Growing in Christ
What’s the problem with Christian Spiritualism? Why does it not seem to work?
In regards to the “Prosperity Gospel” and “Name it and Claim it” and otherwise “calling down heaven,” the failures of these ideas are the exact same as the failures of a church that loves to preach the laws of God from the perspective of directing people towards a good standard by a process of demands; people are informed of what to do but never told how to accomplish the task.
Every Sunday school student knows the answer: Jesus.
The problem with 100% of bullshit doctrines claiming to be rooted in Christianity is they never ask for Jesus to help. Any doctrine that praises a few of Jesus’s commands about loving people and treating the poor as members of your community, but then focuses on tasks each person must accomplish prior to experiencing God or being welcomed to speak with God, is anti-christ gospel. Anything that marginalizes Jesus Christ isn’t Christianity, it’s anti-christ.
Be cautious of any message that forgets about Jesus. It doesn’t matter if you’re hearing a message about the value of good morals as established in the book of Deuteronomy or the wisdom of the book of Proverbs or the standard of exhibiting the Kingdom of Heaven in the book of Acts, if you find that the teaching forgets to mention Jesus. If you’re being taught, “So, this is what you do…” or “So, we apply that scripture to your behavior in this way so that we don’t break the law…” if the speaker doesn’t include Jesus in the action sequence of his plan, it’s a false message.
The foundation of the Gospel of Christ is one of salvation on Christ, alone. And that starts with this scripture, “You can’t do NOTHING apart from me [Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God]”
Before I continue, let me remind everyone, “don’t not be afraid” is scripture 365 times.
The idea that we can no nothing might scare and unnerve people into vulnerability. This is good. Don’t run away from God because of weakness, bankruptcy of virtue, or nakedness.
It can be difficult to regularly attend churches that preach the Gospel through a well-articulated argument for repentance, because we end up “repenting” every weekend. In my opinion, a call to repentance perspective of drawing people to Christ is better suited for a non-believing audience and a preacher would reach those people in a park from a stage. But, even then, I think it’s worth considering the sequence of change in the testimony of Jesus’s messages; pre-crucifixion he preached repentance and described the Kingdom of Heaven, but post-resurrection he made an announcement, “the Kingdom of Heaven is here!” Consistent with his style of ministry, he continued to “perform the truth” after ascending to heaven by bringing his twelve disciples into the Kingdom of Heaven. The request for a successful sacrificial life and death of the prophesied Messiah was to request that his friends could come to his kingdom with him. What the disciples became exhibited the truth of his accomplishment and the establishment of the Father’s fulfillment of the Son’s request. Before Jesus was arrested, he prayed, first to bless his twelve in salvation, but then also blessed everyone who believes because of their testimony. Living a life of testimony exhibiting the Kingdom of God through miracles is continuing in Christ’s message style; performing the truth.
If the result, as believers in Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah, is to receive from his prayers, then we are meant to enter into as much of the Kingdom of God as the disciples and as much of the Father as the Son, lived.
The question becomes, “How?”
Modern-day Traditional Christian teaching takes people back to the law and demands people fulfill it, but see how that makes someone compete with Jesus for sonship, instead of receive sonship on the back of Jesus’s fulfillment?
Then the Spiritual Christians pull out scriptures and treat them like codes, passwords, or spells by alienating scripture from the relationship with God, see who this treats God as unnecessary and how confused that is, since the relationship is the destination?
Jesus gave us the answer, “Ask, and keep asking. Knock, and keep knocking. And the door will open to you.” He then gave two examples: one about the neighbor who knocked at midnight, audaciously, asking for three loaves of bread. And then, the woman who asked for justice from an unjust judge. Jesus gives us real-world, where we have already experienced instances of fulfillment of his word in circumstances within an unjust and ungenerous, fatigued and irritable world to highlight that his word is fulfilled in the worse of conditions so that our hope will grow into expectancy when we take that same behavior and attitudes from the stories to God who is wonderful and good, loving and generous, never tired and done with being angry at humanity.
But why, then, do our requests not come, quickly? Why do we have to keep knocking and keep asking if everything requested in the name of Jesus is “yes, and amen?”
As far as I know, Jesus didn’t say.
To approach an answer to this question I pull from my own life to offer one of , certainly, many perspectives on the matter. My experience is this: receiving from God, miraculously, can radically alter the understanding of reality, which can feel isolating while in a society of unbelieving people speak doubt and distance themselves to avoid strangeness they suspect as dangerous. As a result, I believe God is passiant in his delay, waiting for our minds and hearts to ready for the impact of God’s existence, his power, his love, his presence, his joy, his calling up the soul from a state of nothing into a conscious awareness of royalty, having the undivided attention of Almighty Creator Savior God of Truth and Love and Life, while we continue to live in a society that doesn’t see him, acknowledge him, or want that degree of reality for the fear of it’s suspected responsibility. That is not a small bite at the feast. When God gives, he will give at a measure your mind can receive so that you don’t feel crazy or alienated from truth.
I believe, the scriptures that are designed to stretch our minds into the wide receptivity of the mind of Christ in preparation for receiving large sums of miraculous change and presence of God, are being removed from the relationship of God. And in so doing, people who are asking for more of God aren’t not readying to receive what they are asking for, so God’s reward seems delayed.
