Wake Up and Live!
By Robert & Kathy Fetveit

Healing and waking the slumbering spirit is an important key for overcoming the sinfulness and powerlessness in the Body of Christ today.

Robert & Kathy FetveitSusan arrived late for her appointment. She had not planned ahead sufficiently to be able to arrive on time. She had previously shared that one of her many problems was an inability to project present choices into future consequences. Also, since becoming a Christian she has had difficulty feeling close to God. She recognized the importance of daily devotions but her personal devotional times were dry and boring. She had talked to others who told her how God spoke to them and she longed to have that kind of experience herself.

Susan was born the fourth child in the family and the only girl. Her birth experience was a difficult one due to her mother’s physical condition. Following Susan’s birth her mother was confined to her bed for six weeks with sciatica, which made it very difficult for her to care for her new baby girl. Although her mother had looked forward to breast-feeding Susan, the pain medication she had to take prevented her from the bonding experience that Susan needed.

Her three active brothers demanded a lot of her mother’s attention. Susan’s father left their family shortly after she was born which forced her mother to go to work to support the family. Susan grew up feeling rejected, overlooked, invisible. She decided that she would just have to take care of herself.

A person’s spirit is drawn toward life when early childhood experiences are loving and safe, or it withdraws from life when experiences are painful and fearful. When this withdrawal from life takes place the result is that the person goes to sleep spiritually.

A slumbering spirit is most often present when a person is born with a naturally sensitive spirit with compassion and concern for the needs and feelings of others.

This individual seems to go through life half asleep and can only catch part of what is happening around him. Often there is a dullness or numbness to spiritual things. Understanding and relating to the Bible is laborious and the slumberer may even fall asleep during church services or Bible reading. Scripture admonishes us to wake up: Romans 13:11b, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” And in Eph. 5:14 “for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”

However, most sleepers stay locked in the pattern that is comfortable and that they have grown accustomed to. Actually I think every living person is slumbering in one or more areas of their lives. Jesus was the only person on earth who was really fully awake!

Susan had a wounded spirit. She was not responsible for what happened to her and she could not change the fact that she was hurt in her family, but God held her responsible for her own decisions and choices.

There are several ways that people respond to “hurt”. We almost always judge or blame someone for what has happened to us. Based on our experiences and our judgments about those experiences we tend to believe lies. Based on the lies we believe we give ourselves orders about how we will live life and relate to others. The Bible calls these orders that we give ourselves “vows”. Another common response to pain is to choose to allow our spirit to fall into slumber as a way of protecting from pain.

Susan responded to her life hurts in all the above ways. In addition to making judgments, believing lies, and making vows Susan made an early decision to go to sleep spiritually. It was a defense mechanism that she used to keep from being hurt again. However, the resulting difficulty was an inability to relate intimately with her husband.

Her spiritual growth was slow and difficult. She desperately wanted to have a clear understanding of her true identity, but everything seemed clouded. When a person is operating with a slumbering spirit there are certain areas of life where that person is unable to function properly. We can discern when a slumbering spirit is present by coming to understand the basic functions of the personal spirit.

When our personal spirit is fully awake we are:

* drawn into an awareness of the one true God and Creator of the universe
* able to enter into corporate worship
* able to maintain and enjoy private devotion with God
* able to listen for and learn revelation from God
* healthy and able to maintain our health
* able to exhibit original insight and inspiration
* able to relate to time (past, present and future)
* able to demonstrate true empathy
* able to celebrate sexual enjoyment in marriage
* able to discover, maintain, and demonstrate a mature conscience

As the Holy Spirit led Susan to recognize her wounding and her sinful response to that wounding she began to realize her need for confession and repentance. She was also convicted of the need for a deeper level of forgiveness of those who had unknowingly or, at times, willfully wounded her. She then confessed her decision to flee from life by going to sleep spiritually and invited Jesus to come and wake her up! Susan’s countenance changed immediately as she experienced the love of Christ and the presence of God in a way she had never known. Now she loves Jesus more than ever before and has decided to choose life every day! She enjoys worship services at her church and is participating in a small group.

One of the best places for the waking up process to happen to one who has been slumbering is in close relationships with other believers who can “love” them to life.

Home groups can be perhaps the most important ingredient in healing and waking a slumbering spirit. Remember: the best antidotes for healing a slumbering spirit are vulnerability to other believers and close relationships with other believers in the Body of Christ.

However, the intimacy of a small group can be very difficult for them and it may take months or years before they will feel safe enough to completely connect in the group. The slumberer often has to have an assignment like: resist at all cost any thought of fleeing from the small group. (When waking first begins, fear causes us to want to run away.) And the group may need to continually “go and find” the one fleeing away. The fear of more wounding and rejection needs to be healing with a demonstration of God’s unconditional love and acceptance THROUGH YOU.

The slumberer is afraid of being vulnerable. Staying asleep feels much safer. We must all learn to face the pain of life, or it will continue to victimize us. Most slumberers will want to just roll over and go back to sleep.

Susan was desperate enough to ask for help. It wasn’t easy for her to take the first step. It was painful for her to recall and at times relive some of her painful childhood memories. But experiencing God’s amazing love, forgiveness and healing made it all worth it!

Dear Lord, help us to be more fully awake so that we can see You, hear You, and obey You. Amen.

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