A recurring theme since I arrived in Atlanta has been intimacy with Father God. I've had the privilege of sitting under Eric Johnson these past couple of days as he has been speaking in our school. Eric is a 6th generation pastor and is the son of Bill Johnson, senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA.
First of all, I believe that I was created to be a temple for God to dwell in. I believe that I as a follower of Christ am called to host His glory and to operate powerfully in Jesus' name. I am a co-heir with Christ and am seated with Him in heavenly places. I believe that His heart is to manifest supernaturally and to reveal his love for us in tangible ways through the Holy Spirit.
With that said, becoming familiar with God’s works is healthy but when we’re more familiar with the miracles than we are with the God of miracles than we’re in danger of losing intimacy. Eric Johnson puts it, "Don't use miracles and signs and wonders as validation. Signs and wonders should be a product of knowing God intimately."
The power that we receive through the blood of Jesus is what distinguishes us from all the other people on the face of the earth (Exodus 33:16). But we have to remember that the only reason that Moses was able to see the glory of God in Exodus 33 was because the Lord 'was pleased with him and knew him by name'. Moses was intimate with the Lord and thus, got to see his glory.
I have an 18 month old nephew named Jonah. There was a season in Jonah's life where the only time he was ever willing to be with his mother Jessica was when he knew that He was going to be breast-fed. He would reach for her and cry for her because he knew that she was the only one who could give him what he wanted. It was a season lacking in real relationship. Over time, Jessica began to feel used, manipulated, under-appreciated, and certainly not loved.
I fear this is what has happened in the Church. We have tasted and seen that He is good and we've had revelation of the beauty of his presence. But unfortunately, I've seen a spirit of entitlement creep into my generation. We in our spiritual immaturity have begun to demand God to move in supernatural ways. Like my nephew, The only reason that we approach his throne and cry out for Him is for Him to give us what we want. We are skipping the foundational process that our spiritual fathers and mothers worked so hard for. In our inability to trust Him, we say, "God, if you don't move when I ask you to, I'm gonna move." This creates an atmosphere where we fabricate power and try to conjure something. I pray that the atmoshphere that I am in as a son of God will react to me, not me react to the atmosphere.
A passage that Eric highlighted on Sunday morning was Matthew 12:38-39.
Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!.."
I am not proposing that we stop asking God to move, I am simply proposing that we go back to intimacy with God and let the power be a product of relationship.
God, be pleased with me and know me by name!