Can you be too religious for your own good? Yes! We all know people who seem to be so religious that they’re impossible to be around. They’re devoted, obedient, sincere and absolutely unbearable! On the other hand, I’d say you can’t be too human the way Jesus was human.As it turns out, our problem isn’t that we humans are not religious enough we’re not nearly human enough!
When I met John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard, I was a young, restless pastor having a very hard time with the religious mold I was being squeezed into. John was freer and more down-to-earth than the leaders I was used to being around. I was struck by how normal and balanced he was. I was attracted to his ability to live in the tension of being powerfully used by God, moving in the miraculous and at the same time, being a regular, normal, everyday person. He was a breath of fresh air. I wanted to be like that. He was modeling what became known as being “naturally supernatural”.
For me, naturally supernaturalis more than a relaxed, no-hype style of doing ministry. It’s regaining something that’s been lost. Something Jesus by the power of the Spirit modeled, recovered and wants to impart to us – our fully human humanity. This doesn’t mean I stop being human and become religious. It means I become more completely human the way Jesus was human.
There’s a story about Dallas Willard being asked what one word best described Jesus. You’d expect him to have answered with “holy”, “loving”, “powerful”, but he didn’t. He responded, “relaxed”!When I heard that story, it made me think of being naturally supernatural – calm, comfortable, at ease, unpretentious, natural as well as anointed and powerful.
You see the Holy Spirit is, in the words of the 4thcentury theologian Athanasias, the “rehumanizing Spirit”.The Spirit’s job is not to make us more religious, but to make us more human the way God originally intended us to be human.His work is to re-create and complete our humanity, remaking us in the image of Christ the complete, perfect naturally supernaturalperson, so we can enjoy living and co-laboring with God in his world.
This was God’s intention from the beginning when he first breathed his Spirit into the first human being; I don’t believe we were ever meant to be religious. We were created to live fully human, naturally supernatural lives, in partnership with him.
This is why I’ve become a huge advocate of being naturally supernatural. This human, down-to-earth, honest, everyday yet miraculous spirituality has enabled me to live the way Jesus lived and do the stuff he did. Yet being naturally supernatural is more than doing ministry in a way that breaks the negative stereotype of weird, off-putting Christianity. It’s not just a relaxed, natural way of exercising spiritual gifts and praying for people. It’s the way I’ve been able to become a more fully God honoring, honest, Spirit-controlled human being. It’s allowed me to develop and share my gifts in a loving, non-judgmental yet discerning, grace-filled, naturally supernatural community that’s learning together a new way of being human.
I place premium value on being naturally supernatural because it’s allowed me to be an honest-to-goodness normal, fully human being. I can be myself, warts and all, and still enjoy the exhilarating and rewarding experience of God’s power working in and through my life for the sake of Christ and others, making the world around me a little bit better place to live.