God can never be reduced to a formula, or made small enough to be packaged and sold in a church, but instead has to invade our very beings to bring transformation, says author and speaker Christy Wimber.
"We as the Church have lowered our theology to our experience, and created our own theology around what we're comfortable with," she said last night.
"Sometimes we only want God to move when it feel safe. We don't want to ask too much for fear of disappointment... but God likes to come in and shake everything up. His desire is to move in you, so he can move through you."
Wimber said that often Christians pray that God would come and change things in their lives, as long as he does it their way. We worry that if we invite him to come and he actually does, things might get messy.
"You can't have the Holy Spirit without mess. How can you pocket the wind? How can you tell a bird where to fly? God has to come and invade us," she said.
Speaking from Isaiah 54:2, "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes," Wimber explained that God calls Christians to get ready for him to move in their lives. She said that we have to stretch ourselves, as an athlete stretches to prepare for exercise. The Christian life is ongoing, and we're constantly growing, she said, and we're called to be lifelong learners.
The tent was once the place where people went to meet with God and be made holy. But in the New Testament, with the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus, we became the tabernacles, the dwelling place of God, ourselves. We are the place where people encounter Christ, and his power now lives in us. So we need to make room for God to come, and not just show up, but to do stuff and make changes, Wimber said. We have to make room for God to move - we have to get rid of things that are blocking our relationship with him, and surrender everything we have for his glory.
"When God stretches us, more often than not it hurts, it's painful and it's uncomfortable," she continued. "And that's because he's taking us somewhere we haven't been before, and we're encountering him in ways we have never encountered him before." We often don't understand why or how he's doing this, and that's a good thing. "That's the best place to be in the Kingdom. If we do understand him, we just brought God down to our level of understanding."
But nothing will change in our lives and God will not move in all his fullness unless we give him permission to, she said. "Don't hold back parts of who you are, because that's the part he wants to use. We hold onto these areas out of fear or insecurity...we wear our sin and our bondages as birthmarks and say things like 'this is just the way I am, it's the cross I have to bear, it will always be like this', but thanks to God we have him and his power, and we can change."
And the point of all this? To show other people how good God is. "Why do we want to see greater things? So there's more glory for him. Why [do we want him to use] more of you? So he gets the glory. Why do we want to see more things? So more people encounter him," Wimber finished.
"Seek him till he comes then yield to him. How do we get more of God? Yield, surrender...and allow him by the power of his Spirit to take us, move in us, and change us for his glory."
Christy Wimber was speaking at Spring Harvest week one in Minehead.