Sep 28, 2010
Poor Mans Revelation
I think one of the biggest things I’ve found myself trying to strangle out of my spiritisthat dreadful, us-verses-them mentality that seems to creep to the surface of my heart when I’m in the midst of another frustrating conversation with someone who clearly hasn’t begun the “grace walk.” I’ve got a lot of Christian friends who are still in bondage to religious thinking and they all think I’m off my rocker because of the things I write about. For the most part I try not to get into any meaningful “God conversations” with these people because it’s like banging my head against a brick wall. Every now and then I’ll think I saw a twinkle of something flickering in one of their eyes like they may be about to get this, and I’ll jump up on their lap and start explaining the grace message at a hundred miles an hour. Before long I realize that, that twinkle I thought I saw, wasn’t a twinkle at all. It was just the lighting in the room coupled with wishful thinking on my part. I usually end up walking away feeling embarrassed, frustrated, unheard, judged, hopeless, and misunderstood.
One of these people flat out told me he thought I was arrogant and that I acted like I had come to a “more significant revelation of God than he had.” He insinuated that I was boasting in what I had received from God and was patronizing him because he didn’t see the things I saw. He thought I was purposefully trying to point out his lack of revelation and compare it to my abundance. Truthfully, that was the furthest thing from my mind. I wanted this guy to get this and I did everything I could to help him understand it, but in the process of doing so, it became increasingly obvious that his eyes were not going to open to this and in that process he became understandably insecure.
I remember leaving that confrontation many years ago feeling like I shouldn’t be comparing my revelation to his in any way, and the very fact that I could see a difference at all was proof that I had crossed some invisible line of “spiritual correctness.” I remember trying to convince myself in some kind of politically correct sort of way that in the future I shouldn’t acknowledge anyone’s lack of revelation as a “lack of revelation.” If I were truly spiritual I would be as blind as a bat to things like that. It brought me back to the whole politically correct racism conversation where somehow we’re not supposed to notice that Asian people are smart or Irish people have red hair.
There is clearly a powerful move of God that is taking place across the world where our understanding of who He really is, is being expanded in ways we’ve only dreamed about. This current revelation of God so life-changing and significant that I can tell who “gets it” and who doesn’t from a helicopter hovering two miles above the earth. I’ve come to the conclusion that, like it or not, there is an obvious difference between people who have received this and people who are blind to it. I will no longer beat myself up for being able to detect this difference. This isn’t to say that I think I am more spiritual than people who don’t get this message, but I will say that I’m more free than I was before I opened my eyes to this.
Having said all of this, I think it raises a significant question that must be answered. Why do some people get this immediately and others can’t see it to save their lives?
What does it take to “get this” revelation?
Is this a matter of God giving it to each of us or did our eyes open because of something we did?
I understand that it’s become very popular for people to say things like, “God just hasn’t revealed this to them right now,” or “They just haven’t come to this in their journey yet.” I’m not dismissing the idea that there might be a timing issue connected to this, but I think my biggest question is whether or not the “timing” has to do with “God’s timing” or ours. Is this something that God opens our eyes to, or is it something that WE open our eyes to? THAT is precisely where I want to park for a moment.
I believe that most modern day Christians would say without hesitation that this understanding we possess concerning the heart of God is something that only God Himself can open people's eyes to. The problem with believing this way is that many people end up with that overly spiritual glassy-eyed look on their faces, bumping and tripping over things right in front of them because they’re trying to focus their eyes on the unseen realm. The “revelation from God” mentality sometimes causes people to start looking for signs on cereal boxes and produce stickers in a desperate attempt to hear from an inaudible God so they can get the divine password their friends have gotten, and be in the club. I’m not denying that God gives us revelation, but I think He does that in the course of life. When we set out to specifically GET revelation from God in the spiritual realm I think we often go spiritually overboard and do some pretty whacky stuff in the process.
Let’s face it; it’s hip to get something straight up from God Himself. When you actually get the thing that you claim you got from God, it feels TOTALLY cool because you’re the onewho got it. For one thing, it appears to everyone including yourself that He’s not mad at you. You feel good about yourself, confident and strong. Claiming divine revelation rocks the house when you’re the one who received it. When you’re not that person however, it sucks big time. You walk around feeling as insecure as you did in junior high, wondering if you said or did the right thing, worrying you might be in trouble with God, or if you just missed Him altogether.
It’s not surprising that when we start talking about a new revelation and understanding of God, some people get defensive and close down. I think the reason why most people who don’t “get this” are intimidated and insecure when it’s presented to them is because they don’t think they have what it takes to get to the “spiritual level” they think they need to get to in order to receive something like this from God. I think that this “get it from God” way of thinking is the primary problem.
Most people have tried to be that deep supernatural person they’ve dreamed about, but for some reason the heavens didn’t open up to them like they seemed to for the traveling evangelist or the famous author who gave them the “three steps to reaching God.” They can’t even imagine what kind of “pressing into God” it would take to get what we have, so they just give up. The climb is just too intimidating. The fact that they don’t understand it NOW is proof to them that God has rejected them and has hidden this away on the grounds of their own spiritual incompetence. When they see that someone clearly has something they don’t have, they automatically assume it’s because they didn’t jump through the same spiritual hoops as that person did.
