I heard God sigh this morning – a big, deep, heavy sigh. Like He did at times with the disciples: “Oh you of little faith! How long shall I put up with you?”
Why the sigh? Because so many of us are still in diapers!
Don’t misunderstand! God loves us! God takes us where we are, and then works to develop us into the very image of His Son. We’re supposed to think like Jesus, talk like Jesus and act like Jesus!
…and therein lies the problem!
God is perfectly ok starting from scratch, but He wants us to grow up! He needs warriors, not toddlers in diapers. He’s a coach, not a babysitter. I’m not trying to be insulting, but we have got to get this! I do, and you do.
I was reading in Mark 7 when I heard this deep sigh. Starting in verse 24, it tells a story about Jesus traveling to the vicinity of Tyre, just up the coast from Israel in Syrian Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon). The story goes that Jesus entered a house and tried to keep his presence there a secret. More than likely He was tired and needed to rest. But a lady found out He was there, came immediately to see Him, fell at His feet and begged Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter. Note that she was a Greek, not a Jew, and there is some good missiology in that part of their dialog!
Now this is NOT the point, but I can’t leave it hanging either: Jesus cast out the demon remotely! In other words, sitting where He was, with the girl in another location (she didn’t come with her Mom), He cast out the demon! Awesome stuff!
But I heard God sigh.
He asked me, “Why don’t people come looking for you? You know, people who need help, when they hear that you’ve come to their area, why don’t they come looking for you?”
A few years back I would have offered what I thought was a good, rational explanation. But God has been working on me in this area, and I knew better. For the sake of being clear, let’s go there:
So many Christians would say something like this: “Well, Lord…you know…we’re talking about JESUS! You know? Son of God? All powerful? OF COURSE people came to Him! And naturally He could drive out demons from afar! Duh! But me, Lord? You know, I do good to get through the day without blowing it too bad. On the good days I might give a witness for you. That’s my role in life. You understand this, right? There are miles between what Jesus can do and what I can do! Right?”
Understand these principles:
1. Your God is not a haphazard God, and Jesus, while on earth, was not a haphazard Savior. EVERYTHING He did was done strategically, on purpose and done for our example. He wants us to follow His example. He wants us to do what He did!
2. If you have read the New Testament through at least once, or been to church much, you know that Jesus said “I expect you to do greater things than I have done!” Here’s the exact verse:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” –John 14:12-14
Are you born again? The Bible says you got there by “believing in Jesus.” Jesus, above, says that the one who believes in Him WILL DO greater works than He did while on earth. It’s a simple statement. Don’t mettle with it. Don’t rationalize it away or diminish it. Jesus said you, the believer, would do “greater things.”
Why don’t we? Most of us walk around with this false humility. We think we honor God by putting ourselves down. God is “way up there,” doing crazy stuff like casting out demons remotely and raising the dead, and we’re down here just trying not to blow it today. Our thinking is so messed up!
If you’re a believer, Jesus wants you to do greater things than He did! He wants you to do those things the same way He did them. He needs for you to get this and go after it. He needs for you to grow up.
3. Jesus DID NOT raise the dead as God. No, no He did not! He raised the dead as a human being full of God’s Holy Spirit! Orthodox theology says that Jesus, while on earth, was “100% God, and 100% man.” Now follow me logically. You and I can never be God. Not going to happen! But Jesus just said that He expects you and I, as believers, to do greater works than He did while on earth. Are you getting this? For Him to say that, we must logically conclude that EVERYTHING He did down here, except for His work on the Cross, He did in His “100% man” state filled with God’s Holy Spirit!
For some of you, that statement is messing with your theology. Understand what I’m saying. I’m not saying Jesus wasn’t God while on earth. The whole “100% God and 100% man” thing is a mind bender. The Cross, we know clearly, is something that only Jesus could do. We cannot do “greater” than the Cross. But again, if we can NEVER be God (and that’s a fact!), yet Jesus says we will do “greater things” than He did, it means that we are able to do those “greater things” the same way He did them: as a man FULL of God’s Holy Spirit. The last thing I want to do is stumble you in your faith, so if you still don’t understand, or you think this is wrong, let’s talk some more. Leave me a note below.
Do you have God’s Holy Spirit? The Bible says that God delights to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask! (Luke 11:13).
(Ok, one more side trip: some Christians believe we all receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, others say you receive “the fullness” of the Holy Spirit later, when you ask. Know what? I don’t care, and I don’t think God cares what you believe about HOW you receive the Spirit…just DO IT! People have been arguing this for hundreds of years and we’re not going to finally settle it today. The important thing is that we make sure we are walking each day full of God’s Holy Spirit.)
Just think! What if? What if you really lived your life doing what Jesus did? What if you did “greater works” than Jesus did? What if people heard you were in town and came to you? Wouldn’t it be wonderful?! Can you imagine the people you could touch for the Lord? Think about the people you’re in contact with that have nobody else but you. Your pastor doesn’t know them. In some cases you may be the only Christian they know! Do you want to be that Christian that is so immature that all you can think about is getting through another day? You have nothing to offer? You can’t even pray a faith-filled prayer for a fellow struggling human being?
No. No! It’s time to get up, throw off the lies and chains the Devil has put you in, and walk the earth like a son or daughter of God, FULL of God’s Holy Spirit, doing greater works!
I’ll close with one last “straw man” argument. What about pride? What about letting all this go to your head? Let me be clear: God won’t do “greater things” through you if you are taking the credit. I’ve written about this before, and you can read it here. For God’s power and anointing to rest on you, you must fully understand that it’s not because of who you are that these “greater things” are happening. No. No. No. It’s because of the Lord, and His desire to bless people, and His desire to bless people through you and through me! But we aren’t God. We will never be God. And we won’t even do “greater things” unless we get this firmly in our thinking and deep in our hearts – the John 15 principle: Jesus said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches…without Me you can do…nothing.” Let that soak in. You understand “nothing,” right?
What next? Pray for an overhaul (guys) and a makeover (girls). You and I both know how deeply ingrained our wrong thinking has become. Many of us sit under pastors who also have believed these same lies. Surrender again to God. Tell Him that you want to walk the earth like the man or woman He created you to be. Tell Him that you are eager to be useful to Him, touching all the people in your world. Not in pride, but because you’re full of His Spirit and you have GOOD STUFF to give out–His good stuff–you want people to come looking for you!!! Tell Him you want to do greater things!
Then strap in and get ready. Here it comes! And best of all…
God won’t sigh over you anymore! You know what? I want to turn His sigh into a big grin and a deep joy, as my Father sees His son doing what He created me to do! Amen? Amen. Let’s go!