Why Does a Closer Walk Often Mean Ethereal to So Many?

June 26, 2017 at 8:16 AM Leave a comment

People have always wanted a “closer” walk with Christ. I get that and I’ve yearned for a closer walk with our Lord myself for most of my life. In fact, during the 1970’s I was deeply involved in the Charismatic Movement as I sought to grow closer to God and I thought this was the only way to do it. I “spoke” in tongues and was often at this meeting or that one. I read many books by then known leaders like Jamie Buckingham, the Happy Hunters, and too many others to name here. We would go from one meeting to the next and even had a few “headliners” like cooking show host, Graham Kerr and his wife regaling us with their stories of the supernatural.

As one might imagine, these meetings were normally well attended and even packed. The venues were provided by Full Gospel Businessmen group and people came expecting to witness/experience the supernatural. The “full” gospel alluded to the sign gifts, speaking in tongues, prophetic utterances, words of knowledge, healings, and even casting out of demons.

I look back on this period of my life and I can see that much of what was experienced was based in the “flesh.” I fed the “flesh” (the soulish aspect of man), often but because the flesh fell because of sin, it’s a terrible barometer of truth. Too many today – Christian and non – attempt to determine truth based on how they feel about something and that is anathema to God. While it is often intuitive to our fallen natures, it is counterproductive in becoming a mature Christian.

I’ve come full circle in realizing that the sign gifts are not for today and beyond this, anytime our flesh tries to take the lead pulling or pushing us in a given direction, we can be assured that most of the time, we are heading for error and failure. Christians need to be guided by absolute truth, which is gained from His Word. If we consider all of the confusion in society over gender identity issues, claims of racism, and more, a good deal of it exists because people arrive to their conclusions based on some form of emotional virtue (political correctness, aka Cultural Marxism). Unfortunately, this has found a firm foundation within the Church as well. It needs to be repudiated due to the tremendous error that has arisen within certain circles of Christendom.

There are no more original apostles as used to determine the ones Jesus called to follow him and be the foundation for the Church under Him. At its root, “apostle” means “sent one” and in that sense only does it apply to all Christians. However, it is very clear that the original apostles had special authority, which today’s Christian does not possess, though some claim they have been appointed apostles after the order of the original twelve.

Healings can occur through prayer and when they are in conformity with God’s will, but people do not have to go to a “faith healer” in order to receive that healing. Beyond this, we should never demand that God do anything (as if demanding is an attitude of faith). Nor should we “claim” certain things based on a few out-of-context verses of Scripture.

Demonic possessions? I believe they are real and I believe as we close in on the end of this age, there will be a plethora of them because the time of Jesus’ return to this earth as rightful Owner is on the horizon. Demonic activity will likely increase as Jesus forewarns in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24).

I know people disagree (and often vehemently), over the sign gifts and whether or not they are authentic for today’s Christian, but as someone who used to be involved in that sphere and is no longer (not for many years), when I look to Scripture, it indicates to me that the sign gifts are no longer needed. Sign gifts were used mainly by the apostles before the canon of Scripture was completely written. We have the Bible in its entirety that God expects us to use to get to know Him and to determine His truth in all situations. Does the Bible tell us everything there is to know about God? Of course not, but it seems if more Christians would spend time reading and studying His Word rather than expecting Him to “speak” to us outside of His Word, imagine how much growth would occur for individual Christians? Imagine the testimony these same Christians would have as we work and live among the lost of this world?

Again, I realize there is much debate and too often great and vociferous disagreement over this whole subject. I’m not writing this in an attempt to convince readers that my position is the correct position. I’m simply sharing my memories and current understanding regarding what I believe the Word to teaches. You are free to accept or reject this article as you might accept or reject any article. If it’s making you angry or frustrated, I do apologize, but please understand that your anger or frustration is something that is within you and may very well signal that you yourself are not secure regarding your own beliefs. I say that with kindness because I have had to take it to God in prayer on many occasions over specific issues that I’ve had to deal with and believe me when I say, my anger or frustration was normally due to the fact that I wasn’t 100% sure of my own beliefs.

In the end, it is certainly not wrong to want a closer walk with Jesus. We are commanded throughout both testaments to seek God, to learn of Him, to submit to Him and obey Him in all things. All authentic Christians should want that. However, it is the way in which Christians seek that closer walk that either reflects truth or not.

Consider two people who meet and fall in love. How did that happen? Who knows for sure, but at least part of it is due to a chemistry we call attraction. I will never forget when I met my wife for the first time. Actually, we hadn’t even formally met yet. We were both attending a Bible study and I saw her across the room. Almost instantly, I found myself attracted to her. Yes, she was very pretty (and still is 31 years later!), but there was something else. I found myself drawn to her personality; at least what I discerned of it. She seemed sure of herself, very steady, and thoughtful; certainly intelligent.

