Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Supernatural

Do we as Christians really believe in the supernatural? This seems a silly question; of course we do. We believe that God became a Man, was born of a virgin, worked miracles, died on a cross to pay the price for our sins, and rose again the third day. Certainly we believe in the supernatural. But do we believe in the supernatural today, in our lives and in our churches? My purpose here is not to become entangled in the complicated question of spiritual gifts, though I believe it is relevant. Rather I want to ask, on a more general basis, do we really believe God is supernaturally at work in us? Francis Schaeffer asked, if God were to come mysteriously in the night and remove every reference from the Bible to the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer, would we live our lives any differently?

Now the Scripture says that the supernatural power of God is at work in our lives to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:10). It also says that His power is at work through us to accomplish His purposes in the world (1 Corinthians 3:6,7; 2 Corinthians 3:5,6; Colossians 1:29) and that we will be victorious (Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 5:4,5). That does not mean God will miraculously take away every problem; often God brings us through problems (John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 12:9,10; Romans 8:18). There is no condition given for these promises, though God does call us to respond in obedience (Romans 12:1,2; Titus 2:11-14; Galatians 5:16). But the conclusion is that we should trust in God to accomplish His goals in our lives (Psalms 127:1,2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28).

If this is so, why do we so often trust in our plans, our methods, and our cleverness to accomplish God's will in the world. We trust in our organizations, our programs, our techniques, and our showmanship to impact those around us. We are like the Israelites of old, who trust in our horses and chariots rather than God (Isaiah 31:1). Now do not get me wrong; I am not against planning or doing things well (Galatians 6:9,10; Colossians 3:23,24: Romans 12:11). But I am asking the question, what are we trusting in? And if we are trusting in God's power, it will put what we do into perspective. It will not discourage diligence and hard work. But it will lead us away from gimmicks, manipulation, and self-aggrandizement. It also works against discouragement, despair, and acting out of desperation. For it puts in focus who we are really serving and where the power comes from.

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