Miracles, Signs & Wonders
Scriptures refer to a wide variety of ways the Lord has manifested Himself supernaturally. Rather than go through each one, suffice it to say that because our Lord is Lord of all, there are no limits to the ways He can move in and upon His creation. Now of course the enemy can duplicate many of these signs, and even we ourselves often elevate circumstances and the natural to the “sign” level. We’ll delve into this subject a little deeper later, but for now it’s important to recognize that signs and wonders are to be witnesses to the truth that is being expressed. It is imperative that we all learn to distinguish those manifestations that are to signify truth from those that are created to manipulate or confuse. Rather than creating an encyclopedia of signs, wonders and miracles that He has performed, we will focus on His character and love for us. The more time we spend with Him, the more easily we recognize His activities, and the more we experience the supernatural and begin to exercise our authority over it.
Dreams, Visions, Trances
We will also look at some practical approaches to receiving and interpreting dreams, visions and trances, but for now we want to settle for ourselves that these are among the ways God reveals Himself to us personally. They are tools in our supernatural tool belt, and the Lord wants us to become handy with everything that He’s made available. As previously stated, these can be copied by the devil and by our own soulical power. But do we stop using twenty-dollar bills because there are counterfeit twenty-dollar bills out there? NO! We simply learn to find ways to distinguish between what is real and what merely appears to be real.
Likewise we approach our learning on the same principle of asking the Lord to teach us, then showing up for class. By now the phrases, “Lord, is that you?” and “Lord, what does this mean?” should jump to your mind every time you encounter something new. We can therefore move forward with confidence that God won’t get us into something that HE can’t handle (though I guarantee He’ll eventually set you down in the middle of something YOU can’t handle!).
Warfare with the Demonic
Throughout history there have been individuals, and occasionally a group or movement, that have for at least a time learned to rest in dependence on the Lord unconditionally. This has made them targets for the enemy, and we can learn much from them. There have also been many groups that have exalted the influence of the devil as equal to, and sometimes greater than, the absolute authority and influence of the Lord Himself. Though some of what these have learned may be interesting and helpful, their teachings and insights will need to be especially scrutinized. Why? Because our goals are different! We are not learning how to defeat the enemy to please God, win souls or for rewards in heaven, but because it is part of our training as sons, since we already please God, are expressing His life, and are experiencing eternal life now. If the emphasis is on our being able to do something a certain way or using the right words, the success of the encounter will rely on our strength, memory and ability to apply what others have taught. For us, our success in the encounter will be determined on whether we depended on the Lord for instruction, strength and authority on a personal level in that particular situation. It’s all about our relationship with our Father, not about overcoming the devil. The more we focus on Him, the more He will set others and us free.
Having said that, the Lord will put in your path books, people, tapes, etc., that will provide you with the opportunity to learn what the Lord wants you to learn. As He does this, ask the Lord, for example, “Lord, is this from you?” and, “Lord, what do you want me to learn from this?” He is your teacher, guide, coach, instructor, mentor, captain, tutor, and has every training manual you need to accomplish His purpose for you now. The devil has been left on this earth as an object lesson, for you to test what you have learned, to prove that what the Lord is teaching really works.
Witness of the Spirit
As we experience the supernatural as part of our training and everyday life, we become more and more familiar with and responsive to the witness of our spirit to His Spirit. Because we are one with Him as a spirit-being, we grow in confidence in that still small voice. We test what we hear and experience against the nature and character of Christ. We are encouraged by His call to greater dependence on Him, rather than more work, higher standards, greater knowledge in our self. We enter into greater rest and the strength of stillness, even as He works in and through us. More and more He draws our focus toward Himself, with a witness of His Life and Truth bearing fruit in our life. We learn to walk gently with Him on His path, step by step, with growing understanding of His ways, because we have experienced His love for us personally. This is true communion, true fellowship, His Life.
Receiving Supernatural Experiences
Hopefully by now you will be encouraged to ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you through supernatural experiences and will have become comfortable starting to follow the “8 Steps.” Remember that He has a unique relationship with you, so although you can learn from others, He alone knows the path He has laid out for you, and is jealous over His rights and responsibilities toward you. You may indeed have experiences that you’ve never heard of or imagined for yourself. Our goal is that you would have objective ways of evaluating and participating, and if necessary, taking authority within and over whatever the Lord has for you. Remember also that this is only part of God’s overall approach to bringing you into wholeness and dependence on Him, not the only means, and certainly not above questioning.
Responding to Supernatural Experiences
Often our greatest temptation is to react to a supernatural experience by taking on the responsibility of understanding or responding. Perhaps the greatest lessons we can learn are:
1. Respond quickly. Stop what you’re doing as soon as you have the slightest impression that there may be something going on. It’s better to be overly reactive and wrong than afraid of making a mistake and miss the Lord’s knocking. Our goal is to become very sensitive to His slightest whisper or impression—we don’t want to force the Lord to have to use a bullhorn, whether through circumstances or supernaturally, to get our attention.
2. Respond accordingly. Let the Lord teach you how to respond. We are not to just hear and understand, but hear and respond, sometimes without understanding. We honor our heritage as sons and co-inheritors when we live according to our identity, giving His lessons our attention and first priority, making room for Him first.
Adapted from Knowing God by Dianne Thomas