River of God | Day 11
Scripture Verse &/OR citations
When considering moves of God in charismatic circles, especially in the context of revival, we often find ourselves wondering about the way God chooses to present Himself to His people. We’ve all heard or witnessed people falling on their faces under the power of the Presence, or having open visions in worship. There is, however, this internal battle to challenge these experiences against the notion of “balance”. Let’s explore the idea of balance within the river.
One of the reasons we reject revival is that God often appears in extremes. While He never comes with imbalanced truth or doctrine, He will often restore truths with an imbalanced emphasis. For example, has your church ever had a “missions month”, or a season in which they placed importance on supporting missionaries? This is an example of focused emphasis, or imbalanced emphasis.
While doctrine and truth can (and should) be balanced, God will sometimes bring imbalanced emphasis on a doctrine or truth for a season. This even applies to our personal lives. Consider the fruit of the Spirit. Our goal is to have a balance of all the fruit — but we might find that He wants to emphasize a specific behavior for a season. And in the end, this emphasis will help us become more balanced overall.
We must be careful with balance. We have made it an important cornerstone of the way we operate in our lives and our churches. But what is balance for me at the time, might not be balance for you. And balance is not rooted in a doctrine, creed, or belief system. It’s possible that in our pursuit of balance, we become like the Pharisees - searching the Scriptures, yet still not knowing God.
Balance isn’t measured by normality. A desire for respectability might be mistaken for a desire for balance. But if we’re considered “normal” by the world’s standards, then there's a chance we are out of balance biblically. Balance is rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. The more radical we are in our commitment to Him, the more balanced we are. Love Him with all your passion and allow Him to determine what’s right for you.
Balance is a major issue in any season of revival. In an environment where strange and supernatural things happen, it is important to understand the value of balance in the Kingdom and its appropriate place. When revival breaks out, the key is letting go of our traditional order. We must allow the Holy Spirit to come in and do what He wants, emphasize the truth He wants, and do so without abandoning everything else He has taught us up to that point. (The revelation He brings in these seasons are addendum, not replacements.)
While manifestations of the Spirit grab our attention, they cannot be the truths we build on. Those of us who believe God still does the unusual, supernatural things in our day have brought much of our persecution on ourselves. We have made peripheral happenings sacred truths, trying to make doctrines of them. In our hunger to see supernatural events, we have manufactured counterfeits in the flesh. But signs and wonders are for signs and wonders, not for imitating as patterns.
Sometimes, we become so desperate to see God move in supernatural ways that we end up operating in the flesh. This will create confusion, disillusionment, and division. When confronted about it, it’s tempting to defend it in an effort to ‘contend for the faith’. But it would be much wiser to own our weaknesses and work to correct them.
We must guard against a mentality that must see something physically to believe that God is ministering to someone spiritually. This has been true of many gatherings, where falling under the power of God, or holy laughter, or other manifestations of the Spirit become the measuring stick for how God moved in that service. However, sometimes the work He does isn’t visible from the outside. And if we push the idea that the outside represents the inside, we will create pressure for people to recreate previous manifestations of the Spirit rooted in a desire to belong — no one wants to be the “unspiritual” one left standing.
If we can’t measure the power of what God is doing through outer evidence alone, then how can we know? His manifestation of power will be evident when the Holy Spirit is being poured out in a fresh way. It is not only the physical manifestations we’re looking for, but we are looking for changed lives and behavior.
We must guard against extremes of the flesh while allowing the extremes of the Spirit. We should not seek physical manifestations, nor should we be afraid or ashamed of them when they occur. Let us continue to strive for balance by embracing the extremes of God.