Full Definition of PRETENSE (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
6 : false show : simulation pretense of indifference>
For years I have heard stories of incredible, unexplainable happenings in ministry – physical healing, restored marriages, freedom from life-long addictions, salvations, fiscal provision, and more. It never ceases to amaze me the way that God works, and yet, all too often, I find myself meeting with people who don’t understand why they aren’t experiencing the blessings and miracles that others (in and through Christ) have and are experiencing.
In all honesty…I’ve had these same wonderings in my own life at times; more often than I would care to admit.
Where is the disconnect?
I think far too often people live in pretense and not in the power of the Spirit of God. In other words, far too many people are far too good at pretending. They have become fluent in “Christianese” (the ability to speak Christian words and terms). These people living in pretense are often faithful to attend on Sunday morning, sing the song(s), clap along (some times), mingle with others, drink the free coffee and eat the complimentary doughnuts. Heck! If you listen in long enough, these are the same folks that might even let out an “Amen!” in the middle of the message.
They’ve learned to say and do a lot of the “right” things within Christian circles.
Unfortunately there is NO power in pretense!
When it comes to understanding and interacting with the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we often don’t know where to begin. That, or we just don’t believe that we could ever experience this type of power in our own life. Maybe it’s because we don’t know where to start. It’s possible that we don’t feel like we’re worth the effort. Or could it be that we’re afraid of being let down and disappointed so it seems easier never to have truly acted on the power in an effort to avoid the hurt? I don’t know?! Maybe I’m way off or just rambling. Then again, maybe there’s something to what I’m thinking.
Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say to the church in Ephesus about moving from pretense to power:
18 “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” – Ephesians 1:18-23 (NLT)
If you’re reading this and still with me, DON’T MISS THIS!
The same presence and power of the Holy Spirit that Paul is talking about here is the same power that:
- Conquered death as Jesus rose from death and left an empty tomb (Luke 24)
- Restored sight to the blind (John 9)
- Gave words to the mute (Mark 7:31-37)
- Cast out demons (Matthew 8:28-34)
- Fed the masses with nothing more than 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread (Matthew 14:13-21)
- Enabled the paralyzed to walk, jump, dance and celebrate (Mark 2:1-12)
- Reestablished broken relationships (John 21:15-19)
- Calmed raging storms (Matthew 4:35-41)
Did I mention that the same presence and power of the Holy Spirit that Paul is talking about is the same power that CONQUERED THE GRAVE?!
In Paul’s prayer, he intercedes on behalf of the saints (you and me), praying that the veil might be pulled back from our eyes so that we can see in fullness the power that has already been made available to us in and through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
What this means…
Is that you and I don’t have to play “Christianese”, but can move beyond pretense and into the power of the Holy Spirit, which is already active in us. Why? How? Because the same Spirit that gave power to Jesus is the same Spirit that lives within us, every believer that has entered into a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
I know it’s hard to fathom. I get it. I really do. It doesn’t always make sense. I don’t always feel worthy. I’m not always sure where to begin; how to walk in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. It takes time. It takes intentionality. It takes faith. It takes stepping up and stepping out and moving from pretense and into the power of the Holy Spirit.
I want to invite you to listen in as I addressed this issue with my church just this last weekend. Simply click the link below to be a part of the message.
I pray that you and I might know the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives; that we can move beyond pretense and into the relationship that God designed for us to have, community with Him.