It’s 2019 and God is Not Taking You to New Levels

Manipulating People wioth New Levels Language

God is Not taking you to New Levels in 2019

Every year about this time, social media is saturated with naïve and manipulative Christian “blessings” and “predictions” like this:  “In 2019 God is going to take you to new levels!”

That kind of language is not just associated with New Year promises, but it is also stock and trade language in many churches. Well it is 2019, and here is my prediction: God is not going to take you to new levels. Why? Because there is no such thing.

 

One would think that phraseology foreign to the entire body of scripture would be viewed with a least some skepticism! Not so for many of my charismatic friends  and TV preachers of all stripes. For many, a self-proclaimed “direct download from heaven,” “new revelation,” or “prophetic word” is an alleged superior mode of understanding. The same folks also view disciplined study in the scripture as a work of the flesh. It is allegedly  “leaning to your own understanding” rather than being taught directly “by the Spirit”–sic. The disdain for disciplined exegesis and the contextual application of scripture is palpable and epidemic in these universes. These things are all nonsense, but they are as common as fleas on a street dog.

Gnosticism – Nothing New Under the Sun

So, if the fact that the scripture never uses the phraseology is not enough to push the brakes on this nonsense, consider this:

It was the Gnostic heretics who taught advancing through spiritual levels–from lower levels of “spiritual illumination” to higher and higher levels of spiritual illumination. The Gnostics taught that someone more enlightened than yourself had to mentor you or advance you through the different levels by sharing secret words and insights that you could not get by any other means other than than submitting to a more superior Gnostic. The wrapping might be different–language couched in submission to leadership, or “father-son ministry,” “revival will come if we only do ______ (fill in the blank with the bait of your choice) ministry, or other such paradigms–but the poison is the same. Of course, this was heresy two thousand years ago, and it is heresy now, despite what my charismatically inclined friends might think.

The propagation of this Gnostic heresy in multitudes of “Christian” environments is nothing more than a manipulative ploy used to make you feel perennially inadequate and perennially pursuing some promised spiritual high place–if you only do this or that, or believe this or that. If you just meet the requirements (and they are almost always associated with some form of control) God will reward you by taking you to the “next level.” 

This is spiritual bondage–human abuse–gerbil wheel garbage. Should it not be warning in itself that these type of naive declarations are always about you being greater, and more blessed, and more prosperous, and more famous, and greater ministry and so on? When is the last time you saw one of these ridiculous new level proclamations associated with your decrease, maybe your insignificance, perhaps suffering and persecution, perhaps the loss or decrease of your ministry? You will never see that because the cruciform way does not sell in Western (American) Christianity. 

Our Rich Inheritance

God has given (perfect middle participle– a present reality affecting us at the moment) us, everything necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We just need to get on with well-executed consistency in basic things, rather than lusting for some ill-defined new level of spiritual catharsis or illumination.

I have given (perfect indicative active-something occurring at the moment, a present reality) them the  glory I had with the Father – John 17:22.  Live out of that reality rather than the never-ending pursuit of some new level. 

Thanks be to God who is giving us (present active participle) the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.  – 1 Cor 15:57. Your victory is not laying out ahead of you in some mystic ether.  It is not hidden, to be released in the future at some day when you achieve a new level. It is a close as your breath. 

It is that simple. We just don’t believe these basic and simple things. Our lust for spiritual ecstasies rather than the cruciform lifestyle sets us up for the new level bait of the ill-informed or the deceitful. There is nothing higher than being in Christ, and He in us all. There is no place higher to go than being seated with Him in heavenly places. These truths (and others like them)  are sometimes called “positional” truths. This is just sophisticated Bible-speak unbelief for  “not real.” Well, I disagree. They are baseline realties in the present life for any Christ-follower

Growing in the Cruciform Way

Now, the scripture does talk about growing in grace and the virtues that are in Christ, and being transformed into His image, from glory to glory. The scripture does talk about maturing in Christ and so on. But here’s the thing: there are no advancing in levels here. These things are realized by going lower and deeper into the realities of His Cross and the cruciform life. The increase of Christ and the maturity (that so many talk about) is not realized by spiritual gymnastics and the acquisition of spiritual virtues like choosing items on a Chinese menu.  No, advancing to the top is a human measurement of success. The cross kills all of that way of thinking, or should, except in “higher level” churches. We will take root downward and bear fruit upward. Everybody is excited about the bearing fruit upward side of things: Oh, hallelujah for his blessings! Indeed, they are real, should be celebrated, enjoyed, and shared with others. If His blessing just results in our aggrandizement, individual or corporate, we have abused His blessings. The taking root downward side of things, the let’s-cut-the-bush-back-dung-it-for-a-season-so-it-will-bear-more-fruit side of things, is well,  less celebrated and definitely non-commercial. 

Conclusion

My friends, if you are in a church where this kind of language fills the air, you need to have a candid conversation with whatever leadership is in place. If you are ignored, rebuffed, dismissed, labelled as “Jezebel” or “someone who has a problem with authority,” you need to find a different assembly. Maybe that could be your goal for 2019: free yourself into the glorious liberty of the sons and daughters of God. Start living out of the riches of our inheritance in Christ rather than being baited–week after week, year after year– to go to “the next level.”

