Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. This is an amazing and challenging truth. This seems to be one of the truths that God desires to emphasize through the Rock River House of Prayer. As people begin to feel stirred to pursue a fasted lifestyle and commit to the HOP they often get excited to operate more in the supernatural. Passages like Joel 2:28-29 get us all fired up:
It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
We want to be taken up to the third heaven like Paul and we want to operate in signs and wonders like the apostles. In our zeal for the supernatural we can feel tempted to abandon or dishonor the natural. But, this is not consistent with the example that Jesus set for us.
I have been reading Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little and I found portions of the third chapter entitled Jesus to be incredibly relevant to this conversation. I have included several passages here:
The deity of Christ is woven into the fabric of everything he said and did! Those who heard him understood and confirmed his claim to be one with God. The things he did were affirming evidence that his words were not clever deceit or the babblings of a demented person.
Jesus was not only fully God; he was also fully human. This is a vital aspect of the person of Christ. If he were not fully human, he could not have represented us on the cross. Also, he could not be the High Priest who comforts and strengthens us. As a man, he has gone through our human experience (Hebrews 2:16-18), and he is fully able to understand and sympathize with us. That is an astonishing truth. (pg. 58)
Christ’s humanity was as real and genuine as his deity. We must maintain belief in both, emphasizing neither at the expense of the other. (pg. 60)
If both Christ’s humanity and his deity must be maintained and emphasized equally, then I think that our natural and supernatural processes should be maintained and emphasized equally. We do not want to over emphasize the natural and risk indulging our naturally sinful nature and giving in to the lusts of our flesh. But neither should we overemphasize the supernatural by focusing too much attention on spiritual encounters and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
I think that there has to be a balance between the two processes within is. We, like Christ, should be in the world, but not of it. Being in the world implies that we are invested and engaged with the natural world of people, relationships, work and cultivating. Being not of this world implies that our eyes are fixed on Jesus and we are looking toward and preparing for the day when His kingdom will finally come to earth.
I think that a lot of us struggle to find this elusive middle ground between the natural and the supernatural. I know that I fall into one camp or the other very easily. When I go too far into the natural camp, I feel overcome by my desires and the shame that accompanies them. I want to quit and be ruled by my feelings. I focus so much on my sin that I forget just how perfect and powerful Christ’s sacrifice was. I start to think that maybe the cross of Christ and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit isn’t enough for me. I almost always need the Holy Spirit to breakthrough this condemnation and remind me of who God says I am in Christ in order to escape.
My forays into the supernatural camp are different, but equally unbalanced and troubling. Here I become so focused on trying to obtain the supernatural experiences and manifestations I desire that I begin striving to earn them. I start to think that if I can just pray enough and fast enough and study the Bible enough and wait on the Spirit enough and desire intimacy with God enough and cultivate enough faith, then I will get what I want. I power through the disengagement that I feel in my heart and tighten up my discipline to accomplish my desire. I start to spiritualize and misinterpret natural things that happen in my life, like thinking that God doesn’t want me to go somewhere because I cannot find a parking spot or he doesn’t want me to step out in faith in an area because I am feeling natural fear in response to the risk. At that point, I really need a healthy dose of the natural because I am incorrectly reading the “word of the LORD” in the minutia of my life.
So, although I have found it incredibly challenging to maintain a healthy balance between the natural and the supernatural, I continue to ask God to grant me this. And, I think that this is something that He wants for all of us. We should be tent-makers and use the skills that He has given us to contribute in a meaningful way. Each of us is a part of a natural family and/or the family of God. These are important natural relationships that we need to pursue and invest in. We should do all of these things as unto God, for His glory and the good of our neighbor. Intimacy with God should be the foundation of everything that we say and do in the natural world as well as what undergirds the cultivation of our supernatural gifts.