Updated: Jan 16, 2022
It often begins with a simple shove, doesn’t it? A man with a chip on his shoulder bumps into a man with something to prove - words are exchanged and an audience is now captivated - and then comes the thing that is going to escalate this whole situation, that’s right, it’s the shove. Such a funny word for such an antagonistic action. In and of itself, a shove is a passive aggression that rises up within someone who either 1. Knows how to finish what they start or 2. Doesn’t realize what is in the can that they have just now opened. Shoving is the least aggressive of all the physical contact we can have with an adversary, while still appearing to be somewhat polite. But where that shove can and will take us once initiated is to a place that we must be ready for - or suffer the consequences of our actions. Of course, these things are on a natural or physical level; on a spiritual level, a shove is much more than meets the spiritual eye. In not one single place in the New Testament do we read about Jesus imposing Himself upon people who were in need or even who needed deliverance. Jesus was - if anything - a reluctant miracle worker, not to say that He was reluctant, but rather to point out His timing as it corresponded to urgencies and/or schedules and/or timelines. The important notation, however, is that He wasn’t a shover.
The televangelists of the 1980’s were truly something else, weren’t they? From falsely hearing from 'God' by way of secret earpieces and microphone connections, to tax evasions, to scandalous affairs and even to prison time for many of the pioneers of this particular movement. It is a wonder that God actually got anything done during this era of the miraculous mating with hyper prosperity. And yet, He did, because He always does and always will move INSPITE of us. For some, this trip down memory lane (as we may have even been sitting on the front row during some of these services) brings back to remembrance the distinct trait that many of these 'ministers' had adopted as a way of (shall we say) assisting God in those prayer lines - that's right, it's the shove. A nice little nudge and the person on the receiving end would get the clue and straight back they would go into the arms of the muscular ushers. During this era (in particular) people passing out under the anointing was the legitimizer that needed to happen; the only problem was that when it didn't happen for real, they would uh, yeah, give a little shovey shove to keep that show going on. Actually, we mis-typed there, that wasn't the ONLY problem, see the bigger more important problem that this behavior began producing was God's distinct dislike of humans attempting to LIE about Him (which kind of already existed, just ask Job).
I Corinthians 12:7-11 (NKJV)
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually AS HE WILLS.”
From the foundations of all things, God insisted on a protocol when dealing with humans that would refuse to shove His will upon the people whom He created for relationship purposes. When it comes to the Holy Spirit He is over the manifestation of His gifts, which means He’s in charge of making things happen. In other words, no one can shove Him around with their own personal agenda and pretend like He is the One doing it. God doesn’t shove, His only Son didn’t shove and the Holy Spirit (being the gentleman that He is) will not ever shove Himself upon anyone. So as we are living out our best Christian lives here on the planet, it is important to note that when push turns to shove, God is typically not the origin. This would be a tell tale sign of someone mixing human ideas with God’s ONLY way, truth and life. What we then see, is modern Christianity (over time) becoming quite complicated. Incase we aren't buying that statement here are some facts to back up these complexities: there are over 35,000 non-denominational seperate churches in the U.S. alone and uh, we haven’t even counted the denominations, which estimates approximately over 30,000 worldwide. And this is just what is considered to be ‘Christianity’ we haven’t even delved into other religious organizations! Complicated would certainly be an understatement. See, from the moment that Jesus entered the scene up until now - His simple message, His simple/powerful ways, His simple/effective teaching, His simple/empowering discipleship and His simple/miraculous help has (d)evolved into many, many, many ways of doing the God thing with smoke machines, pyrotechnic displays and a little shove here or there to help someone “yield” to the spirit on their way down to the floor with the help of an usher or two. This is why many people can’t stop themselves from continuing to ask, which one of these versions of Christianity is the right one?
Matthew 7:15-20 (TPT)
“Constantly be on your guard against phony prophets. They come disguised as lambs, appearing to be genuine, but on the inside they are like wild, ravenous wolves! You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious. You won’t find sweet grapes hanging on a thorn bush, and you’ll never pick good fruit from a tumbleweed. So if the tree is good, it will produce good fruit; but if the tree is bad, it will bear only rotten fruit and deserves to be cut down and burned. You’ll know them by the obvious fruit of their lives and ministries.”
