Signs and wonders, like spiritual gifts, do not guarantee spiritual growth. Signs and wonders increase adrenaline, whereas prayer, Bible reading, and humility calm the soul. While there are references in the epistles to gifts of healing and prayer for healing (1 Corinthians 12:27-31; James 5:14,15), the bulk of the biblical content in these letters to the churches addresses matters related to the Gospel, spiritual growth, love, serving others, and saying “no” to sinful desires.
The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. Genesis through Revelation is filled with signs and wonders, and the greatest sign was the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Mature Christians focus far more on Christ’s death and resurrection than on other miraculous signs and wonders. Unless you are grounded in the Word and in sound biblical doctrine, you will become like a kite that has broken loose in the wind. The fanatical winds of false teaching carry people far away from a mature Christian life that is tethered to the apostles’ doctrine.
The miraculous signs and wonders in the first five books of the New Testament dazzle the mind. But spiritual growth cannot be sustained by signs and wonders. Christians need spiritual food every single day in order to grow strong and stay on track. The Apostle Peter instructed God’s people: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2). Healthy Christians find great joy and satisfaction in meditating on the Word of God.
If you are looking for a sign, study the life of a mature believer in Jesus Christ who for decades has persevered through various trials, and who by God’s grace is soaring far above the fanatical winds of false teachers. Religious leaders who strive to get rich incite the same covetous desire within their followers. If you find yourself constantly thinking about money, or obsessed with chasing after signs and wonders, it would be extremely wise for you to take a few steps back.
Reorient your focus. Christianity is centered around the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And there is nothing that could happen in your life or your church that could begin to compare with the riches of that ultimate sign and wonder. God wants your spiritual life to be grounded in Scripture, rather than in the dream of getting rich, or the fantasy of performing all sorts of sensational miracles.
God is more than able to not only provide for your needs but also to perform any additional signs and wonders whenever He may choose to do so. Believe in God for miracles without becoming obsessed with chasing after signs and wonders. Maintain the proper focus, and resist the desires of your flesh.
Obsessively chasing after signs, wonders, and money prevents people from doing God’s will. So don’t take the bait those captivating religious teachers are dangling before your eyes. Instead, study the letters that the apostles wrote to Christians in the early church. And submit your soul to the Gospel and to sound biblical doctrine. Otherwise, you may be seduced by false teaching and easily led astray.
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.