The Dangers of Revelation: The Classroom without The Lab
Ahhh, revelation! Don’t we love it when the Holy Spirit illumines the Word, unfolds mystery, and shares secrets with us? Being awakened to Truth is so incredibly exhilarating! However, there are dangers that we all need to be aware of and avoid.
The reality is that it is very easy to become a revelation junkie. Let me explain what I mean by this. To me, this danger is the most important for us to understand. The first and primary reason the Lord grants us revelation into Truths is for application in our own lives, not just to accumulate revelation upon revelation upon revelation with a constant shout of “now that’s a good word!”
In my journey, the pattern that He has almost always used is what I call “from the classroom to the lab” — although sometimes He may also pull a pop quiz on me. Every single time I have enjoyed a classroom time with the Lord when He is just pouring out insights and understanding, He follows it by divinely orchestrating circumstances in my life that provide me an opportunity to take that insight and apply it. I have explained it on several occasions like this: it’s like He guides me from the classroom and takes me to the lab, where He places me on the Bunsen burner and turns up the heat until that revelation is baked onto me and I become that revelation.
Flesh to Word
A couple of years ago I was sharing that analogy with a friend of mine on the phone and as I was speaking that explanation out of my mouth, I heard the Lord speaking in my ear, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh. I sent my Word in the flesh so that now I can turn your flesh into the Word.” You see, the world doesn’t need revelation. It needs Truth! Truth is the manifestation of revelation in our lives. We have the privilege of proving the perfect will of God — His will IS His Word — we get to prove His Word! It’s the Truth we know that sets us free, but you don’t know it until you do it. And once you’ve done it, it is then impossible to unknow what you know.
What happens so often is that revelation is received and then taught without having been applied first to that individual’s own life. There is no authority and no anointing that goes forth if the lab has been skipped! This may sound harsh, but quite frankly if you don’t have a story to share that demonstrates how the Lord worked some revelation into and onto you, I’m not really interested in hearing it. Think about it. If a scientist puts forth new insights or a new theory without actually testing the accuracy in a lab setting, we wouldn’t listen to anything he/she had to say. If a medical researcher formulates a new wonder drug without actually testing its effectiveness in a lab setting, it wouldn’t be allowed on the market. Stories are powerful! They allow us to “see” God’s hand at work in a person’s life and His creativity in demonstrating His Truth in the midst of that individual’s circumstances. I can’t wait to spend eternity sharing stories!
Don’t Formulate, Stop, or Compare
Ok, I think that’s the most critical danger because it can position us as hypocrites before the world if we don’t apply the revelation we receive, but just teach it as Truth. What are other pitfalls? The follow-up danger to the one above is that if we have applied the revelation to our lives and proven it as Truth, we can assume that the lab session for that revelation will look the same for everyone. Not true! The Lord is so creative and intentional with each individual. He specifically and uniquely orchestrates our lab sessions. I love hearing how the Lord has worked the exact same revelation into others that He’s worked into me. He’s a genius at what He does and His ways are infinitely diverse. Marvel at His creativity! Don’t attempt to have others “learn” revelation in the same way you did. Let God be God and do what He does best! Share your stories as an encouragement to others on their journey, not as a formula.
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A third danger is pitching your tent on one revelation. There’s more! Don’t stop! There are some who receive revelation and then make that their entire platform and don’t move further or deeper into the mysteries and deep things of the Lord. There is layer upon layer upon layer of Truth to be excavated in His Word! Keep digging for treasure; mine Him for all He’s worth!
Fourth, we have such a strong tendency for comparison, and revelation can be wrongly used as a measure of where we are on the journey in comparison to others. Don’t do this! I explain it this way: The Lord has been with each one of us from the beginning of our lives. He knows all of our experiences and how each one of us has been “packed.” He knows the questions that are buried deep inside of us that remain unanswered and require resolution. He knows what needs to be “unpacked” and the perfect order of that “unpacking” so that He can “repack” us with His fullness. What can happen though is that if two people are journeying this walk together and the Lord is doing something in person A’s life right now that He did in person B’s life six months ago, person B can think they are further along in the journey than person A; they can feel superior or more spiritual. Well, at that very same time the Lord may be doing something in person B’s life that He did in person A’s life six months ago, so person A can think they are further along. Seriously, we’ve got to get over ourselves! Praise the Lord that in His perfect wisdom He is working strategically in both people’s lives to accomplish their precise and perfect unpacking and repacking!
Go Back Before You Move Forward
And lastly, we must beware our own filters of interpretation whenever we receive revelation or a word from the Lord. I’ll share a couple of my own examples that the Lord has used to teach me this lesson well.
I remember when I first felt the Lord showing me that I will have a ministry. I proceeded to research 501c3’s to try to figure out how they work, what’s required to set one up. It all seemed like more than I wanted to tackle on my own, and quite frankly it made me tired just thinking about it. After letting me do this for a couple of weeks, the Lord broke into my process and asked me what I was doing. Of course, I began to explain that I was trying to understand how to set up a ministry. (Isn’t that funny? I was explaining to Him what I was doing as He just sat there patiently and listened!) He then asked me, “What does a 501c3 have to do with having a ministry?” You see, this is my 21st century United States of America filter: ministry = 501c3. It felt so good just to let all that go and listen to how the Lord wanted to define ministry for me — what does it mean from His perspective. (NOTE: To clarify — this was my personal conversation with the Lord. Just because He didn’t mean 501c3 for my ministry doesn’t mean that applies to anyone else. Remember, He’s all about each of us as individuals.)
Another example happened in 2011 when the Lord said He wanted me to train for a marathon. I had been in a fairly long season of physical training and was excited about the challenge. My biggest obstacle was that I didn’t enjoy distance running. During my teenage years I ran sprints and never trained for distance — the farthest I’d ever run in my life was four miles. Nonetheless, I downloaded a training schedule and hit the pavement. On about my fourth day of running, it’s like the Lord begins running alongside of me and asks, “What are you doing?” I answer, “I’m running – you know – training for that marathon You said You wanted me to run.” I’m thinking to myself (like He doesn’t know my thoughts), “Duh! Did He seriously forget that conversation?” He then says, “But you hate to run.” I’m stunned! “Well, of course! I know that, but I figured that if You want me to run a marathon, You would help me learn to enjoy it.” Then He says to me, “Tricia, go sit down. This is a spiritual marathon. In fact, I don’t even want you working out at all during this season.”
Again, I forgot to take what the Lord was showing me or speaking to me and go back to Him with it and ask Him to explain to me what He meant by it. We have a tendency to attach meaning to things based on our filters (our culture, our experiences, our perceptions, our preferences, our own desires, our own psychological and emotional makeup, etc.). How often do we miss what He’s actually saying? I’ve learned to just respond to pretty much everything, “Awesome — so what do You mean by that?”
Here’s the bottom line: Revelation is an amazing gift! Freely receive all the revelation He freely gives to you, open it completely, absorb and learn it, and go make the world believers of Truth by becoming that revelation! And don’t forget to share your stories!
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