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Copyright 2019,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.stevecrosby.org. Would you like to partner with us in distributing our materials and perhaps generate some income for yourself?  Please go to www.stevecrosby.com for details of our Affiliate program. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you

 

 

20 comments on “It’s 2019 and God is Not Taking You to New Levels

  1. I hungered for the ‘next big thing’ God was to do . I believed I was on the ‘cutting-edge.’ Or was I? I then got to thinking (always a dangerous thing) – is that the best you’ve got God? A feather? A speck of dust that glitters? A puff of smoke? They were interesting but… yawn. I’ve been slammed to the floor in meetings under what they tell me is a weight of glory. Again, interesting but … I need more, a whole lot more. At times I thought, The next prophet that prophesies in my face, or who tries to push me down, may get a slap in his/ her face. Sorry for being so honest, but all this never ultimately satisfied my heart, at best it was a mere distraction, a blip on the way to discovering the inner beauty found in Christ indwelling. What if so many of our conferences and glory meetings are only blips masking the inner awe available right now, without the smoke, lights, and music. I am not saying amazing things cannot happen – they can. But honestly, none of this seems in the least interesting to me now I know God is inside! Have I become un-on-fire and am I missing out on the last days (yet again) outpouring? Am I not pressing into my inheritance? Am I speaking of hurt and anger and disappointment? Am I failing to walk in the glory realm made available to us? I smile and sigh one long ‘I-don’t-think-so’ sigh.

    Roberts, Stephen (2013-05-15). The Stillness at the Edge of Time (Kindle Locations 2240-2247). Soulshift Publications. Kindle Edition.

  2. From my wife…

    I was looking up ‘religious ecstasies’ and found this on Wikipedia. Interesting to me that only by “observing the fruit, or changes in inner thought and behaviour, that one could determine if the religious ecstasy had come from God.[7]”.

    It made me wonder if such experiences as the Toronto Blessing really did result in such changes, or did they only produce in these individuals an increased desire to chase after more “signs and wonders” with no real soul transformation? If that’s the case, it makes me wonder if those experiences really did come from God.

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    Historically, large groups of individuals have experienced religious ecstasies during periods of Christian revivals, to the point of causing controversy as to the origin and nature of these experiences.[5][6] In response to claims that all emotional expressions of religious ecstasy were attacks on order and theological soundness from the Devil, Jonathan Edwards published his influential Treatise on Religious Affections. Here, he argues, religious ecstasy could come from oneself, the Devil, or God, and it was only by observing the fruit, or changes in inner thought and behaviour, that one could determine if the religious ecstasy had come from God.[7]

    In modern Pentecostal, charismatic and spirit-filled Christianity, numerous examples of religious ecstasy have transpired, similar to historic revivals. These occurrences however, have changed significantly since the time of the Toronto Blessing phenomena and several other North American so-called revivals and outpourings from the mid 1990s. From that time, religious ecstasy in these movements has been characterized by increasingly unusual behaviors that are understood by adherents to be the anointing of the holy spirit and evidence of God ‘doing a new work’. One of the most controversial and strange examples is that of spiritual birthing [8] – a practice during which women, and at times even men, claim to be having actual contractions of the womb while they moan and retch as though experiencing childbirth.[9] It is said to be a prophetic action bringing spiritual blessings from God into the world. Many believe spiritual birthing to be highly demonic in nature and more occult-like than Christian. Religious ecstasy in these Christian movements has also been witnessed in the form of squealing, shrieking, an inability to stand or sit, uttering apocalyptic prophecies, holy laughter, crying and barking. Some people have made dramatic claims of sighting ‘gold dust’, ‘angel feathers’, ‘holy clouds’, or the spontaneous appearance of precious gem stones during ecstatic worship events.[10] Others have claimed to have received spontaneous gold tooth fillings. The Range Christian Fellowship in the conservative Australian city of Toowoomba demonstrates such displays of religious ecstasy on an almost weekly basis.[11] In addition to all of the above, worshippers there also use textile banners and during moments of religious ecstasy believe these banners carry special powers of ‘anointing’ as a result of divinely inspired artwork.[12]

  3. I was once caught on this “gerbil wheel”. (In fact, I was once part of a church where the founding pastor had been brutally hounded out because “they didn’t have what it took to take us to the next level”.) Thankfully, it turned out that I was really a “Jezebel” who had “a problem submitting to godly authority”. What a relief that was!

  4. Hi Steve,

    my sentiments as well! The Lord gave me 2 peter 1, yesterday morning, January first and I underlined and highlighted the past tense statements!

    May the Lord bless you and your family richly and abundantly and has already so far with all that He has spoken through you to help others along in their walk with the Lord.

    It was great to see you first thing in my email this morning!

    Sincerely, from your fellow Canuck,

    Janice Brulotte

  5. Thank you Steve for this word. It is a word that really needs to be chewed over and thought about but I believe is right on the button.

  6. Hi Steve! I love this:) thank you for sharing! It was timely with what God had spoken concerning our next season of life. Thank you!

  7. There is significance of moving from level 11 to level 12 in numbers in scripture. Research the book Numbers in Scripture by EW Bullinger then go digging. So I disagree with your generalizing all this and saying it can’t be found in scripture. Brother Steve it is like mining a scribe digs presious things out of dirt not readily seen by some. Yes there are those who market spiritual things and abuse truth for personal gain but don’t tell me “levels” are not found in scripture that is nonsense! We go from position to possession not the other way around. Col 2:9-10 It’s like defining “ revival” who defines levels? Who gets to define “ revival”? Who gets to define “levels”? I declare for me in 2019 higher possessions of my true position in Christ! Love Marc

  8. Thanks for this. Interesting that the serpent beguiled the first couple with the promise of a higher level of spirituality than what God had apportioned for them. The little that they didn’t have suddenly became more desirable than the overwhelming abundance of God’s blessings and provisions in the garden. It’s truly crazy, and the insanity has filtered through to us. The exhilaration of anticipation has blinded us to the riches of our inheritance in Christ, it seems. The conclusion that there is no “there” (except for the maturing of the Bride and the resurrection) revolutionised my Christianity, stripped me from the addiction to expectation and the rush that comes with it, and left me with an inexpressible joy and happiness. If you are not heading anywhere, then every moment feels like an arrival.

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