For a while now the idea of a “breakthrough” has bothered me. I have always heard: “I had a breakthrough“, “they had a breakthrough“, “he/she finally broke through“. I thought to myself, what is this constant need for a breakthrough from the saints who have been church all of their lives, and what are we breaking through? Bear with me I am going somewhere with this, I promise.
Here is my trouble with “the breakthrough”. Aren’t we supposed to be living for Christ daily and not just on church days, so why do we need to start over every service? Shouldn’t we be living consistently for Him, rather than from breakthrough-to-breakthrough?
I believe that this is more than an issue of spiritual consistency. What I see is a myriad of issues with the idea of waiting for Sunday’s breakthrough. One is seeking to impress Jesus with our works, “look at how good I have been Jesus, so bless me”. Another is the lack of faith in God’s love unless everyone around us was tearing the church apart and God is knocking us off our feet. Yet another is the offering of pride and self-indulgence (article for another time – I am referring to Cain and Able). I am not saying that this all that a breakthrough service is about, I am just saying (myself included) that we have all been guilty of this way of thinking at one time or another; let’s be honest.
I grew up in an environment focused on the level physical and emotional manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Now before you freak out, I love great church, tongues and a great move of the spirit. Again, please bear with me; this is not an article bashing the move of the spirit, only a closer look at the heart behind our worship and praise offering.
This way of thinking lead me to believe that there was more of God in the big moves of the spirit, and what we were pushing for was “good church“, thus we were trying to reach a spiritual climax to get more of God. Our faith was in the physical manifestation of God’s presence rather than a spiritual unseen God. The problem with this is that often the big moves of God were typically at conferences, youth camps and big churches with great music where the best musicians played and the best preachers preached.
Growing up in a small church, we didn’t have the best musicians, there was no praise team, just a minister who often sang off key, forgot the words and only sang from the dreaded “red hymn book”. Growing up my walk with God was often seasonal at best because I waited until I could feel Him in a “big service” before I could have my relationship with Jesus or my breakthrough. As a young man, in my mind, my little church didn’t have good enough music, a good enough song leader, a fiery enough preacher and the church wasn’t spiritual enough to impress God and warrant His presence with a breakthrough service.
If we break this way of thinking down, we find that our faith and worship really isn’t based in faith in God, but rather is based in what we can feel, see, hear and can experience in the physical. What we are really worshiping is the excellence of music, and a man’s ability to stir us with his words. When we obtain our breakthrough service we feel God has finally been gracious enough to manifest Himself because we have somehow merited His love with enough tongues, singing, worship, praise and our goodness.
This is not faith; this is waiting on physical evidence of God to believe He is with us. Let’s reflect on the following questions:
- Are we then doubting that God loves us until we blow the doors off the church?
- Is having a breakthrough and speaking in tongues the only way we can feel God and have a relationship with Him?
- Are we seeking to have our lives justified with a breakthrough, by pushing through a shout out blow out service?
- Are we waiting for a preacher to tickle our ears and hit our hot buttons to get us going?
- Have we stopped reading and studying our Bible because it is boring and it doesn’t have the same flare as the fiery conference preacher?
- Without all the physical “stuff” to move us, are we then limiting our relationship with Jesus Christ to the breakthrough service?
and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
God’s love and grace is a gift, we can’t earn it. An outpouring of His spirit is because of His greatness and mercy, not our own. We should have faith that God is with us and loves us whether there is a massive outpouring, a quiet peace or just a simple teaching of His word in our homes or church.
Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?
Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
When we praise, worship and rejoice it should be to lift up Jesus Christ and not to lift ourselves up so that He can pour out His spirit because we are worthy of His presence. Our praise should be to lift Him up because we love Him for His grace and mercy.
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope
In closing, our walk with God should not be measured or limited to the amount of “church” we can have, but expanded to a daily ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us trust Him by faith that He loves us and is with us even if we can’t feel it like fire shut up in our bones and nobody is running the isles. I pray we continue to have awesome breakthrough services and we blow the doors off the church. I also pray that we keep our hearts in the right place when we render up our offering of praise and worship to Jesus. Let us not seek to do this because we are worthy, or out of self-indulgence, or as a quick fix for a lack of a relationship with Jesus, but out of gratitude and love for our God.