Most Christians who have been raised in an institutional church setting have heard the words of Jesus, recorded by Mark, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” numerous times. It is interesting to me that this “great commission” is hung over doorways and preached regularly, usually with a healthy dose of guilt and performance-based unction.
On the other hand, the actions described immediately following this verse, including healing the sick, drinking poison, casting out demons, and picking up snakes are normally preached in a slightly different light. Since everybody knows we can’t manufacture a bonafide healing or drink poison and survive unless the Spirit of God is actively involved in the process, we are taught that we must rely on Him for these miracles to take place.
Without over-simplifying the concepts here, I wonder if we could just ponder the idea that we can no more raise the dead in our own strength than we can “make a disciple” in our own strength. I think we understand intellectually the idea that it is Father who draws men unto Himself, however I believe we have been convinced throughout our lives that it is up to us to convert people and to then lead them to become disciples.
Driving into my daughters’ gymnastics class last night, I found myself dreading having to enter into another conversation about God with the onlooking parents. I realized this false belief was still deep-seeded in my heart. I have been taught by the institution that I am the one who must try to “witness” and convert the unbelievers. I might as well have been given a belt and a belt-notcher. Then He reminded me that this actually wasn’t up to me at all; that it is up to Him. All I am doing is making myself available for Him to work through me. This realization is so freeing, isn’t it? It really is not up to us at all.
I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons we see so few attesting miracles in our society is that we start out all wrong. Without an honest reliance upon the Holy Spirit from the get-go, I think we have already started out on the wrong path. We then try, in our flesh, to manufacture “faith” so that we can see the miracles that we have determined would best fit our circumstances. This is independent thinking. Perhaps we should ask Him to cleanse us from this mindset and to remind us of the treasure we carry in these jars of clay.