Monday, February 09, 2009


Running in the Dark

"Running in the Dark"

By Ramone - August 31, 2008
"Our salvation is milk, small business, old news, a tired little issue with which to continue shadow-boxing... Now, let's go on and do the things we were destined for before the foundations of the world were set into place."
In context, a friend wrote these words about a certain group of friends who have been stuck focusing endlessly on doctrinal arguments, and I understood and agreed. But even so, when I first read these words, it jarred me in a bad way... reminding me of what I'd heard at an "apostolic/prophetic" church we used to be part of here, and from other sources which look at the cross as if its generally "just for salvation", while the real meat is intercession, spiritual warfare, praying for nations, declaring victory, living victoriously, etc. (I need to add that "intercession" in their sense is not as heart, spirit and gut-wrenching as many of us know it.)

That got me thinking about a serious mixture of "devotion" in many charismatic churches today along those lines... on one hand there are people who in the Spirit are ruined forever by God's love as revealed in the cross (and the cross continues to change them and be the basis for their love for others and intercession), and then on the other hand there are people who have prayed the "sinner's prayer" and looked at the "cross" as elementary. Many of these are lost in discernment-by-principle, or prayer-by-principle (identify the principle at work and pray accordingly), and for them "the blood of Jesus" is something that now is used mostly for formula declaring, spiritual warfare, claims, etc. [Once I was overwhelmed when I thought about how easily we talk about His "blood" and how the sheer natural shock has been lost ...and when I thought of that, I realize I never want to lose that shock at how His "blood" came to us. Yes, His blood means our salvation and every blessing and righteousness we have, but I never want to forget how it came... I wrote this song about it.]

So as I was thinking of these two, very real groups in "charismatic" churches, I remembered how people argued about the "Toronto revival". I believe there were/are a mixture of spirits at work in most similar revivals (this picture and its sequel are about that, inspired from "Lakeland" emails wih spiritual family). At Toronto there was something very real -- this was visible in the people who found intimacy with Father. But then there was something else which was visible when people could only talk about the glory and greatness of "this anointing."

As I was thinking of how I/we/they want to run into Father's arms, I saw this picture. I saw the person running, the passionately and desperately running for Father. But I couldn't see "Father" very clearly. It was more like a shadow, blank-spot, or missing part in the picture that I couldn't see.

I wanted to think of it more like a "doorway", with the black space the unknown, endless and deep like space itself, because Father's love, heart and personality are indeed endless. But I wasn't sure this was what I was seeing. Wanting to "help" it a little, I put the "red" around the black figure and could almost see it, too, thinking it would be like how Jesus & His blood are the "way to the Father", what we go through to Father's endlessness.

But as I looked at it, the "blackness" of the picture became overpowering, ominous and evil-looking. It brought to mind the other group of people who are running not for intimacy with Father, but for intimacy with anointing. It spoke to me of people who think they are pursuing God but are not. And as I thought of that, I was doused with His grief. Because of the sharply contrasting meaning to what I had wanted it to mean, I wasn't sure what to make of the picture or what to do with it or even call it! I was going to call it "intimacy" at the beginning, but as the "dark" interpretation came (accompanied by God's grief), I didn't know what to do.

I realize now that the passion of the runner is very real, and that God has created us to run in passion, and run towards Him. That is why I could identify with "the runner" in this picture, because I am a runner after His heart. But as much as I wanted to see something positive here, Father was sharing His heart with me -- something that is on His heart and is hurting Him. People He loves are running after what they think is Him but is not Him. It's empty. It's dark.

You know, that's why you can find the word "agape" used in the New Testament not only for God's love, but also used a few times when speaking of people wasting their passions on the perishable, unfulfilling things of the world. Ultimately "agape" speaks of God's extravagant, prodigal (wasteful), lavishly spending love -- the over-the-top love He poured out on us by giving His infinitely valuable Son for us to receive the wrath we deserved, so that we might be brought home to Him, to be with Him forever. We are made to receive God's agape love and give it to others -- "love one another as I have loved you." We're made to love extravagantly, giving love as He gave it to us -- wastefully, incomprehensibly, heavenly! But we can choose to exert this gift He gave us --love-- on things that are not eternal. We can lavishly spend our love on non-eternal things. We can waste it on ourselves, our addictions, our passions, on temporary satifaction at the expense of eternal life and eternal love.

