Monday, February 3, 2014

The Friction of Faith and Fear

“Jesus didn’t warn us of prophets. He warned of false prophets. He didn’t warn of signs and wonders. He warned of false signs and wonders. Knowing the real helps us to recognize the false. For this reason those with little to no fire think all fire is strange fire.”
 Bill Johnson is credited with that quote.
Take a moment to let that last sentence really sink in. "...those with little to no fire think all fire is strange fire." Many Christians have given themselves over to submission that makes them comfortable. Hands are raised, tears are shed, praises sung, prayers whispered, and these are some of the most beautiful things. We should never give these up. Every Sunday, there are people with wet eyes, dabbing their cheeks with tissues, and it makes my heart swell knowing that they're experiencing God in such a profound way. At times i envy them, and other times have found me with the same fogginess of vision.
But still, even with this, we (i at the very least) cling to our inhibitions.

 When i was younger (does that make me sound too old?), people would dance in the aisles. Not choreographed movements, but undignified, carefree dancing. Foolish dancing. And it egged others on. This is rare to see anymore, it seems. Now we're content to stand at our seat.
It was once a common occurrence to hear someone speaking in tongues. Not to themselves, but shouting, for all the congregation to hear, and nearly as often someone else give translation. There's much to be said on the gift of tongues, such that it could fill volumes, so this will be as in-depth as this post gets on the matter.
Healing took place not just in mega-churches where thousands attended and factors of that viewed on television, nor was it confined to revivals the masses flocked to. Many churches, varying in size, attendance, and denomination, nurtured witnesses of miraculous touches from God.
There was prophecy, genuine divine perspective; insight of not only modern application of the Word of God, but also of God Himself as He is, not just as He was two-thousand years ago (this may seem like a statement against Sola Scriptura, but i do believe the Holy Bible to be the complete and living Word of God).

 These things were not uncommon, but rather typical. And that wasn't but a mere decade ago.
Because "those with little to no fire think all fire is strange fire."
To a non-believer, or even to a new believer, these things may seem frightening, mystical even, or it might just weird them out to the point they want no part of it. However, the passion of new Christians almost invariably exceeds that of "seasoned" Christians. A new Christian, from what i have witnessed, sees their conversion to be a miracle as massive as moving a mountain. It's we, those who grew up with our faith, who have become "comfortable" with it and, therefore, see the newly reborn as a strange fire.

 We (again, i at the very least) hold back. We fear . . . Something.
Embarrassment? David danced naked in the street.
Lack of education? "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13) (Note that they "recognized that they had been with Jesus")
No authority? Jeremiah was told not to say that he was improper to speak due to being young.
Poor ability to speak/act with that kind of attention? A man with a slow tongue was told to have congress with Pharaoh, ruler of the largest and most powerful nation in the world at the time, who was seen also as an embodiment of a god. Not just that, but he was told to make demands. And to lead an entire nation out of Egypt.
Perhaps that we can't succeed? Adam and Eve were told to fill the earth. Two people, given the task of populating an entire planet. And here we are.

 Our/my excuses are frail. Surely, we must remain willfully blind to hold onto that fear.

 Personally, i believe Jesus Christ was being quite literal when He said, "Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him." (Mark 11:23)
I don't have to tell a geographical station to become mobile to know the ends of my faith. I trust God for the small things, and it's a hard thing to admit that the monumental things are another story.
I've never told a mountain to jump into the sea because i'm afraid that it won't happen. And it's not so much that i doubt God's power, but rather that i doubt that He would use me.
Minute or massive, the scale has no matter to God; to trust Him to grant me safe journey to work in the morning takes no more faith than to trust Him to move, say, Denali . . . It's somehow easier to believe one over the other.
And surely, i must remain willfully blind, because to the One that simply spoke the universe into being, Whose power is still left largely unfathomed, surely stopping the sun from setting would be no harder than causing a drizzle of rain.

But the fire is not quenched.
It will never be quenched, not even when the whole of creation has reached its fullness. The Holy Spirit is an All-Consuming Fire. He does nothing partially. He will not be put out, will not be satisfied. He is restless. He is fervent, wild, and savage. And the more a fire burns, the bigger, the hotter, the wilder, the more dangerous it becomes.
And while those with little to no fire think all fire is strange fire, they will know also that He is an All-Consuming One.

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