This morning I caught this tweet by Dan Scavino, Donald Trump’s campaign manager. See if you notice the key phrase.
To punctuate the point, a second tweet came out a few minutes later, using the same phrase:
Did you catch the phrase?
‘It’s a movement.’
I don’t know how many weeks Trump and his campaign manager have been using the phrase ‘it’s a movement’. I only noticed it today, but I know Trump has been using it in his speeches for several weeks or months–yes, I’ve watched just about every one, I’m a fan, sorry–and I know why.
‘It’s a movement!’ is a remarkably effective phrase.
President Obama got into office using a similar phrase. I don’t know if he used this exact phrase, but ‘yes we can!’ started a ‘secular religion’ of sorts, which continues to this day, to a lesser degree (some followers have jumped off the wagon, but ‘true believers’ remain).
The word ‘movement’ is fascinating, because that is precisely the word Christian leaders use when they’re trying to create a culture, or change one. The other word for this is ‘revival’. They’re not directly interchangeable, but related.
Christian leaders want to start momentum with large groups of people, either to make more money for themselves or to actually create change in society. (Usually the former happens while trying to build the latter.) It’s why megachurches and stadium events like the recent Azusa Now are so popular. Whip the crowd into a frenzy, proclaim all sorts of ‘prophetic’ nonsense, and you have a recipe for success. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily a recipe for significant social change–American Christians are terrible at changing the culture. These folks–and I used to be one of them–think that going to church, praying more, and going to huge stadium events and ‘prophetic’ conferences will start a movement and a worldwide revival.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t think we’re in for another ‘Great Awakening’ any time soon. Why? Because a great awakening is happening right now, already–you just can’t see it.
Where is this awakening happening? Just stay with me a moment.
I suspect–and this is not prophecy, but a hunch–that a good many Christians have become disenchanted with the prophetic movement, from always looking for revival and the Second Coming and never actually seeing it. Some are falling off into atheism, some are still at the point of crisis, and some have retreated. The disappointment becomes harder and harder to suppress.
Christian leaders are finding it more and more difficult to get crowds to take the bait. Why? There’s only so many times you can prophesy good fortune and blessings, which never happen, or never happen to the degree prophesied, before doubt sets in.
I suspect that this is deliberate on the part of the Holy Spirit, who is forever weaning us off our reliance upon humans and onto himself.
Because movements and revivals fail.
God’s love never fails.
The Holy Spirit is turning us inward, to see ‘Christ in me, the hope of glory.’ We will forever be disappointed if we keep looking for ‘God out there’ or ‘God up there’. Once we find ‘God in here‘, that opens the door to eternal satisfaction. Not eternal happiness–it’s not possible to be happy all the time, no matter what your peppy, charismatic leader tells you–but peace and contentment, the true fruit of a heart changed.
That’s the result of a successful Christian movement: not endless action without, but the small action of turning to Christ within. It almost seems too simple, too mystical, too ethereal, but that’s what is happening now.
Turning inward, to hear the voice of God, to sense the Holy Spirit’s direction, is nothing new. But this action keeps life new and fresh. Days that were formerly a drudge become easier, because you start to sense genuine direction and purpose to your life. Addictions drop off. Dependence on others for your happiness starts to dissipate. Mental illness goes from being a serious problem to being less of a problem. (This is NOT BECAUSE YOU STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICINE, IF YOU ARE ON MEDICINE. DO NOT DO THAT. EVER. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.)
You become a change agent. As you change inside, you’re able to help other people and make positive changes outside.
‘In his presence is fullness of joy.’ I don’t think that ‘joy’ means ‘being happy all the time, no matter what’, but I see a progression here: unhappy, then unhappy but in tune with the Spirit, then content more and more, then at peace most of the time, where joy and happiness are more likely to happen.
The true movement is always within. Tune out all the movement outside–it’s busywork designed to keep you feeding the religious machine–and embrace that movement inside: Christ within.