Just waiting for an ‘Anointing’ to wash my problems away: Toxic Faith pt 2

We are all like druggies, wanting that quick fix to kill the pain.

Be it a drug, some porn, a sale, a comfort food, an altar call, a dose of the ghost (Holy Spirit), or a faith formula to get what we want. Anything, just anything to avoid going deep, facing our sinfulness, repenting and making the change.

Maybe they had seen too many telly Evangelists. They told me they had been to multiple healing services and now they had come to me and wanted me to ‘pray the demons out of them’. When I said that I would like to know more about them, they stormed out of the room and asked the passing caretaker to pray for them. He looked kind of shocked and puzzled.

Contrast this with another person who was making a daily practice of reading and reflecting on small pieces of scripture. They were also reading some material about a group that had brainwashed them. Then they came and talked about it with me. 

The second person was getting fat on truth. The swelling of their soul was expanding so wonderfully that a lot of the old beliefs and struggles were simply and quietly just falling away.

No drama, no hype and no telly evangelist to be seen. Just simple, good meaningful conversation. 

Toxic Faith Systems

One of the toxic faith systems I have seen amongst many Christians is that they don’t need to go deep to heal. They especially don’t want counseling or therapy of any sort. 

Instead they

  • Wait on God for a Zap, a blessing, an outpouring, an anointing.
  • Wait and pray for a Zap on someone else, generally their spouse.
  • Wait for the next ‘revival’
  • Name and claim in Jesus Name
  • Loudly claim the ‘blood of Jesus’ over everything and everyone
  • Hope in a magic fix

As someone who has been there, done that, I can understand its appeal. 

However for all the hundreds that wait there will be just one or two who have a mind to do the work. They are the ones who have decided to get fat.

The Yoke gets heavy

An image that is used in the Bible to describe the struggles we carry is that of a yoke. A yoke was a large heavy collar that would fit around the neck of an animal. To the yoke were tied various ropes that pulled farm implements etc.

We all have a ‘yoke’ burden of beliefs that keep us from experiencing the fullness of life. Despite all the altar calls, prayers, formulas, and courses taken, they remain bound to the heavy weight of that yoke. That yoke gets heavier and heavier with no relief. 

The prophet Isaiah wrote this

In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat. Isaiah 10:27 NIV

Older translations will read ‘The anointing breaks the yoke’ and we misconstrue that this anointing is something that comes from outside of ourselves.

Yet this passage points out that yoke is broken because of fatness.

That cow’s neck, with the yoke around it, had grown so much that yoke just didn’t fit anymore. The neck swelled so much that it literally burst that old yoke apart.

I started out this post with two people. One person grew fat in their soul. Over time a depth grew in their faith that didn’t need or even desire a zap from God. They sought help from counselors, spiritual directors, and wise soul friends.

They stuck to the centuries old tradition of personal examination for the real obstacle in their life, confession, and repentance, then a stepping out with new beliefs that empowered new behaviours.  

How are you going to get fat?

  1. Stop chasing fizzy fairy tale faith.
    We all want the quick fix, and it’s sold to us in such alluring ways. Run from it. Go deep and build strong foundations.
  2. Accept the need for personal change.
    Ask God to point out the areas that need changing. The blind spots, the flaws and the beliefs that hold you back.
  3. Take personal responsibility for yourself.
    We so easily blame others for our predicament, and we want God to sort out our problems. However it is you that has to do the work.
  4. Eat good food slowly.
    Read and listen to material that asks questions of you, that makes you think. Spend a week in just one passage of the Bible. Practice Lectio Divina. Memorise scripture and invite it to do work on your soul.
  5. Talk about what you are learning.
    Find two other people that want to share the journey with you. Listen deep, don’t rush to give advice, and pray with a perception gained from the conversation.
  6. Get help when you come up against the roadblocks.
    Seek out the counselor, psychologist, spiritual director, psychotherapist, pastor who has the wisdom to go deep with you.

May you become fat in the soul and all the yokes that have held you back burst off.

Quotes to consider

  • There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.  Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society 
  • ‘The chief thief is the belief beneath’ The subconscious is always the power behind the decisions we make & the outcomes we experience. David Riddell
  • God meets us where we are, to empower us to move closer to where we long to be. He does not meet us where we pretend to be, or where we wish we were, or where in better days we once were. He meets us where we confess to be. Larry Crabb Fully Alive

Questions to answer and leave a comment below or anonymously

  1. Why is the quick fix buzz so alluring to us?
  2. What helps you to go deep and have a foundational change in your life?
  3. What examples of fizzy and fluffy faith have you observed?

Barry Pearman

Consider reading these posts.

Image: Nine Köpfer 

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8 Replies to “Just waiting for an ‘Anointing’ to wash my problems away: Toxic Faith pt 2”

  1. a few weeks ago we had a guest preacher who grew up in the rural Philippine Islands. He told us when the yoke fits the animal, it’s comfortable and allows them to work with ease. Same as when we wear Jesus’ yoke of trusting him and service to others.

  2. Barry
    I faced this a lot when working with hospice patients. I actually consider it to be spiritual abuse to feed someone a name it and claim it or a dose of the ghost type theology.
    I believe you’re on target when you state people want a quick-fix but they also want quick-fix with no boundaries.
    Four instance nothing changes in their life there’s not real transformation it’s just a false image to give them a little warm fuzzy.
    Barry you once asked me to be a patron I have no idea what that would mean or look like so can you please explain ?
    Also you have put out no label on yourself such as I am a minister I’m a therapist or spiritual director.
    As a United Methodist clergy woman I would be curious to know your spiritual practice background.

    1. Hi Judy, thanks for the comments.

      A patron on my Patereon account is someone who gives a little bit of money each month, basically to help me to continue to develop this work. It is a minimum of $1 per month. Here is a link to find out more. Patreon

      A bit more about. I have been a community chaplain in a large church where I was focused on providing pastoral care/ support to people with disabilities, primarily related to Mental Health. After 13 years of doing this I then went and a pastored a small Baptist church for 2 years. You can find out more about me here https://turningthepage.info/about-barry-pearman/

  3. Being one who has enjoyed “doing the work” in the last few years, I can talk of a great satisfaction as God has cleaned up my faulty belief systems.

    Yeah it can be hard, but this has made me less afraid of life, feeling more able to face with God anything that comes my way. I have wanted the zapping too, but I now view it as God’s mercy in wanting time with my heart rather than just give me all the “toys” in the world so I can go out and not disturb Him.

    I almost view it like giving an ice-cream to a kid, but not until after he’s eaten the meat and veggies.

    I think this process of “becoming” is the harder challenge for God, because it requires our trust and collaboration. The annointing on imperfect vessels is just His mercy, and it could be dangerous in the wrong hands…

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