Have you ever had a conversion experience, read the Bible for the first time, and wonder why the Church and the world doesn’t look more like what you just read? I mean, HAVE YOU READ the book of Acts?
That’s some intense amazing stuff happening over and over and over again. People getting freed from prison by angels. Diseases being cured by shadows! Visions and visitations and miracles and healings? That sounds amazing. Who WOULDN’T want to live that life? But… why isn’t that happening every day where YOU live?
I know what it’s like to ask those questions. I basically just described my life and my questions as a 19 year old. I’d just given my life over to Jesus, and the first thing I asked my lifelong believer family members:
I just got saved. Now what?
Their answer: Get a Bible and read it. Start with the book of John and then read the book of Acts.
So I did. And boy did that mess me up. I mean, I grew up in the church – a charismatic church even – and I had no clear picture of the Acts storyline after the Upper Room. Maybe two or three brief stories put into songs, flannel boards, and picture Bibles. That was it.
The thing was, I took the Bible seriously. I took Jesus’ words seriously. When he said,
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Being the literal person that I am, I’m thinking, Okay… I believe in Him. So he said that I will do greater works than he did. And he will do whatever I ask in his name. That’s UH-MAZE-ING.
I want to do all the amazing stuff. Where do I get the ability to do that stuff?
Once you’ve read the book of Acts, it’s hard to feel anything but excitement and confusion. After all, if we are able to do what Jesus did, or even greater things than Jesus did, how do we start doing that?
His divine power has granted to us everything (all things) pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
2 Peter 2:3-4
So where’s all that stuff I’ve been given that I’m not seeing?
As has been surmised before, the Charismatic movement has bred something of a welfare mentality among many of its followers. People who truly see themselves living in a state of lack, rather than wealth. They do their very best to drum up some positive mental imagery of being a son/daughter of the King, but ultimately they see what they don’t seem to have versus what the Bible says, and the logical conclusion is that there must be some way to get it. Maybe it’s passed down from one faith healer to the next.
I’ve been on an Arthur Burk kick for the past month or two. While telling his back story, he shared an honest dilemma he faced as a young man:
“I had this crazy belief that Christianity was made to WORK. So WHY was my Christianity so dysfunctional when I had the best theology and when I was trying so hard?” [Nurturing Your Spirit 1 – CD Set]
[TO BE CONTINUED]