The Norm and Para Norm of Faith

I’m not spiritual! I’m not spiritual because while others see open eye visions and hear God talk to them in an audible voice, while others roll on the floor when hands are laid on them and tell of how God supernaturally encountered them in a burning bush experience, I have seen no open eyed visions, never heard any audible voice, never fallen under the anointing and the closest I’ve come to a burning bush experience is lighting my stove/cooker!

If you believe you as a Christian are not spiritual or are lacking some spiritual experiences because you have similar experiences as the one stated above, your challenge may be, more one of knowledge than a spiritual one.

The problem is we want experiences God did not promise us and many times we have no business with

Many times amongst brethren, we weigh experiences by the Spirit in our physical lives as a proof of greater spirituality or maturity, while this may be true in some occasions at some times, it is not true in every occasion at every time and thinking it so will only lead to errors. We have all at one time or the other as we grow up in the faith, heard a testimony or account of a fellow believer or Christian leader in which the supernatural broke natural protocols to produce a result. We hear it, admire it and many times covet it. We hear of a pastor who spends 3 days praying on the mountain and comes down with a vision which triples his congregation numerically, so we start heading up the mountain to get our own vision. We hear of a brother who emptied his bank account for a ministry purpose and one month later, he is buying the bank, so we head to the bank to empty our own account. We hear of a man who prayed and God gave him the name and phone number of the woman he should marry, so we declare a fast and lock ourselves up in prayer that we may also receive our own name and phone number. The list goes on! And many, many times, we come down from the mountain, come out of the prayer room, take a look at our account balance, weeks later and feel under spiritual, cheated or confused! Because it didn’t go how we imagined it.

 

                                Spirituality defined: Living by the Word of God!

In the faith, there is the ‘normal’ pattern by which God orders our lives and there are times when God according to His sovereign will and wisdom does the same thing in a ‘spectacular’ or paranormal manner. For an instance, the normal pattern of marriage is that a man ‘finds’ his wife i.e. by applying the principles of God a Christian male chooses a godly woman and acknowledges her as his wife (prov 18:22). But we see a ‘spectacular’ case in the book of Hosea (Hosea 1:2), where God chooses for his prophet Hosea, who to marry and that for a particular purpose, yet that is never an instruction or pattern for us to follow but an account of God’s dealing. Now many people in seeking a spouse, instead of finding (for the man) and being findable (for the woman) go and pray for God to choose for them and tell them who to marry! They may have heard a spectacular case of one person who testified of how God spoke to him/her who to marry and they covet this experience, and want God to also tell them. They leave the patterned route God orders and start looking for something special and many get deceived.

Everything God does He does for a purpose, not for show! He may instruct in such supernatural means when He has seen the road ahead is an abnormal route and threatening to faith, like Joseph whom God had to in a supernatural means tell to continue his marriage plans to Mary because the whole situation was clearly abnormal and his faith may never have been able to stand on the testimony of Mary alone.

Imagine if every lady who desires to have a child, decides that they won’t marry and have relations with their husband but will like Mary in the bible carry a child without any human influence. They will remain childless, irrespective of how great their desire.

The normal route for a believer is outlined in the scriptures, as you are transformed by the renewing of your mind by the Word, you walk in the supernatural naturally. You see Christians pursuing signs and the spectacular when God said these signs shall follow you (Mark 16:17), we put the cart before the horse and we wonder why we can’t move.

Nobody in all scripture who had a personal miraculous supernatural/paranormal encounter with God ever sought it, it sought them!

Sometimes the manifestations of the supernatural are more a result of our childishness than our spirituality. A child may require a lot of noise, signs and showy activities in order to come to the parent, but an adult by reason of maturity can from the look on his parent’s face, decipher if his parent desires him to come or go, without a word ever being spoken. One Christian boasts that God spoke to him to give a person in distress, financial aid, another Christian without ever hearing any voice, but seeing a person in distress offers the same financial aid. The first Christian may think himself more spiritual but needing to hear the voice of God in an obvious matter of compassion, shows he has such a hardened heart that it requires God to speak to him before he does what the other Christian who by reason of maturity in love does without being specially prompted.

God may give these ‘paranormal’ experiences simply because without it, the believer due to his/her bias will never enter God’s plan or will for him/her, without a vision he won’t marry her and because God would not have him make such a mistake, he obliges his ignorance. Like Thomas in scripture who declared that unless he had an experiential meeting of Christ, he would not believe the testimony given to him, Jesus did come and he did believe, but Jesus stated ‘because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed’ (John 20:24-29). In other words, Jesus considered the one who holds on in faith simply because it is written (or spoken) a higher quality of faith than the one who holds on because of his experience in the flesh.

 There is the normal path by which God operates in the life of believers, to speak, lead and guide, it is not always flashy.

Many have taken the Para-normal working of God in some believers and have thought it was to be normal experience for all believers

The more spiritually matured one is the one who because he has so abode in the Word and the Word abode in him, that he feels, thinks, speaks and acts the will of God in every given situation naturally. So that while someone has to see a vision of people perishing in hell in order to preach, he/she is preaching because it is congruent with the Word; the great commission, passion to please the father and love for the lost. While someone has to hear God tell him audibly the name of the girl he is to marry, he has found a wife based on the qualities of the Word; of faith, of the inner beauty of a quiet spirit, of reverence and love for God, of respect and submission to authorities. While someone has to have a prophet tell him where God wants him to work, he/she knows God wants him to be in a particular place because of the opportunity of ministry, not the size of a paycheck or the fame of men.

Many people have gotten deceived by deceiving spirits and by their own flesh while seeking these supernatural visits, without realizing the Word and the whole Christian experience is supernatural. Because they are so keen to hear a voice, they hear anything and even though it disagrees with scripture they plough in that direction and out of the will of God for them. Others have gotten frustration because they fail to realize each Christian in the faith is as different as each snow flake that falls to the ground and how God communes with us differs. The church is the body of Christ, some parts of the body are more ticklish than others, some are more sensitive to heat than others, so also in the body of Christ some of us are more inclined to supernatural experiences than others, some of us are more sensitive to spiritual happenings than others but we are all one body and of equal importance but different functions and our functions determine our abilities and experiences, but in all this we all share the same commonality of faith. So if you are the shoulder in the body of Christ don’t think you are missing out because you are not as ticklish as the side ribs, because you can bear the weight, the side ribs brethren will be crushed under.

You don’t need God to specially tell you to evangelize, He said so in His word. You don’t need God to miraculously tell you to forgive, He already said it. Be faithful in the general word spoken and when the time comes He will guide you even in the specifics of life. Pursue what God has promised you, pursue a deeper intimacy with God (Phil 3:10), pursue a greater manifestation of His presence and power for life and ministry (Acts 4:30,31,33), pursue to know Him and who you are in Him (Eph 1:16-19), pursue His purposes and His will for salvation to all men (2 pet 3:19, Rev 11:15), pursue  that you are continually transformed into that perfect image of Christ, perfected in His love, rooted in His Word and matured in Faith (Rom 12:2, 2 cor 3:18, Eph 4:13, phil 3:12).

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