When we come to Christ we become supernatural beings. Our natural was placed inside Christ’s supernatural. In fact, according to Paul, acting like a “mere human” is worldly behavior (1 Cor.3:3).
We’re primarily a spirit being that lives in a body. The Bible refers to us as having a “spirit, soul, and body” (1 Thess.5:23), not the other way around.
Our rational Western mindset comes from enlightenment thinkers who revered Greek philosophy, science and other intellectual pursuits. There’s nothing wrong with this, in and of itself. But the tragic result of this emphasis as a means to relate to God is a Christian form of humanism.
We believe in the inerrancy of Scripture but confine its practical application to the material, natural, in spite of its overwhelming supernatural implications.
Our “God box” becomes a quasi-deistic, closed-system that confines all spirituality to principles to be followed and doctrines to be studied.
So, as rational Christians we become, in effect, unbelieving believers. Our experiential reality and way of living isn’t much different than that of atheists. The only difference seems to be that we believe we’ll go to heaven when we die and they don’t.
As Bill Johnson has said, “We will always reflect the nature of the world we are most aware of.”
Charismatics and Pentecostals are often accused of being “anti-intellectual” because they emphasize the spiritual and revelatory. But these same accusers have no problem being anti-supernatural.
They see their view being “reasonable” and “well-grounded.” The supernatural is unreasonable, not for today– it’s to be feared, or worse, demonized.
But in our denial of the gifts of the Spirit given to edify in love, to help us “grow up into Christ” until we come into the “unity of the faith” (1 Cor.12:7; 14:3-5, 26; Eph.4:7-16), we’ve become divisive, even combative, in the name of “truth,” not realizing that Truth is a Person (John 14:6). God help us.
This is operating under the fallacy that Scripture can be fully understood by interpretative methods alone; it’s relating to God hermeneutically but not intimately.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with our intellect, logic or reason. God gave us our minds in order to bring spiritual truth into the natural realm. However, the mind makes a good servant but a very poor master when it comes to the things of God.
The problem with relating to God primarily with our intellect is that we will inevitably make Him in our own image.
We’ll never know the things that we don’t know we don’t know. We will put Him in a “box” framed by the limits of our mental constructs. The very nature of theology (science or study of God) is our attempt to wrap our finite mind around an infinite God.
But as Graham Cooke has pointed out, “The last time God was put in a box, if you touched it you died!”
Another problem with this intellectual pursuit is that God is Spirit. And He gave us a spirit to be in relationship with Him. Jesus said we must worship Him in Spirit as well as truth (John 4:24).
So, without spiritual revelation, we like to say things like, “We cannot possibly understand all that God has prepared for us,” putting that off until we die and go to heaven. We quote Paul….
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor.2:9)
But we leave out the rest of what he said…
“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. ” (2 Cor.2:10)
Verse 9 is an Old Covenant mindset; verse 10 is the New Covenant mindset.
Paul also tells us in 1 Cor.2:13-14, if we want to understand spiritual things, we must discern them spiritually (bold-text added)….
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.“
Paul also said that he served God with his spirit (Rom.1:9), shouldn’t we?
We are defined by Scripture as “sons of God” when we are led by the Spirit of God, not by our intellectual understanding of God (Rom.8:14). But all this talk of being “led by the Spirit” makes us “first-worlders” nervous.
We’re rational, intelligent human beings. We prefer to figure out every contingency ahead of time, having it all laid out in straight lines.
We’re more comfortable going to school and studying about Him than learning how to abide in Him.
We configure ourselves together to maintain control, so that we aren’t wrong, or never falling outside of our “normal” expectations. But, in doing so, we forfeit “the deep things” of God that only come by revelation of the Spirit.
We fear doctrinal error more than having an anemic spirit.
Our life in Christ becomes more theoretical than experiential, but we call that walking by faith. But faith, by definition, is trusting in a world you cannot see.
Beloved, can we just be resolved that there’s nothing safe or “balanced” about our life in Christ? As Mr. Beaver said of Aslan in C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia,” He’s not safe…but He is good.
And I’m not suggesting that spiritual revelation supersedes, adds to, or contradicts what’s already written in Scripture. But, while God’s Word never changes, our understanding must change, and mature…until we think like Jesus (Eph.4:15). And I don’t believe we’re there yet.
To quote Bill Johnson again, “God never violates His word. But He’s quite comfortable violating our understanding of His word.”