Those who know me know that I am a ponderer. I need to know what’s going on with life. Sometimes I think myself into a state of near immobility. It is difficult for me to see just how scarce the life of God is in Christianity. The church, God love her, has failed to offer that abundance of spiritual fruit that Jesus and His peeps did.
That bothers me. Because Jesus said that His guys would be able to do even greater things than Him…not that I’m looking for miracles for some kind of verification…it’s just what He said. And He sealed His people with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Him. Inside you and me. Shouldn’t it make life so much more wonderful? Eventful? Powerful?
So where is it?
Jesus described the kingdom of God as a mystery. The Holy Spirit was to come and clarify all things to His guys – and that includes you and me. But it was a mystery, because the kingdom of God is a spiritual place. We lived primarily in the physical. God sent Jesus to get us reconnected to Him, through the Spirit, and this brings heaven to us here and now.
Didn’t Jesus mean what He said?
But it is still mysterious, right? I mean, when you were reborn, did you realize the full package immediately? I didn’t. And the church makes things more confusing by teaching that the things that Jesus said aren’t meant for us. But Jesus didn’t say that. And if He doesn’t refute His teachings, then I’m not going to bank on the word of others that try.
Here’s a couple of doozies: preach the kingdom, heal the sick, cast out demons, cleanse lepers, and raise the dead. Ah, but that’s just for the likes of Peter, James, and John, they say. But what did Jesus say? He gave them authority to do it. Permission and power from heaven, from the King.
I didn’t know that I couldn’t cast out demons
You know it’s funny, before I ever became a kingdom citizen I cast a demon out of a friend of mine. I didn’t know it wasn’t possible. I was about 17 years old. We were up late one night. We were drinking. At a certain point he suggested we go outside. We got to the door and he started acting really weird. He closed the door repeatedly on his hand, breaking it. I got him outside, where he started talking in another voice. He didn’t make any sense. So I did the first thing that came to mind: I commanded the demon to come out of him in the name of Jesus. I don’t know, I think I heard my older brother say it before. He immediately snapped out of it. My friend was back.
He asked me how we got outside and what was happening. We were both completely sober now. Before I could explain, he fell to the ground and started screaming. I thought, what the heck?! He stood back up, looked me in the eye, laughed this other-worldly cackle, and said, “You don’t know Jesus! Now I’m going to take your friend for a swim – and he’s never coming back!” He started running toward the lake to drown my buddy!
I caught him and carried him on my shoulder back to the place. I babysat him for another couple of hours, but then I had to go home (still under curfew). That’s okay, I thought, because he’s fast asleep in the house.
As a precaution, I stole his car keys and hid them in the springs under his driver’s seat. That way, if he had another episode at least he couldn’t drive. Boy, was I wrong. The police told me later that they got a call at 2:10 am from someone saying that they saw my buddy running around outside beating things up. They dispatched a cruiser. At 2:15 am, five minutes later, they got a cell call from a trucker at a place at least 45 minutes away, screaming that a raving lunatic on the Portage River bridge had crashed his car and was coming after him. The trucker had stopped to help my friend. Half the car was in the water below. It flipped multiple times and broke apart on the guard rail. My friend had no injuries save the broken hand from before.
The police had to hog-tie my friend, he was so strong
I was working at Marco’s Pizza when the police found me the next day. When was the last time you saw him? How did he get to the bridge so fast? They told me that he was super-strong and tried to beat them up. They had to hog-tie his hands and ankles behind his back. I didn’t see him for several more days.
When I became a Christian in 1992, there weren’t people around to teach me. No Sunday school, no formal meetings, no one telling me what to do. Before I started to get discipled in a church, I didn’t know that I couldn’t heal people. I did it several times for others, and lots for myself. When I started getting a cold or flu I would “will it away”.
It wasn’t until I learned better that heavenly activities like healing and casting out demons started to make me uncomfortable. People think that Satan might be real and hurting people, but are too afraid to do anything about it. I’m not saying that I got it all right. But before I was “churched” I instinctively did some of the stuff that every disciple should do…according to Jesus.
It was like the book of Acts…
A buddy of mine came to visit in Cambodia recently. He’s a little further along. He has less doubts than I do. So what did we do for his visit? Go to visit temples? See the sights? Royal palace perhaps? Nope. We ran all over Cambodia preaching the kingdom, healing the sick, and casting out demons. Like Jesus said. Like He did. Like Jesus’ disciples did. Woohoo! You mean to tell me…it’s like the book of Acts – “And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe.” When was the last time you felt that way at church?
Jesus said that God gave all authority in heaven and on earth to Him. I’m choosing to believe Him. He said to go and make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them to observe or guard all that He commanded. I’m choosing to obey Him. I’m not going to give Satan the pleasure of seeing me cave to some organizational, church-culture based fear. If I try and I fail, I will try again. When I succeed, I will praise my Father who makes it all possible.
I choose to believe Him.
These things aren’t so mysterious anymore. Jesus has the power. He gives it to His guys. His disciples get to go around telling demons and sickness who is boss. Jesus defeated the devil at the cross. The wounds that He took to heal you and me. The Spirit in us gives us both the authority and power to do it.
Who are you going to believe? A defeated devil clutching at his last power – deception? Men, who are so easily swayed and tossed around by whatever doctrine drives their organization? Or will you choose to believe the Lord of glory, the Prince of peace, the King of kings – by whose wounds He healed you, and by whose authority you are to rule on this planet?