Excerpt from "5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening" article by Dave Ferguson
"We’ve had the privilege of seeing thousands of people find their way to God. Over the years we began to notice some patterns. When people come to faith, they seem to pass through a set of similar experiences. Where people start and what motivates them to begin this journey are often different, but the stages they go through are remarkably similar... We call them the “5 Awakenings.”...Here is a brief overview:
Awakening to Longing. This is the universal feeling people have that “there’s got to be more” to life. We all feel the longing for love, purpose, and meaning. And it is the quest to satisfy these basic longings that sends us on a journey. The common experience: initially we may not understand that God gave us these longings, so we try to satisfy those longings by running away from God rather than toward him.
Awakening to Regret. We find ourselves alone, directionless and confused, and eventually we say, “I wish I could start over.” Many people get stuck repeating the first 2 Awakenings. We call repeating the first 2 steps the “sorry cycle” – pursuing God-given longings outside of a relationship with God. Many people get stuck in the “sorry cycle” for years and still others never escape it.
Awakening to Help. After repeating the “sorry cycle” of trying to fulfill these longings without God, and ending up with regret over and over again, we finally acknowledge something has to change. We come to the end of ourselves and say, “I can’t do this on my own.” We hit bottom. We come to our senses. We realize we need help.
Awakening to Love. We come to the realization that Jesus is the one who leads us back to God. As we come back to God, we are ambushed by grace. We discover “God loves me deeply after all!” However, often there is a shadow of shame and guilt that follows us home and we struggle to believe we are loved and accepted just as we are.
Awakening to Life. This is where we discover that through following Jesus we have “life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) The New Testament uses two words for life: bios and zoe. Bios refers to chronological life: days, months, and years. But zoe carries a deeper meaning. It refers to life as it was truly meant to be lived. Zoe is eternal life. When Jesus says he came so we would have “life and have it to the full” he uses the word zoe. As we experience this final awakening we realize, “Now, this is living!”
Understanding the '5 Awakenings' has helped me make sense of the journey toward God. My hope is that they will inspire you to more effectively guide people into the arms of a heavenly Father who longs for their return."
"5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening" was published in CT Leadership Journal March 2015 click here for entire article