Passing the “Supernatural Test”
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut 13:1-3 NIV)
In recent church history, especially the past 100 years, there has been a restoration of the spiritual gifts and manifestations of the Spirit. Many Christians in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles have seen the Lord do many powerful things, among which has been a rising up of leaders who display incredible gifts and powerful anointings that have brought great blessing to the Lord’s church.
Our current generation has experienced the great things the Lord has done. Therefore, many today hunger for more of these deeper experiences with the Living God. We realize that the life changing power of God is still available to us and we believe the Lord can still heal the sick, set the captives free and even raise the dead. This has created a great thirst for supernatural signs and wonders, and an experiential encounter with our God. However, this thirst has also provoked the rise of enemy opposition.
In the midst of this great restoration and blessing, the crafty serpent has been well about his work. As in every great move of God there has also been the occasional abuse of giftings and anointings by certain leaders, causing much pain and hurt among God’s people. Despite the powerful presence of God, healings and deliverances, prophetic voices and the multitude of gifts that have brought freedom and victory to many, the devil knows how to spoil a good thing. He has successfully seduced both unknown and highly prominent professors in Christ to give in to the lust for power, influence, adultery and financial gain. This has resulted in tragic sin and destruction in the midst of God’s people, and has propagated a multitude of perverted doctrines, teachings, and deceptions to support and justify such moral decay.
I believe there are two primary debilitating reactions to these challenges we face. First, some have chosen to elevate the supernatural to such a level of importance that supernatural experiences and manifestations act as God’s “seal of approval” on everything else that is associated with such experiences. This has fostered a permissiveness of sin among those who walk in supernatural gifts. Some are deceived to believe that sinful practices and actions must be acceptable to God, because He is granting those who sin supernatural power. However, supernatural power alone is never sufficient proof of God’s approval.
I have also seen a reaction of some who have turned away from the supernatural, avoiding the manifestation of the Spirit entirely for fear of losing moral control. They have focused so much on “just being good people”, that the power and life of the Spirit is no longer fostered and the result is a stone-cold, dead religion that is absent of God’s life-giving Spirit. Even spiritually dead sinners can be “good people” with strong moral fiber. Morality is insufficient. What we need is abundant life!
Both of these reactions are strategies of the enemy for the purpose of weakening the church. What God desires is the fullness of the manifestation of His Spirit and power within His church, with wholehearted dedication to His commandments. Our generation needs nothing less! However, this manifestation is not restricted to the realm of gifts, for the manifestation of His Spirit also results in the fruit of the Spirit. We need the power to prophecy, but we also need the power for love, joy and peace… the power for godly character.
As we see in our text, God tests His people by permitting false prophets. We must not listen to the words of those “prophets” who practice the supernatural and also give in to “follow other gods” of false doctrines, perverted teachings and permissiveness of sin. Nor must we forsake the supernatural altogether. We must deeply hunger for the fullness of the manifestation of God’s Spirit and commit ourselves to upholding His commandments. We must discern the character of those who walk in supernatural things while remaining wholeheartedly open to those supernatural works of God that are done in righteousness. True love for God is demonstrated by faithfulness to His commandments and the upholding of His righteousness standards, while humbly acknowledging our deep need for His supernatural intervention in the affairs of man.
Let us be a holy people who are also filled with life and power. Let us pass the supernatural test.