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The spiritual reality gap

The Spiritual Reality Gap What I Believe——————————————————What I’ve Experienced The Spiritual Reality Gap We’re an educated but cynical society. We read a lot about the power …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

The Spiritual
Reality Gap

What I
Believe——————————————————What I’ve

The Spiritual
Reality Gap

We’re an educated but cynical society. We read a lot
about the power and intimacy of God, but live lives that give no evidence of his
majesty or tenderness. The reality of our experience can’t support the weight
of what we say we believe. Over time, something has to
give. I call this gulf between belief and experience the
Spiritual Reality Gap.

I was raised as a good Evangelical. Basically, we
Evangelicals are agnostic about God pouring out his supernatural power thru us.
Because our teachers have so little experience with the miraculous, they don’t
talk about it, and some (John McArthur comes to mind) even have the gall to
construct a theology to support their lack of experience. Never mind that if
they would just buy a ticket to Mozambique, they could talk to dozens
of people who have seen the dead raised.

So, I have to ask myself the question that many in this
current generation are asking, “When do we get to do the stuff?” Jesus promised
us in John 14:12, that we’d do even greater things than he did, so how do we
live out the reality of that verse? How do we close the gap between that
promise and our own experience?

My own response to the Spiritual Reality Gap in my life has been
to throw myself out there and hang out with people for whom the gap has
narrowed. If you talk big but are like the Texan who is “all hat and no
cattle,” then I’ll politely ask you to move along.

And I think young people today are with me on this.
They are sick to death of the Spiritual Reality Gap and will do almost anything
to close it. I’m making it my aim to help them.

A great book to help you wrestle thru this issue is The
Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind
by Bill

Comments (7)

  • I know God is moving supernaturally. It also drives me crazy when people try to justify, or tame Him… With that said, I would respectfully like to add that God can’t be commanded or controlled. Sometimes he moves supernaturally and delivers and heals people and other times he does not. His response to our circumstances is not always a result of our faith. For example, take the two faithful churches found in Revelation. To Philadelphia he says “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Yet to Smyrna he says, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Both are faithful churches, yet one church is “kept” from the “hour of testing” and the other is commanded to be “faithful, even to the point of death.” In terms of sickness and death I have seen faithful believers supernaturally healed and I’ve seen others go on to be with the Lord. Lately, I’ve been crying out daily for healing and have yet to be delivered. However, I would venture to say I have learned more in the last six months, than I have in the last 10 years. I live expecting God to move, but ultimately I have no control over when or what He does.

  • ” ‘When do we get to do the stuff?’ Jesus promised us in John 14:12, that we’d do even greater things than he did, so how do we live out the reality of that verse?”

    Your question reminds me of sooo many experiences of youth. Moments where we were anxious to do what the older kids were doing. Or those times when Dad or the coach was explaining how to hit the ball or ride the bike. They could not lift their hands quick enough from mine before I would want to take a crack at the ball like Mickey Mantle or Roberto Clemente or move quickly down the road on two wheels like Evel Kneval (sp)without their help.

    It took me a while to understand the verse you wrote of….and what I discovered suprised me. My explanation may or may not make sense. BUT, I will offer it in hopes it might.

    You must remember, the Gospel of John is written to encourage a community of Christians in like the year 80…not 2007. The writer of the gospel had made a discovery that remains true today. And, the verse you speak of addresses a small part of that discovery.

    The writer of the gospel is allowing Jesus to tell Phillip (or the community of believers) something very basic about their relationship with God in this portion of the Gospel of John. He/She, the writer(s), is allowing the community to know they have the power to reach out touch and heal each other with the grace of God nearby.

    Think of this chapter as a summary lesson of the secret behind Jesus’s healing power. All too often we think of the big hit or winning the Tour de France as the miracles we wish to be apart of…..Yet, the power of your smile this day will turn for another a terrible day into a marvelous one.

    You sir are GREAT!

    Have a wonderful day!

  • Wrestling with this again as I pray and pray for and over Shari. She has been having significant pain in her side. It’s been diagnosed as either her pancreas or her gall bladder (most likely the latter). The issue isn’t that the doctors can’t fix it. The question is, “Why won’t God respond to my prayers through a miraculous healing?” I command her body in Jesus name to be healed, just like Peter, Paul, and Jesus did (well, the latter didn’t in His own name, but you get the idea), and nothing happens. Why? So I wrestle with my belief vs. my experience. Last week a good friend and former pastor died of colon and liver cancer after almost a year of intercession, fasting by the church, and plenty of oil and hands laid on. Why? I ask, yet continue to trust God’s goodness and love for me. Some day I’ve gotta believe I’ll get it – either why, or how… or that neither are really that important.

  • Amazing!!! Thanks for talking about it! This week I was talking to my dad exactly about this! I asked him how come Jesus gave us authority to do great things in His name but so many christians (at least in my church) don´t experience this miracles in their lives! Thank you, thank you and thank you! That´s what our generation needs, we need to believe and experience what the Bible says! That´s what a true loving relationship with the Lord means to me.

  • Praise the Lord! You are right on this one. I finally feel like after 25 years of being a christian that I am finally getting it. i have struggled with anger and bitterness towards my biblical influencs (past and current church) about not realizing and accepting the fact that God is supernatural!! This last year has been a year of discovering God in supernatural ways. The simple prayer and step of faith, “Lord, reveal yourself to me in ways I know it is from you…” changed my life forever.

    I am with you on surrounding myself with the group of people that embrace John 14:12, accept the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit and give God all the credit he is due.

    It is like the majority of christians out there only believe certain parts of the bible to be true. In order to grasp the goodness/wholeness of God, we must accept all of the scriptures as truth to our year 2007 lives. we cannot argue that God wanted the disciples to have healing power, but not us. The same Holy Spirit lives inside us that lived inside of them. God is in heaven with blessings pour out of His hand….just waiting for us to acknowledge that it is Him, not us, doing the miracles, signs and wonders!!

    Keep preaching the truth!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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