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07 October 2010

De-Powering the Name of Jesus

In the old days, Superman could move planets. As if that weren't enough, he could move multiple planets at once. Heck, he could even do this as a teenager! Somewhere along the line, the writers decided that this just wasn't believable enough, I guess, so they brought his powers down to a more realistic ensemble. You know, flying, heat vision, super-cold breath... the more normal things.
The other day I was headed out to lead music for a group of believers that's begun to meet under the name of Ignite City Church. God has given me a gift and He gave me the desire to cultivate it and use it for His sake. I can play guitar and sing with enough skill not to be terribly distracting, and it's a privilege to share that gift, because most of the time I don't have tangible things (like money) to share. But I can always freely share this gift of music and give the assembled body of Christ the avenue of music as an expression of worship.

"Kinda like Peter and John," I briefly reasoned. Then I thought of the passage I'd learned as a kid in a song:

Peter and John went to pray.
They met a lame man on the way.
He asked for alms and held out his palms,
And this is what Peter did say:

"Silver and gold have I none;
But such as I have give I thee.
In the name of Jesus Christ
Of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"

The last half of that verse direcctly quotes the KJV in Acts 3:6. And I was inclined to think of a modern-day version of that Scripture, for some reason. This is what I might say if I were to talk with a crippled person in a similar situation: "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, here's a little song I want to play for you that I know you'll find to be encouraging."

Hmm. Now, I believe that God still performs miraculous healing. At least, I think I do. But I realized that we often take a great, supernatural, holy God and put Him in our little box of de-powered expectations: impractical things we're pretty sure He won't actually do. Oh sure, God can heal, but He probably won't. God can miraculously provide funds in a desperate financial situation, but He probably won't. God can intervene in almost every situation, but He probably won't.

What faith!

Not sure of your stance on the miraculous; whether certain gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer "necessary" in today's world (a dangerous place to begin one's thought processes) or whether there are charlatans who take advantage of people in the name of Jesus Christ (there certainly are!), but there's little doubt to me that many believers have de-powered God in our own minds. Just like what the editors did to Superman, it makes God a little more "believable," wouldn't you say?

I will continue to freely give and use the gifts I've been given for lifting up the Church and sharing the message of Christ, but I'm anxious to tear up my De-powered God Box.


Tony M said...

Reminds me of James 1:5-8, where James mentions that, when we ask of God, we should do so with faith, believing, and without doubting. It's that doubting that has us de-powering God, I think: "Well, I asked for such-and-such resolution to my problem, but nothing changed." - so, next time, the prior experience reinforces even more doubt, more de-powering of God, and this cycle continues until there is no power left in the saint's prayers, since there is no faith to go along with those prayers. "Faith the size of a mustard seed will see mountains moved" - doesn't take much, but it does take faith.

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