A friend has a video of himself hypnotized and clucking on a stage like a chicken. I watched a magician as he hypnotized a whole group picked at random off the street. He told them they had just seen a flying saucer land and he was going to interview them. It was quite funny listening to the interviews. Charles Finney, being questioned over his dramatic techniques used to get people involved in meetings, responded that if someone could find a better way than his to get people coming, he would use it.
Just flick around the odd television stations and there you will see a variety of Christian expressions. In one night you might see screaming, strutting, people making animal sounds, uncontrolled laughter, and a variety of manifestations proclaimed to be of God. I know if I make a judgment and say those believers are deceived, I am in trouble. First, I am in trouble for judging if I am wrong. Second, I am in trouble if I am right, for God may turn to me and say, “Why is it you are not deceived? Who has kept you from being deceived?” Those who have an experience generally think less of those who have not, and those who have not think less of those who have. The debate over what is legitimate and what is deception has caused and continues to cause division in the family of God.
There is confusion over experience and its manifestations. Is it God, magic, or the flesh? I do not want to address the question; rather, I want to address the confusion. Not that I am judge. I understand that ultimately what I think does not matter. Not only does it not matter, but also God is listening to all my idle words. I know and respect many believers who have had some very interesting experiences. How can I keep from being confused? It is one thing to question another’s experience, but quite another to have to question one’s own. That causes real conflict.
If I do not want to be confused over a miracle—if I do not want to be left wondering if my experience is of God, magic, or the flesh—I should not seek the miracles and experiences that Satan, the flesh, or magic could imitate. The magicians duplicated the miracles Moses had performed. If we seek the same miracles the world seeks and then we have the experience, we will naturally be left questioning. I see so many things on TV I have also seen in various parts of the pagan world, the exact same manifestations. I am not saying the source is the same; I am saying the expression is the same. A Christian carpenter, it is said, drives a nail the same way an unbelieving carpenter does: same action, different sources. I see why people have doubts when they have similar experiences to occurrences in the unbelieving pagan world. Personally, I do not want that kind of confusion, so I have decided to pursue those experiences and miracles which Satan, the flesh, and magic want nothing to do with, miracles the enemy and flesh will avoid at all costs, miracles that will not confuse me; I will know it is God at work.
Let me give a few examples. I am sitting in my office pouting over a perceived offense. I seek God for a miracle. “Father, I am small, I cannot love; I invite You to come be my love.” I get up, go in the other room, and love. Not I, but Christ in me. Another time I am invited to speak but am informed as I get up to speak I have only three minutes in which to say something. “Father, I need a miracle. My spirit is so bad that I just want to leave. I am angry with that man for not letting me share with this group as planned.” Next God comes, and what comes out is the best three-minute sermon I could ever have imagined giving. The pastor and I become friends. Another time my family member is sick, and I know it will last for a while. “Father, come to me, give me Your strength, encourage me!” He does. Then there are the countless experiences of finding out a sin which once plagued me has just dropped off. Not one of these miracles have a hint of confusion in them. They are far greater miracles than those the world can duplicate, and they are miracles with which Satan and the flesh want nothing to do.
Jesus fed the masses and was soon being followed because of it. Food made people confuse Him with a political leader. They were interested in Him for worldly reasons. He began to feed the people with a greater miracle, the living Word. Food doling could be duplicated, but the feeding of the living Word, which burned in their hearts, could not. If we seek and receive miracles that cannot be duplicated, nor would they want to be duplicated by the enemy, we will have peace, not confusion.