It seems to me that the goal of some has shifted from seeking intimacy to seeking to be supernatural. I've learned the hard way in a lifetime of exposure to the things of the Spirit that if your goal is to be supernatural, then you'll end up shipwrecked.
If, however, your goal is intimacy with the Father and you hunger for His nature and character to be your own, then you'll end up being supernatural.
This subtle shift of focus on so many fronts has created a growing sense of disappointment in an increasing number of people. The same sense of disappointment is gradually taking root in the so-called seeker sensitive churches, which have not been part of the flow of revival. Even there, hearts are crying out, "There must be something more than this!"
As 2013 came to a close, the youth group at our church began to see an influx of young people from a fast-growing megachurch in the Denver metro area, all saying, "I need more. I'm tired of the emptiness over there. It's not enough!"
Excerpts from some emails I received illustrate well what I am hearing on a broad spectrum. See if something doesn't cry out, "that's me!" when you read this one.
This person wrote: "I'm 'sick' of all the me/focused 'worship' music and the whole 'me getting my feeling' emphasis, along with all the hoops to keep jumping through, along with the latest 'prophetic' word/vision stuff—and not to leave out the 'alignment' movement. More hoops! There I said it! It is time to get back to the Word, Christ-like character, and the Great Commission and kick all the latest charismatic-gimmick hoops aside. Isn't it time to seek the genuine blessings of the Spirit and thresh out the chaff?'
What we once did in innocence, obeying the sweet moving of the Spirit, we now make into methods, structures, impartations, and alignments. But Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3). There's the secret!
The answer to our hunger comes not from a focus on receiving from God, although we'll never stop receiving. We serve a giving God, a loving Father, and one of the highest forms of praise we can offer Him is to gratefully receive what He sends.
A growing number of believers, however, are coming to understand that the balm to soothe our growing ache focuses not on what we are getting or receiving but on what we're becoming. It's about the impartation of the Father's heart, nature, and character in us until we truly can be called sons and daughters of God who, from the deepest reaches of the heart, radiate who our Father is. Therein lies the second part of the message of the Father's love.
John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. In Hebrew linguistic usage, to be a "son of" or a "child of" something is to resemble that thing in a significant way. Romans 8:19 applies the usage as well: "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God."
I see a developing movement focused on impartation of the nature of the Father in character, disposition, heart, and spirit. It is a time of conformity to "the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). It has nothing to do with religious legalism or performance and everything to do with transformation of character from the inside out until we have the Father's heart as our own.
God's heart, then, would be to move us in this season from the remedial to the transformational, from receiving to becoming, so that we could exude the nature of the Father and the world would see and know Him by what they see and sense in us.
We're not living for an experience. We're living for oneness with our Father through our Savior, Jesus Christ in heart, character, and spirit. There lies the substance we long for. It leads to a greater intimacy with the heart of the Father than we have ever known.
Adapted from Yes, There's More by R. Loren Sandford, copyright 2015, published by Charisma House. Are you hungry to experience more of what God has actually promised? Ultimately, the solution can be found only in the deeper understanding of the Father's heart. In this book Pastor Sandford shares how to return to childlike faith and a deeper experience of God. His topics include but are not limited to the difference between faith and feelings, the intimacy that comes from being God's friend, the importance of aligning yourself with Him in prayer, and the correct understanding of grace. To order your copy click here.
Prayer Power for the Week of May 11, 2015
This week, pray that the Lord would continue His transforming work in your heart so that you would carry His presence and reflect the image of Christ in a dark and dying world. Continue to pray for open doors to share the gospel and be a blessing to those who desperately need Christ.
Pray that we, as the body of Christ, would unite in prayer and purpose for the persecuted church and worldwide revival. Remember those victimized by street violence, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Pray that Israel and our own nation will fulfill God's plan and purpose in this season (Rom. 8:29; 12:1-3; 2 Cor. 3:18).
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