That's what's happening here. The person is "running in the dark", with a real desire to know God and run after Him, but he doesn't actually know Him well enough to know that he is running to something shaped like Him but actually not Him. The signs, wonders, apparent miracles, emotional high, tingling sensation and prophetic declarations that rile everyone up -- these things are done in the shape of God, so to speak, and "outlined" with words about the "blood of Christ", but often are empty inside. (Oh, Lord, Your grief as I write this is SO heavy!!!)

Sometimes as we're doing ministries I think we begin to know that something is getting empty and hollow inside, but we try and run harder so that we'll feel what we felt before, have the revival that we had before, catch the "anointing" and "fire" that we had before. Like I wanted to see and add that red line to the picture, we put Christ's name around it and speak of His blood. We mention His grace and His salvation, but often the reason we run isn't for Him -- it's for the extra stuff. For "the anointing".

I've often disliked the impersonalness of the word "anointing". When John spoke of "the anointing that teaches you all things" in 1st John, he was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who is a person, not an "it". He isn't a thing. "Anointing" sounds like an "it" to us -- some kind of oil that can be poured, manipulated, caught, bottled, etc. We don't consciously think of it this way (I hope), but nonetheless the result is that we often "know God at a distance" in anointing-focused meetings. The idea becomes to "get close" to the front of the room, to the minister, to the hub of things, etc. It becomes localized, and we don't realize that we're unconsciously stepping out of "spirit and truth" which know no locality. We look up front to hear from God. We may run -- but we may run to feel God, to get some of the anointing. We don't realize it, but somehow an intermediary has stepped between us and God, and we may easily need that "anointing" in order to feel that we've touched God (or been touched by Him). We don't realize it, but we're then running in the dark, not knowing where we're going or who we're going to.

Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." (John 12:35-36)
At some point, we and all of us who call ourselves "teachers" need to tell people the truth -- that you may not feel Him, but no matter what you must trust Him. Feelings will come, and feelings will also go. He will let you know He is inside of you, but He will do this in His own way. It won't be identical to how He did it for me. Moreover, you don't need me forever. The goal is to be with Him. Your goal is Him, not being with me or catching "the anointing that I have" or that "we have here".
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)
Peter didn't write these words to encourage us to depend on apostles & prophets. No, he was pointing his readers to Christ instead. He assured his readers he had seen Christ's glory, and then said that the prophets had confirmed who Christ Jesus is, and so it is good to pay attention to what the prophets wrote. UNTIL the "day" dawns and the "morning star" rises in your hearts! Yes, Peter is directing his readers to trust his own testimony about Christ and to believe the prophets' writings, but the goal of this is the dawning of the Morning Star in your hearts! The goal of this is knowing Him for certain and knowing He is inside of you -- getting into personal Spirit-to-spirit relationship with Him! The "day" was something Jesus had spoken of before:
"On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you." (John 14:20)
The goal of the testimony of the apostles & prophets is to lead us to Christ, to knowing Him -- Christ In You, the hope of glory! When your spirit comes alive and He and you now talk together, then you know Him and need not depend on external signs and wonders! (>_<)
Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life... I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness." (John 8:12, 12:46)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:4-6)

I wasn't sure what to do with this picture, and it's difficult when you first see something "positive", but then God tells you that the message of the picture is "negative". I always want the joy, I always want to enjoy His love, you know? But being a friend to anyone means you share in not only their joys, but also in their griefs. And Dad is sharing some of His grief here. I think often in our churches, services and meetings we don't really want to hear that, the "negative" stuff. Many churches that welcome 'the prophetic' even make it a rule that prophecy must always be positive and never negative. It really communicates to God that, "I only want the 'happy' part of You, God, I don't want anything 'negative'." It shows that we don't trust Him enough to believe that He won't give anything that is too heavy for us. We put up a "safeguard" -- but it is only a 'safeguard' from knowing the other half of His heart.

