12: The Higher Christian Life is Not About Seeking Signs
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Salvation and Signs Are Not the Same Thing
Often, in our search for the Higher Christian Life, we can be easily led astray from simple, child-like faith to demanding a sign or some miraculous proof to believe. And this detour from what pleases the Lord (faith) to the abyss of doubt can happen subtly, under the cover of darkness, like a growing cancer, until we no longer seek for more of Him. Instead, we seek more of what He can do or how what He does makes us feel. Seeking signs or “attesting miracles” is the opposite of faith. Please understand, we can have faith in signs themselves, but that is not faith in Jesus. It is faith in what Jesus has done, or will do, or how He “wow’s” us with His majesty, but it is not faith in the Person of Jesus Christ nor the Person of the Holy Spirit. And the Higher Christian Life is not about seeking signs, but about seeking more of Him.
For example, Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest, January 2nd, says the following:
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is.
Read the entry again this way,
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? Fair question. Nothing wrong with seeking the will of God.
He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do. Why not? Because faith doesn’t grow by knowing the future or having all the answers in advance. Faith is built by knowing the One who knows the future and resting in Him.
He reveals to you Who He is. And that should be enough. A child doesn’t need an explanation from his father about how the house payment is going to be made each month or what steps have been taken to make sure breakfast is on the table each morning. He just needs to know the character and trustworthiness of his father and rest or abide in that. So it is with the Lord.
Or, to put it another way, “Lord, I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but You promised never to leave me nor forsake me. But I am afraid and worried and full of doubt. Would you please do (you fill in the blank with a sign or miracle that fits your situation) so I will trust You when I see the miracle You will perform? Just give me this one sign that Your Word is true and You keep Your promises, and I will never doubt again.” This is not faith. It is disbelief until God proves Himself, disguised as faith. And God seldom, if ever, honors this kind of non-faith, especially when we seek the Higher Christian Life.
The Danger of Seeking Signs
When we pray to surrender our lives to the Lord, to sort of test-drive this Higher Christian Life, we often end our prayers expecting something out of the ordinary to happen. We’re not sure what, but if something doesn’t happen to make us go, “Wow,” we assume nothing spiritually happened. Therefore our faith rests in the sign, the something or lack of something that did or didn’t happen, rather than in the Word of God or the promises of Jesus. Then doubt sets in. Deep.
“Well, I prayed like they told me to, and when I finished, I didn’t feel any different. I thought something would happen, maybe get some warm fuzzies, or sense some type of peace, or speak in fluent French, or maybe have Jesus stand before me and bless me… I don’t know, just something! But since nothing happened (which means no signs or special feelings or goosebumps that last an hour), then I guess this stuff doesn’t work and I’d be better off not even trying anymore. Hey, I gave it a shot, and hit nothing.”
But the Higher Christian Life is not found in the seeking of signs. It is found, like salvation, by faith in the Word of God and the trustworthiness of Jesus. Our faith must be in the Person of Jesus and not in the signs He performs. And the difference between these two, basically in the object of our faith, is the difference between truly experiencing the Higher Christian Life or going home with a worthless participation trophy for just being on the team.
And nobody wants that, do they?
So as your faith grows to the point that (1) you believe the Higher Christian Life is possible, and (2) you believe it is possible and meant for you, consider the following promise of our Lord. And ask yourself, “Do I believe His words to be true?” And if so, then rest in them.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give (who) the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” – Luke 11:13.
If we ask, He will respond. And He will gladly give the Holy Spirit to us like the best father you know would give good gifts to his children. So let your faith rest in His promise, and not in a sign, He may choose to give, or not give, you.