Wednesday, July 05, 2006

That Sinking Feeling

…when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink,
(Matthew 14:30)

Even when we have a word from the Lord, if we lose sight of Jesus, and look at circumstances, we can lose faith. Peter had seen Jesus calm the raging sea before (Matthew 8:26), and yet he still doubted. Knowing God can do all things, and even being in His presence, is not always enough to get the job done (Luke 13:26-27).

This is relevant for today because we can be on the right path, and doing God’s will, and in a moment, look away and begin to sink. It is not a matter of strong self-will, i.e. “I will not look away.” Faith is not a singular event; rather, it is an ongoing, diligent effort to be in dialogue with the Lord, trusting in His sovereign hand to bring us through life’s storms.

Let’s give a hypothetical example to further bring this into focus with regard to what you may see today. You have attended a meeting of a famous evangelist before, and experienced a tremendous move of the Spirit upon you, and it was evident to the others there as well, with many people shouting, dancing, speaking in tongues, prophecy, and even some unusual manifestations such as laughing and jerking. But you prayed to the Lord to not let you be drawn into something that wasn’t from Him. You felt sure that this meeting was okay, and didn’t see any bad fruit coming out from it.

Several months later, this same evangelist comes to town again, and the occurrences of the unusual are more pronounced; your best friend, whose discernment you trust and have known in the Lord for more than ten years, begins to laugh uncontrollably. Others around you start to laugh as well. All the signs seem to point to this as being from the Lord, and you don’t want to miss a move of the Spirit.

Now is the time to realize your dependence on Jesus: the “signs” all around you are like the storms from this passage, the circumstances; you are not to look at those, but at Jesus, remember? These signs don’t look fearful, like the storms did to Peter, but they are distractions from looking directly at Jesus.

What do you do? Instead of just “letting go”, ask yourself some questions. What is the evangelist speaking about? What started the “chain reaction”? What is the result of this, pleasure, feelings of euphoria, or genuine joy (with Jesus being the center of our attention, not our feelings)? What does this have to do with Jesus? Does this bring about a change in those who experience it? What change, a repentant attitude, or a more heartfelt desire toward God?

Remember to pray about God protecting you as you had at the earlier meeting. Being part of the Holy Spirit’s descent upon believers at a gathering can be an enriching, and life changing experience. I’m sure you would agree, however, that missing it would be better than being used as a tool of the Devil. You won’t be missing out on eternal life if you miss these phenomena, so why worry? Let us always be aware of who is being glorified.


Even So... said...

New blog header, cool, IMHO. Well at least I am starting to figure out some HTML stuff.

Neil said...

Really liking your blog, just need to find time to read WITHOUT neglecting other obligations!