It was a number of weeks before I had the courage to actually introduce myself to her and from her response, it seemed like she had previously noticed me as well. To make a long story short, we eventually began dating and I asked her to marry me. She said “yes!” and we set the date. It was a whirlwind courtship just over 32 years ago. We’ve been married for 31 years and going strong.

During those 31 years, were there ups and downs? Absolutely. Did we argue? Yes. Were there times of tension? Yes. Were there great times of fun and enjoyment? Yes. All of that. What has kept us together? What has caused us to grow together; toward one another, instead of apart? First and foremost, it was our commitment to each other. We got together and then grew toward marriage because of what we liked about each other. That “liking” turned into “love.” There were times when I felt like I didn’t need to eat or sleep. I was floating on air. I “knew” this would last.

Unfortunately, those feelings don’t last because they are simply feelings. They come and go and are never constant. Sometimes, they are more powerful and at other times, they seem almost non-existent. But never does the absence of my feelings have anything to do with whether or not my love for my wife has waned (or hers for me).

The key to any good relationship is a willingness to get to know the other person and to treat them as you yourself want to be treated. I have grown deeper in love with my wife because I know that I committed myself to her on the day we married. There is no other option for me. That commitment has taken us through thick and thin, good health and bad. I have no desire to trade my wife in for a “newer” or “younger” model. The thought of it is embarrassing to me. I’m with my wife until the Lord takes one of us home and if it happens to be my wife first, I will have no desire to get back out there and find another mate for some time.

In our years together, we have grown toward one another because of our mutual commitment. That commitment reminds us that we must do whatever we can to continue that growth. I know my wife better now than I did 32 years ago. There are things I know about my wife’s personality that have come about because I have made it a point to get to know her. She does the same thing with me. It amazes me how little I knew about my wife 32 years ago that I know now. It came from being with her, talking with her, sharing with her, and even just watching her at times and learning how she interacts with other people.

Notice in all of this, I have never talked about “ecstatic” or “ethereal” experiences (except referring to it way back at the beginning of our relationship when I didn’t think I needed to eat or sleep). Once those feelings of heavenly bliss wane, marriage becomes work. It is the deliberate pushing to the side your wants and even needs at times in order to be of service to your spouse. Anyone who says this isn’t work might be doing something wrong or has no issue with selfishness. It’s work because we are selfish to a degree, some more than others. Even if we’re not selfish, personalities can get in the way. I have a strong personality, what some would call an “A” type personality. If I’m not careful, I can be demanding; not in words often, but in demeanor. This happens because I tend to be driven. When I am working out a problem and then discover the solution, I simply do it and it’s not that I intend to push people out of the way (figuratively speaking), but that can sometimes happen. I have had to realize this (the first step), then make necessary changes so that I do not continue to do this (second step). I’m not perfect at it and still make mistakes. When I make those mistakes, I apologize as quickly as I can and endeavor to do things differently.

I believe this whole process of marriage has been “easier” because both my wife and I are committed Christians. We are committed to one another, yes, but most importantly, we are committed to our Lord and Savior, Jesus, who is the Head of our home. We spend time in prayer. We read His Word daily (and that’s not something we used to do). Because of this, I believe God’s grace places my wife and I on the same page. We have the same goals in mind and endeavor to please Him in all things.

Would you agree with me that having a good marriage takes effort on each partner’s part? Without work and effort, people naturally grow apart. It will happen because the “flesh” will take over without hesitation and that “flesh” wants to elevate Self. We have to work to push Self away and we can only do this when we are moving toward God. We move toward God as we spend time in His Word and commune with Him through prayer. My marriage happened because my wife and I fell in love. It is successful because we work at making it succeed. A good marriage will not simply happen without both partners working to make it so. Without working at it, falling away from each other and eventual divorce is likely to occur.

There is one good thing (in my opinion), that came out of my involvement with the Charismatic Movement. That was that I learned how to praise God in all things. I learned that in spite of what I was facing, I could go to Him and praise Him because I could trust that He knew best even before I knew the outcome.

More Christians need to realize that knowing God is not through ecstatic experiences like speaking in tongues or some emotional high that we are to take as directing our steps. The life of a Christian is often mundane because it involves submitting ourselves to Him and His purposes, which means constantly pushing Self to the rear. This is not fun and anyone who tells you the process is fun may not be doing it right. I can guarantee you from Scripture that Self will do everything it can to be top dog! Paul says we should wrestle with it to subdue it (Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 9:27). This is exactly what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was so intense, He sweated great drops of blood (Luke 22:39-46). Try to imagine that and yes, it is an actual medical situation where the stress or tension of a situation can dilate the blood vessels until it appears as though the person is bleeding from the forehead or face.

Paul says in Philippians 2:12  that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. That is our job, not to work for salvation, but to make every effort after we are receive salvation to be good soldiers for Jesus. Certainly, God the Holy Spirit will help us to that end, but He expects us to put in the effort as well.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Eastern Mysticism, Emotional virtue, eternity, Life in America, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Socialism. Tags: , , , , , , .

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