Are We Unenlightened Simpletons?
Excerpt from Divine Strategies for Increase by Steve Backlund
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1)
The book of Jonah is filled with people who had a “spiritual laws worldview.” The end portion of chapter one is an example of this. The sailors believed that a severe storm was caused by the actions of someone on the ship. They pressed into this belief and discovered Jonah was the reason for the tumult. Jonah said that the storm would cease if they threw him overboard. “Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.
Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.’ So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows” (Jonah 1:13-16).
Here are more examples in Jonah about spiritual laws:
- Jonah’s repentance and cries to God caused the fish to vomit him out of bondage and into freedom (Jonah 2:10).
- Jonah proclaimed that Nineveh’s spiritual protection was going to be gone in 40 days (Jonah 3:4). This future influx of curses was caused by their “evil ways and violence” (3:8).
- Nineveh’s positive response cancelled the looming curse and reestablished protection over them (Jonah 3:10).
Many would say that the people of Jonah’s time were unenlightened simpletons whose worldview needs to be rejected as only harmful, fear producing superstition. Yes, we do recognize that there have been some extremely weird beliefs concerning spiritual laws, but we cannot reactively go to the other extreme in blindly embracing secularism as our new religion. Any mindset that rejects the cause and effect created by moral choices, beliefs and treatment of others would be much more dangerous in the long run. It not only influences people away from God, but it causes messes for future generations to clean up.
So, how do we help the supposedly enlightened people around us who discount spiritual realities? Logic and reasoning can be helpful, but Paul gives us the real answer. “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). It is hard to argue with an “unenlightened simpleton” who walks in power. Praise the Lord!
About Steve Backlund
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.
About Divine Strategies for Increase
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord . . . and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3)
The laws of the spirit are more real than the natural laws. Just as the law of gravity can work for us or against us, so do God’s spiritual laws.
God’s laws primarily are principles to release blessing, not rules to be obeyed to gain right standing with God. The Psalmist talks of one whose prime delight is in the law of the Lord. This person not only discovers how to cheerfully make life-changing deposits into the spirit realm, but, more importantly, how to find new aspects of the nature of God (hidden in each law) to behold and worship. The end result of this delighting is a transformed life that prospers in every endeavor. His experience can be our experience, and this book unlocks the blessings hidden in the spiritual realm.
Even non-Christians have unwittingly used spiritual laws to prosper. It is time for the church to become aware of the powerful realm of the spirit and the laws that are at work within that realm.