Because I was unsure and a bit distraught about this picture, I shared it with some trusted friends back in California.

One wrote:
When I first opened this picture I immediately thought it was a believer jumping into Daddy God's arms. That was a first impression. After I sat looking at it and praying for a few minutes I started to see it is us, running toward what we imagine to be God but is really darkness. We have built up so much momentum and already have left the ground in our headlong rush before we realize that not only is it darkness, the father of lies, but it is Velcro! I feel sick... nauseated. I don't know if you have seen that amusement park activity - but people dress up in velcro suits and run and jump into a velcro wall and they can't get off until someone comes and "redeems" them. That picture overshadowed the other once I saw it. That's what I see happening in the church and outside in droves. After I saw that I couldn't find the comfort in that black being anymore. The unknown can be dark, but God is always light, never darkness.
The other wrote:
I opened up your picture to look at it once again and I began to "ho" again, but this time I noticed it was a mournful "ho-ing" which grew louder like it was a warning "ho-ing"! I don't know how to describe it any other way, but the picture is not what it appeared to me to be at first! More agonizing ho's!!!

I [earlier] assumed that what you had inked represented my/our running to God. But that is NOT what this picture is saying. I read into it what I wanted to see... my experience with running to God. But this is NOT God!

I believe this is a visual of believers who are running after an experience, a healing, a miracle (I'm really getting huge witness in my spirit on this), the supernatural... instead of Jesus Christ. They are running towards what they deem to be God, but it is a strong delusion! In their headlong rush to "get some" many got more than they bargained for. They got "stuck" in false teachings and experiences, etc. and cannot seem to discern that they ran into darkness instead of Light!

"We have built up so much momentum and already have left the ground in our headlong rush before we realize that not only is it darkness, the father of lies, but it is Velcro!" ...That really parallels being "stuck" and unable to move forward because we have believed a lie! The body of Christ (more mournful "ho-ing"!!!) is in deep trouble because they have been taught by leadership to refrain from asking question, to not judge or discern things that seem questionable...

Oh my, the red that outlines the dark figure you drew, Ramone, means that the enemy is deceiving people to believe that He is Christ when He is against Christ. He is ant-Christ! I feel a wail coming on that will not let up. Things are being set up by the enemy to deceive those who choose not to receive a love of the truth so that they will follow a strong delusion.

God help us all repent!

See also: "Against My Law" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)

I have very little time right now to write… perhaps more time tonight… But I just wanted to say that what you have shared here is sensitively and beautifully presented to show the “mixture of devotion” in so many charismatic churches. The Scriptures used and the way you have shared the truth clearly reveals God’s spirit of agape from beginning to end.

Those who run after the glory and greatness of the ”anointing” rather than the “cross” do not see that in their blindness they are running after a shadow instead of the Substance, Jesus Christ! To even lovingly suggest that they may be out of balance in their headlong rush to experience the supernatural is often met with defensiveness and anger.

Is it possible that this “mixture of devotion” is not addressed in most charismatic churches, because many in leadership have fallen under the spell of the shadow rather than embracing the Substance… all that gives meaning to what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us in His finished work on the cross?

As a result they can no longer discern truth from error, because they are “stuck” and unable to move forward because they have not received a love of the truth. Instead the “mixture” is swept under the proverbial rug. But the large “bump” under that rug is becoming a large mountain. It can no longer be deemed as a simple mole hill.

I pray that as you continue to lift Him up as the Substance… the Morning Star will arise in our hearts with ever increasing glory, and all earthly shadows will flee away.

Resting in His agape,

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting! Please leave a message if you were blessed or have any questions. Additionally, please sign your name! I would love to reply and explain everything. If you have disagreements or would like to discuss something, please leave contact information so I can email you. Unsigned comments may be deleted.

Be blessed in His heart today! His heart is for you!

<< Home