When God Is Not Enough

God “in” Himself is enough. God “by” Himself is not. We need one another.

We will never receive directly from God the grace and power for life He intends for us to receive indirectly through His Body. Pray, fast, shout, jump, run, declare, sing, worship, intercede, prophesy . . . whatever . . . they are all ineffective in trying to receive God’s goodness out of heaven, when He has prescribed otherwise. But they make us feel spiritual, so we keep doing them. A form of Christianity that is mystic and pseudo-spiritual, that is always looking for, and hoping for something out of heaven is deceiving millions.

The Holy Spirit was released on the Day of Pentecost. He never went back. He is not hiding. Christ is here, in one another. Rather than being taught occult techniques of mysticism (“how to access the heavenlies” seminars), we need to teach people how to access the power that is before their eyes, every week . . .  in their brothers and sisters.  Oh, that is just too mundane for us. It doesn’t sparkle. No pizzazz. No sizzle. No catharsis. Nothing stimulating.

Don’t look for your provision solely from Jesus in the heavens. Your provision is likely in Him, in a person you know . . .  or perhaps that is the problem. Because of our common meeting formats, we really don’t know anyone intimately.  As long as we are content to have a class of religious professionals and entertainers feed our religious addiction to worship music and sermons, our professed desires for “revival” are misguided and irrational.

We have already been given EVERYTHING necessary that pertains to life and godliness.  We don’t need to open heaven’s portals. We need to open earth’s hearts. The treasure is present . . . not coming . . . it is present in EARTHEN vessels. Shriveled hearts and fat Bible School notebooks are a bad combination, a sure formula for accomplishing nothing, touching no one, while being impressed with our self-perceived spirituality, which, is not spiritual at all. It is idolatrous deceit. We need to stop all the inflated talk about “prophetic” this and “apostolic” that. We need to just get on with it. Close the notebooks. Stop the singing. Quit the non-incarnational praying.1 Enough with prophesies about what God is going to do in some mysterious future day and how great we are going to be in that day. Skip some meetings. Try actually touching a human being. You might be surprised at how easily the resurrection life of our Lord is accessed and released, and how great God IS today, not WILL BE tomorrow.

Loving God, loving others, and walking as living dead men and women is not complicated. It is costly. Let’s get on with it.

_______________________

1 Non-incarnational prayers are prayers that cost the petitioner nothing. For example, it is wonderful to pray about, let’s say abortion. But if you are unwilling to help a single mom with food, or adopt a baby, or take in a single mom into your home, or contribute significant financial support to a struggling single mother, your prayers are tinkling brass. God in the flesh is the epitome of . . .  “getting involved!” Incarnation, not endless prayer, is the essence of biblical Christianity. If a canoe is to avoid going around in circles it is necessary to paddle on both sides:  pray and do something.

Copyright 2011 Dr. Stephen R. Crosby www.drstevecrosby.wordpress.com. Permission to copy, forward, or distribute this article is granted as long as this copyright byline is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.

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15 comments on “When God Is Not Enough

  1. Hey Steve,

    Great Article, love this. I am glad you sent this. The lord gave me an analogy 2 weeks ago along these lines. Biologically speaking, He gave the human body the power to heal itself when it is sick or diseased and so it is with the His body, He is the head but our provision is not in the head (practically speaking), is is in the body MEANING ONE ANOTHER.

    • Jeff . . spot on. That is actually the major theme of the book I did on healing. That is why we do not see many genuine healings, or why we have to hype up the fake ones . . . the one-anotherness element is completely missing.

  2. Stephen,

    It’s been a long time since you heard from me. Thank you for your continued writings that are blindingly bright, on point.

    This one is as well. What I don’t know how to deal with is that some of the biggest wounds in my life have come from the Body and I have searched everywhere to find Body life, even a form of worship, that I can enter freely, be received, and feel is truly from the heart of the Lord and His word.

    I cannot tolerate the “religious professionals and entertainers” and the culture they inspire. I long for the sweet simplicity of humble, gentle, God-fearing people who know and love their two-millenia roots in the Church and its sacraments and don’t require one to submit a spiritual curriculum vitae at the door. I long for a Body where truth is considered critical, theology matters, Scripture is deeply studied and feasted on (not to prove how great oneself is but how great God is), and people don’t have to be clean, shiney, and perfect (or, worse yet, fit some politically correct group or class) to be received.

    I speak this as a broken-hearted member of the Body, not as its lord and critic. I am the dove with nowhere to rest the soles of her feet.

    The Body as it is currently found is properly described by you – and leaves no place for believers like me to experience the Lord through His people.

    So, what is the answer to this?

    • Sarah, I am sympathetic, I understand. You said it well. calling something that is sick, sick, is not being judgmental or critical. Exposing one’s self to spiritual death and abuse is not faithfulness. It can be a lonely way. You have said it well: broken hearted member with no place to rest ones feet . . . I understand.

