The Move of God and the Move of Man
by Susan Hyatt D.Min., M.A., M.A.
A rapid polarization appears to be occurring today among charismatic Christians.
On the one hand, the Holy Spirit is wooing us into greater intimacy with Himself. He is wanting to permeate every aspect of our lives with His Nature. In this, all we have to do is cooperate with Him. This is the Move of God.
On the other hand, an innate force that craves power, influence, structure, and control is drawing many into religious institutionalism. In this, we invite God to cooperate with us! This is the Move of Man.
Which of the two will succeed in attracting each of us depends on the condition of our hearts. We can and must examine our own hearts and allow God to cleanse us.
In this busy, mixed up world, how can we discern what is of God and what betrays human effort? Well, we can notice where the spotlight is shining. The Move of God always highlights the Creator. The Move of Man panders to the flesh and glorifies symbols and people. The arrival of rituals, robes, and titles should be strong danger signal to us.
We once knew an elderly lady who had walked with the Lord for many years. Long before the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, she would go daily to the Cathedral and pray for the Catholics. When the Renewal broke out, Maneta was readily embraced by the priests, and she was their constant companion. On one occasion, she confronted one of her friends: Jesus said, "Call no man Father, so why do you call yourself Father?" He had no answer. "It's because it's your bread and butter! That's why!" That man soon left his collar and titles behind and has continued to move with God.
A Corporate Ladder?
Somehow I cannot picture a corporate ladder at the foot of the Cross. But the Move of Man is embracing politics, and some would thrive by learning the rites of passage. If politics is the answer, we don't need the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is the Answer, we don't need politics.
The Move of God is dynamic and unpredictable because it is led by the Spirit. The Move of Man is predictable because it is orchestrated by Man. The former facilitates the demonstration of the mighty power of God; the latter, a demonstration of the control of a few over the many. Control in the name of lordship or servanthood is still control.
The Move of God thrives on integrity and true humility. It says, "Let the games cease!" The Move of Man thrives on performance. It says, "Let the games begin!" But Life is not a game! Nor is it a competition for recognition and power. In this earthly life, something that seems too too big for our minds to comprehend is at stake: the eternal state of people. No, it's not a game!
Have you noticed that the participants in the Move of God are "dressing down," and the hierarchical leaders of the Move of Man are "dressing up"? The more intimately we walk with God, the more aware we are that the robes of righteousness are more than adequate. But in the Move of Man, elaborate regalia and pomp are used to fill the voids.
In the Move of Man, the grand cathedral built with human hands becomes a symbol of grand authority. It even hints at being a dwelling place for God. In the 1600s, the early Friend, George Fox, referred to the buildings of the Church of England as steeplehouses. Indeed, now believers are God's temples.
Signs and Wonders
Signs and wonders mayor may not signify God's approval. They are not the ultimate distinctive of a Move of God. Jesus Himself warns us not to take our cues from spiritual manifestations. Nor are we to despise them!
The Little Donkey
Love, humility, and integrity mark the Christian to the extent that he or she is living in intimacy with God. Consider the story of the little donkey (credit: Paul Cain). One day a little donkey went home after his usual day in the city, but this day his mother noticed something different about him. He was just a little cocky, a little proud, a little puffed up with his own importance. So she asked, "What happened in town today, dear?" And he replied, "Oh, it was wonderful! Today the people lined the streets for me. As I walked along, they threw down their nice soft coats for me to walk on so I wouldn't hurt my hoofs. And then, because it was so hot, they waved palm branches as fans to cool me. It felt so good! Then they laid the branches down for me. They couldn't stop cheering for me."
The little donkey's mother replied, "I hate to have to tell you this, dear, but they weren't doing that for you." "They weren't?" questioned the little donkey. "Oh, no," she said gently. "You see, they were doing that that for the One you were carrying."
As I have contemplated Jesus' approach, I've noticed that He didn't make the slightest effort to climb the ladder of influence in the Temple at Jerusalem. And instead of pursuing popularity and public honor, He would withdraw from the crowd.
The question faces each one of us: Whom will we serve? Will we serve Man? Or will we serve God?