Following without understanding.

August 21, 2007 at 10:37 am 3 comments

Being a follower of Jesus is, it seems to me, by definition,  following without understanding. If we have chosen to follow Jesus as Lord, as Leader, as Master then we have signed on to follow Him even when we don’t get it.

This is an area of great challenge for me.  For a lot of years I was able to do something as a profession in which I was proficient and quite comfortable. It wasn’t as if I didn’t try to do what I thought the Spirit was leading me to do, I normally was just in a zone for which I was trained, competent and comfortable.

The last two years all of that has been stripped away and I am in a position where I am learning to follow even though I don’t understand.  It is a good place to be and one very few of us ever get to because we tend to stay in those places where we are competent, where we are comfortable and where following Jesus is generally doing what we want and asking Him to bless what we are doing.

We don’t have faith because we understand, we understand because we have faith.  This is the place I am being called almost everyday.  I am being called to accept some really important things even though I cannot always satisfy my intellect.  I am learning that understanding is seldom a requirement for obedience.

Take healing for example.  I was raised and trained in a movement where Divine healing was relegated to a time past. Primarily the training I had was directed at my intellect rather than training my spirit to stay in step with the Spirit.  Never in all my years of theological graduate school did we ever ask why Jesus would teach us to request that the norm of heaven would become the norm on earth if He did not intend to answer that request.  Instead we spent our time fitting our understanding into the text, explaining away what Jesus said on the basis of what we could understand.

Healing is part of the normal Christian life.  God put it in His Book, He repeatedly illustrated it in the life of Jesus and since we are called to be like Jesus… 

Today in many churches and denominations, including the one I am most familiar with, praying for people to be healed is often considered to be consorting with the devil while disease is considered a gift from God to make us better Christians.  When understanding is required for following it is no wonder we seldom pray for healing.  Healing defies understanding.

Can you imagine Jesus looking at the blind man, named Bartimaeus and saying, “this blindness of yours is a gift from your Father so that you can become a better person”?  Since we cannot intellectually process how God could actually open his blind eyes we pray instead that God would open the eyes of his heart.

Why is it we are so afraid of being seen as anti-intellectual or being seen as excessive or outlandish when we pray that heaven would break out on earth?  Many churches fear being excessive way more than they fear lacking something.

There is so much about healing I don’t understand. For example: why isn’t everyone I pray for healed?  For most of my life that one question kept me from praying and following.  I didn’t understand so I just didn’t follow. 

I still don’t have an understanding of that question but I know a key ingredient to seeing healing take place is following the Healer without always understanding His ways.

I cannot find anywhere in the Gospels where Jesus expressed concern that upon His return He might not find His followers with excessive understanding.  He does, however, express concern that when He returns He might not find His followers with an excess of faith.  (Luke 18:8)

That is where I am.  I spent most of my life in training for ministry and doing ministry trying to understand.  Now I am just trying to follow, even when I don’t undertand.

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Entry filed under: Authority, Belief, Charismatic, Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Holy Spirit, Institutional church, Jesus, Miracles, Revelation, Supernatural, The Father, Thoughts.

Monday morning meanderings. Vol 8 Fear of sharks.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sumi  |  August 21, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Great post. 🙂

    I often think that people who are serving God with their intellect and understanding alone are really eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil at that point. They are judging things by whether they appear good or bad and make their choices accordingly.
    As christians we are called to eat from the tree of life…who is Jesus himself: “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” It is a faith walk through and through and it is not dependent on our own interpretation of what we think is good for us or not. It trancends that, it is something altogether different from the cerebral experience and is a vital, real, intimate, life-giving relationship with the lover of our souls. A visiting preacher once told us: “We were never meant to know ‘good’, we were meant to know ‘God’.”

  • 2. Jenn  |  August 21, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    The “faith” element is lost when we gain understanding. “Faith” itself is required in order to believe the salvation message. Yet so many only want to believe part of the story. Not even in our own wildest imagination could we have come up with the coming of Christ, nor with the death of Him, but we still believe in that. I would rather live believing that all things in the word of God are relevant to me today, just as they were back then, than cut any part out, and live in my own knowledge and understanding. I am human after all, and have a tendency to think more highly of myself than I ought to. It’s really easy to squeeze Christ out as I place myself on the throne. I think of the many miracles that I have seen and have heard of, and it makes me incredibly sad that believers in Christ will not believe in “The Christ” who heals and restores just because they can’t understand it. What a personal and loving God we serve, He sees our needs and responds. He is not far off, He is right here and He still moves!!!!

  • 3. JP  |  August 21, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    John’s disciples asked “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

    What would we get today asking that of many Christians and their leaders?
    “I’ve the the biggest church in ______”
    “My TV ministry is heard round the world”
    “I give money to the poor, the hospitals, the ….”
    “We got 40 people saved last month in our revival”

    I don’t understand how it works but I know Who works it and He so loved the world that He sent His Son to destroy the works of the evil one. Oh yeah, He loves me.

    Thanks,
    JP
    http://abbagod.wordpress.com/

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