      There are “answers” . . . perhaps you could call some day . . . it would just take too long to go in to it in written form. I will email you a phone number. No pressure, no worries, as you feel.

      • Sarah ~ ditto and amen.
        Steve ~ Maybe you have a launching point for more blog posts with this one. I would love to learn some of these answers.

        Apparent in my life – without going into “victim” mentality…the more I have tried to embrace the truths of your teaching and/or/with the realities of the Gospel as they are revealed in study…. loving and giving and listening…though not with strain or effort…just comfortable liberty of the relationship I enjoy with my Lord….the more bullying, mean-spirited, judgemental, whiney folks I have encountered that seem hell-bent on making me miserable or chopping me off at the knees. And these are suppose to be siblings in Christ!

        Unlike Sarah, I do have a church community that exudes love and for that I am grateful…and I can land there on Sunday pretty easily. However, I am seeing a huge disunity in the members of Christ’s body that I rub elbows with the rest of the week. The non-Christian encounters are even more ugly. Is it naive to think that I am having any effect at all on the people around me – as far as sharing God through his Spirit? It feels way more like a fish out of water. Or like a dove with no landing place the rest of the week. Does that make sense?

        Bless you and big hugs from Spokane. I hope all is well.

        • Hi Victoria, makes sense, typical, unfortunate, but not surprising. It opens up the whole issue of false conversions. Not everyone claiming to belong to Christ, with the bible under their arms, and psalms on their lips, are truly his. Just because a mouse is in the cookie jar, doesn’t make it a cookie.

  3. Just a brief note. It sounds like you’re talking about Body Ministry. Out here in the NorthWest that is a rarity. When people find out I’m a counselor for chemically dependent and mentally ill people they want me to be the person w/the answers. I’ve seen this pattern occur frquently in the 38 yrs. I’ve walked w/God.
    There is a cost in this. One is walking in 2 worlds when this is working.
    At this time I’m cautious about churches/fellowships I go to. I look for one where there is a “flow of life,” as I call it.
    It is costly, for sure.

    • Better no fellowship than sick fellowship, but the scriptures are clear about our need for “one-another.” Indeed, healthy body-expression can be rare, and costly, but like Jesus said (paraphrasing a parable):

      “If you recognize there is treasure in a field, you do not buy just the treasure, but the whole field.”

      If you are convinced of the value of the treasure, you are willing to shovel a lot of dirt to find it. Treasure hunting is a tiresome thing. He never promised it would be otherwise.

      We have this TREASURE in CLAY/EARTHEN vessels. That means if we really believe in Body Ministry, we better be prepared to . . . shovel for treasure. And it means we find some people and . . . start digging.

  4. Steven, I like the note about “incarnational prayers”. I’m reminded of a recent book by Shane Claiborne, the title of which is the message: “Becoming the answer to our Prayers.”

    Amen

      • As i wrote some time ago in an article called Upon This Rock”

        It is a fact that within western Christendom there are millions of believers who are leaving or have left the institutional church. Despite the phenomenon of the mega-church, statistically, church attendance and membership in America and in the Western world are in serious decline! As George Barna points out, this current exodus from the institutional church cannot be attributed solely to rugged American individualism, or the “just me and Jesus” or ‘Lone Ranger’ mentality! This ‘going out’ is not just because people are disgruntled or desiring a less restrictive environment or because they are apostate. It is not necessarily because they are rebellious against authority or not willing to “be accountable”.

        It is not because they are no longer desirous of “fellowship” or closeness with our Lord and each other – IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE!!

        I believe that for many, this exodus from traditional ‘church’ structures is the result of a deep desire for something more! It is an expression of a desire to know Christ – not only individually but also within the context of corporate community life.

        Although the perception of many is that people are “dropping out”, quitting God or “backsliding”, this is not necessarily the case. Leaving the institutional church for many is not running away FROM something but running TO something. For many “defectors” it is a breaking free from the religious performance trap. It represents a reaching out for a deeper and more intimate relationship with God and brothers and sisters in Christ.
        The one word which I think sums it all up is INTIMACY.

        It is about the pursuit of intimate loving relationship for which there is no satisfying substitute.

  5. Brother Steve, I appreciate your gift of putting His thoughts into words we can relate too. I too am seeking the need to find out the true “konania” of the body, the “one anothering” is key. We can not do it alone and still call it a body, maybe single celled organism. I am blessed to have others around me that are willing to contend for that place of relationship “IN HIM”. If we are willing and yielded He can do all of these things through us. Blessings, Ed

  6. Better no fellowship than sick fellowship…..AMEN

    What we have considered ‘fellowship’ has not been the koinonia of the Spirit. We have all settled for some substitute for the real thing. Some of what masquerades as ‘fellowship’ is indeed toxic.

    thanks for being so forthright.

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