom.

:: supernatural preparation ::

How do we prepare ourselves for the King? Notice here in verse 13 that the trees are bearing early fruit. Fig trees speak of natural Israel. You may remember that Jesus cursed a fig tree at the time he cleansed the temple of the money changers and offended the Pharisees. In that passage, the fig tree was already in leaf, but it was still too early in the season for figs. It gave the appearance of bearing fruit, but it was not ready.

Even as natural Israel was not ready for her King, so the tree was not prepared for Jesus. Although it was early in the season, and by all natural expectancies should not have been ready for fruit – nevertheless, God calls us beyond our natural limitations. We do not just have permission to move beyond our natural limits – we have a responsibility to do so. When Jesus cursed the tree, He told His disciples:

Have faith in God. … I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him (Lk. 11:22-23)

Jesus was speaking very literally here.

Natural limits are no excuse for the people of God. We have settled for a very low standard – a very weak level of faith – and built up a set of excusing doctrines for it. Even as Jesus has prophetically called your spring season into being, so must you actively learn to call it into being. We have been waiting on Jesus to move our mountains, but He has been waiting on us to do it with the Spirit and the Word. Does this sound too much like a “Word of Faith” teaching? So be it. That’s what it is. We like to get comfortable with our mountains and our winters and our night seasons. But God wants us to bound over them, cast them into the sea, and make them a place of new wine and holy revelry. Level the path and make straight the way for the Lord – not for our own selfishness, but for His glory.

The church is too comfortable with its dead, natural limitations. With waiting on God to move, but never exercising the divine authority that has already been given to us. Like Moses at the Red Sea, we are begging God to act, but He asks, “Why are you crying out to me? Stretch out your own rod, your own authority.” The Kingdom of Heaven dwells within us. It is springtime, abiding time, revival time, whenever we choose to turn our gaze in that direction and declare that it is so.

It is one thing to pray for revival. It is another thing to make revival happen. It is time to make the prophetic decree that revival has already come. The church is not dead, “she is only asleep.”

There is now a call to wake up. To take hold of the destiny and the lifestyle of intimacy with God’s presence that we have always dreamed about. Waking up means putting our vision into motion. Everything is still and predicated at the tomb. There is nothing to write home about. For too long, we have enshrined that place, with a false glorification of self-death. The lifeless place of “nothing happening to the glory of God.” Dead stillness has the appearance of holiness. But the point of the Christian walk is not for me to “decrease,” but for Him to “increase.” His increase is the ultimate agenda, and my decrease is only a natural byproduct. Much of what we have claimed to be “death to self” has actually been bowing the knee to a religious spirit and actually has strengthened the fleshly nature. True death to self should result in resurrection power, life and fullness.

We will know resurrection life by its fruit. It is living, moving and active. Its movements are like Elijah’s – unpredictable and beyond human comprehension (1 Kings 18:12). It swims against the stream. It is marked by the spontaneity of desire.

We have set up camp at the tomb, but Jesus is now removing our grave clothes. He is waking us up, not just to visions of hope, but to the substance of things hoped for. He is saying “Arise, my darling … come with me.”

John Crowder, 6/8/2005 1