I think the majority of Protestant Christians have been taught specific steps they must take in the spiritual realm in order to obtain revelation from God. They’ve been drilled with a lifetime of three-point sermons that outline step by step what supernatural calisthenics they must perform in order to hear and know His heart. In addition to this, they’ve also been given a lengthy list of things they must NEVER do, and another list of personalcommitments they must make and master before God will open their eyes and ears to revelation of Him. Some have been taught that real revelation requires the pulling out of the supernatural “big dogs” like fasting, praying in tongues, a Greek and Hebrew dictionary and an olympic sized swimming pool of anointing oil. Amazingly, even after all that, I have found that people who diligently subscribe to all these religious practices are the least likely to get this message. Though these practices have their place in the Christian life, they are not the avenue through which this particular revelation comes.
So what does it take to get this message?
When a person isn’t getting this, it’s not because they haven’t spent enough time in the Bible. It’s not because they haven’t prayed or fasted enough, and it’s not because they harbor some secret unconfessed sin in their life. In fact, it has nothing to do with any of these things. The revelation of the grace and love of God is plain as day to some and yet completely confounding to others. God actually made it this way and He takes great pleasure in it being this way. The deciding factor which determines whose eyes pop open and whose eyes don’t is NOT based on spirituality; It’s based on HONESTY.
I learned almost ten years ago when I first started preaching this message that if I could get people to a point of absolute honesty with themselves, they’d get it. Almost every sermon I preached back in the beginning, started out with about twenty minutes of me trying everything in my power to prep the people so they would willingly put their guard down and JUST BE HONEST for once in their lives. I knew then, that if someone was willing to let go of all their religious obligations and be completely sincere with themselves about what was working and what wasn’t, they would receive this.
I call this revelation, “A Poor Man’s Revelation.” I love it. I love the fact that ANYONE can get this. The playing field has been leveled. You don’t have to be a Greek or Hebrew Scholar. You don’t have to be an eloquent “prayer warrior” or a super spiritual Guru. It doesn’t take any special gifting, commitments, or theological training. All it takes is good old-fashioned honesty with yourself. I believe that this fact is what separates the “getters” from the “non-getters.”
It absolutely rocks my world to see how rarely the “spiritually wise” people in the church get this. All their years of study and dedication to the system mean nothing because they refuse to tell the truth to their own heart. On the same note, it’s a total gas to see the number of folks who would be considered spiritual failures by today’s religious standardsbecause of their fumbling prayers, their lack of bible knowledge and their shoddy attendance record, yet they get this message with almost no effort. It’s simple for them because they’ve got nothing to lose by being honest.
I believe that this is the primary difference and reason why those who are in positions of spiritual authority in the church are usually the least likely to get this revelation. They don’t because they won’t. They won’t because it’s offensively simple. Getting it would mean they’d have to admit that all their knowledge and accomplishments don’t mean jack. They’ve spent a lifetime climbing the religious-social ladder, memorizing, supporting and proclaiming church doctrines. They’ve put their belief in a system rather than in an actual person. Many times their entire identity is wrapped up in that system. It’s wrapped up in “being right.” I have found that most Christian leaders will stand there and lie till their dying day rather than come clean about what’s really in their heart. They’ve become so programmed to be dedicated and so dedicated to the program that being honest isn’t even an option anymore. When you spend a lifetime building a kingdom on the foundation of religion, the last thing you will ever do is be honest and risk losing everything in a moment.
I think that in many ways, the Christian “religion” has effectively disqualified thousands of people from simple sincerity. People have been trained to not trust themselves. Over the years I have found that a staggering number of people have been evicted from their own hearts. They’ve been taught to despise themselves so much that many are afraid to even take a peek into themselves to find out what they really think.
Modern day churches have basically evicted people from their own hearts and have taught them to follow a script instead. Surviving in Christianity today is about memorizing the answers and reading the lines. Very little is authentic anymore.
It always amazes me when I am confronted with the one or two people in the crowd who don’t get the message when I preach somewhere. Every one of their comebacks when they debate with me has a scripted sound to it. They literally sound like they’re reading a screenplay that was written by a pastor. I can’t get a personal opinion out of them to save their life. I think people have learned to trust the script over what’s actually on their heart. The religious script is a safety blanket for thousands of people today, and it’s astonishing to watch how quickly a person will go from speaking authentically from their heart to running back to the script the moment they feel intimidated or uncomfortable.
I no longer suggest to people that they should pray to God and ask Him to give this revelation to them. I simply tell people who can’t see this, that they’re not being honest with themselves. They’re believing in a script that they’ve read for years and they’ve never stopped to ask themselves whether it’s working or not. Even though they know damn well it’s NOT working, they will act as if it is, because their social standing and reputation is what really matters to them. I think for many people, getting this message is about coming to the end of their rope. It’s about finally getting to the point where they’ve got nothing more to lose by just flat out being honest. I’ve never believed that this revelation is a deep spiritual one. In fact, that’s what I love so much about it. It’s obvious to little children and impossible for the wise and learned.
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