While we are talking about the 80's, in 1980 a tiny $5 million movie was made and based upon a tribe in Africa where the main character (played by and actual Namibian farmer) embarks on a journey after discovering a gift from what could only be described as ‘the gods.' Along this journey he encounters many different people who are all comically just doing their thing on the African plains. It’s funny, and a definite recommended dive into old cinema. This movie aptly titled “The Gods Must Be Crazy” was a smash in Africa and would ultimately find it’s way into the 20th Century family, being released in the U.S. four years later. This low budget ‘out of nowhere’ little film, broke every box office record for a foreign film (dubbed into English) upon it’s release. Ultimately, it would end up making $200 million at the global box office and would be turned into a sequel about 9 years later. The facts and figures are not important (albeit impressive) in and of themselves, but rather, they point toward a TRUTH that is applicable even here and now: we all have a craving for answers. From the remotest places to the bustling cities, we all actually do want to find God. This sweet story of adventure and search for a higher power is ultimately about the simplicity of God and His unstoppable ability to reach every single human on the planet, through any means He deems necessary. Quite the contrast to the big productions and larger than life church services happening in the western churches during the same time period. Proving (once again) that sometimes all it really takes is an empty Coke bottle to get us busy following the voice of God and His wonderful world of divine encounters.
From the beginnings of time, God has proven His patient ability to wait for us to clue into all that He has done for us. Even to our own detriment, He waits with the answers that we are seeking out elsewhere. We must all come to a decision that God is in charge and we are not. See, when we don’t get results, our human tendency is to shove our way in so we can get things moving. From shoving out a multitude of scriptures and hoping that one of them will stick, all the way to shoving our agenda and slapping God's name across the top of it (as if no one will notice). We humans tend to lean on the complicated methods for the most part when all the while God is calling to us to simply TRUST Him.. We find in these moments that staying out of His way is not the easy task we thought would be a no brainer; turns out it's an entirely ALL BRAINER, until we learn how to turn that brain of ours off.
1 John 5:14-15 (ICB)
“We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), then God cares about what we say. God listens to us every time we ask him. So we know that he gives us the things that we ask from him."
The human instinct of shoving, sweating, toiling to get ahead or to get what we need or to survive in life is completely counter culture to our Father's Kingdom. We must resist the urge to yield to our very own inner shover and actually put into practice that old bit of wisdom that the ancients gave us, to "trust the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our old understanding, but rather, in all our ways acknowledge Him so that He directs our path"; coupled together with Philippians 4:19 "My God shall supply of of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" There we have it, no need to keep shoving our way through those long Costco lines! Our Heavenly Father is truly our one stop shop for everything that this life requires. Don't buy into the LIES that disguise themselves as sensible truths - news flash - if God says He will show up and supply those needs, GOD IS GOING TO SHOW UP AND SUPPLY THOSE NEEDS. Still, don’t throw out that Costco card just yet because His supply also includes money (a type of provision) from Heaven to use when the need arises to stock up on paper towels and toilet paper! Listen, if God can pull a slave who was sold by his own family out of bondage and place him into one of the most important positions in all of the kingdom; He can surely come through for us. If God can grab some unkept fishermen who are bitter and fed up with the government, and turn them into the most important pioneers of Christianity; He will truly turn our situations around for good. If God can take a wealthy, outspoken and fearful man who is afflicted by non-stop tragedy and restore him to health and back to wealth; He is undoubtedly going to restore us.
So let's do us all a favor and just STOP. No need to shove, no need for anymore bright ideas, no need to cobble together a plan... STOP and KNOW that He TRULY is our GOD.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (NLT) “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today."
Deuteronomy 6:10-14 (NLT)
“The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land He swore to give you when He made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the Lord your God and serve Him. When you take an oath, you must use only His Name. You must not worship any of the gods of neighboring nations.”