I think the solution in a time of perceived delay is to spend more time with God, talking to him like he’s a person who understands your language. Discuss with him why you believe you’re ready to receive his help, and why you’re ready to receive what it is you’re asking for, letting him respond in reply with information about what else he must give you so that the gift will be complete, by his standards. This gift, especially one that has been delayed, often will include something greater that you haven’t thought to ask for, and must be ready to receive, as well. You only find this out by talking to him like he’s your friend, an on-your-side-always sort of friend, an investor sort of friend, a supporter sort of friend, a surgeon and a layer and the wealthiest man alive, the reason you enjoy even the most boring of parties, sort of friend. You can ask him for wealth, but are you ready to lose friends and family over it? Ask yourself, are you ready to receive what you’ve been asking for, actually. Because he will NOT give you a gift so long as by receiving the gift the result, actually, is an increase in fear within you. Being ready means, you’re ready for God’s power to be the foundation of you understanding of reality. It means, you’re ready to receive the social fall-out of the gift. It means, you’re ready to be loved, having Jesus taken your sins and removed them from the world to the point that you’re loved as much as a son who never sinned, receiving at a measure of a perfect son who spent every action and word he spoke with perfect blessing, having increased the amount of heaven in the this world, forgetting that you did the opposite because you’re trusting Jesus to create blessing within your sins. It means, you’re ready to be honored like you deserve it, when you don’t. It means, receiving joy because he is trustworthy. It means, trusting that the giver will remain on your team, forever. It means, you love him more than you love anyone else. It means, you fear him more than you fear anyone else. And it means, you don’t count anything as a barrier between your relationship, knowing your relationship is eternally secure by your choice to like him. Receiving from him means, you’re ready to let go of earning your own idea of self-worth. It means, knowing your weakness. And it means valuing his love you over your idea of what it might look like to be honored by him if you could figure out how to be good (it’s impossible, just a heads up.) It means, rejoicing that you get amazing provision and favor simply from his love.
Being tired is great place to start. None of your fight will have a use in heaven. Neither does it have a use in the Kingdom of Heaven, here on earth. It’s all relationship with God: just talking. Tell him how you feel and all your fears and let him reply in spirit and in truth. Find out from him what is required for you to be fully ready, but when you do, I encourage you to set down your fear of the law and pick up the value of Jesus as savior so that when God gives you a command fear won’t increase, but peace will be your lens and security in his love for you will be your lens and then, knowing that he is on your side, you can listen as though having a conversation with a friend who will never leave you, no matter if you make a choice he disagrees with, in the future, because he’s going to lead you into freedom, which feels dangerous when you’ve experienced life without trusting or wanting his help then returned. Expect to trust him, more and more.
But also expect to be talking with him because he’s going to ask you questions. He loves to hear your voice. He’s talking to you because he loves your relationship. He’s teaching you to think things through because he loves being your teacher. He called himself your father because that’s the role he voted for. Bring every sin to him so he can remove it from you. Bring every fear to him so he can remove it from you. I would say, ask and keep asking, means talk and continue talking it through with him.
Don’t be ignorant of the devil working against you, either. You may have to choose to receive help from God in spite of all the threats the devil accuses against God. While they are only threats, and that means lies. If fear of those threats is preventing rejoicing that comes from trusting God, then you probably need to add those threats into your stance on readying.
The devil is going to try to offer many different reasons why you shouldn’t talk to or receive from or serve God. When one person gets blessed by God it multiplies, exponentially, because faith comes by hearing. And Satan’s biggest goal is to prevent us talking to God, because he knows the moment God speaks, he heals us, he showers us in love, he establishes us in his home, and he blesses us into confident identity. God wastes no time. And with a small focus on his glorious presence, he will change your existence from a defeated spirit into a powerful spirit, rooted in your place within his heart. A word. He can do all this with one word. When the church says, “Go get a word from God,” they are speaking about a life experience you can’t imagine into reality. They are talking about the real and living presence of Almighty God. He must do this with you. Because it’s real, no one will get your imagination working this out for you. You’ll never imagine it into a real experience. When it happens, you’ll know it’s real, in the same way you can know what a long-horned cow looks like without experiencing awe until you experience one in person, petting his nose, having watched him slowly approach you from up the hill. You will know the reality of the one true God in much the same way as you know the difference between a picture and a real creature. Being in the presence of God is not fathomable, but it is experienceable. Awe and fear will happen, but he sends his Holy Spirit as an outstretched hand before him to keep you still and assure you of the wisdom of remaining open to listening. I encourage you to hope that the Holy Spirit speaks the truth about him. With one word you will know life, love and honor.
Any idols in your life, he will expose as empty. An idol is anything you fear or respect more than God. Even if Satan is your idol, so that you fear Satan more than God, he will expose Satan’s lack of power within the brilliant light of truth, so that all your respect of him passes away like mist in the heat of the sun.
Whatever command he asks of you, he will make it possible for you to accomplish. If you’re not able to make right with a brother who holds something against you, he will make it possible. He might invite you to have that conversation with that brother in your imagination, as Jesus dressed up as that brother. You’ll likely know it’s Jesus, because he’ll assure you that you have all the time in the world to think and to speak. Then when the conversation is over, you’ll be utterly released from all the accusations against you, lightness and thanksgiving will set your soul to rejoicing.
You get to ask for every good thing from God until your “joy is complete.” And until it overflows.
You might be totally ready for everything you’ve been asking for, but you might have forgotten what it’s like to talk to God. You’ll need his relationship in the next stage of your life, especially after receiving a gift from God because it’s always awe provoking. He wants you to always know where he is, how to reach him through your vulnerable conversation, how much of his heart in on your side, how loved you are and how safe you are, so that fear as no voice in your mind.
From my own life experience, I tell you that it’s more important to know you’re loved by God in spite of sin than it is to be healthy and strong, physically and mentally. It’s more important to feel loved by God than it is to feel able to accomplish mighty feats.
While he has plans to prosper you, he knows how much your soul needs his love ad constant relationship. And you might be delayed so that you can enter his presence in a deeper, more pervasive to your reality sort of way. The point to all of this article is this: talk to him like a friend, about everything.