I have developed a robust conviction that I think is transformative for the body of Christ. Your life, marriage, work, health, and money will shift radically when you become more unrealistic.
One of the greatest issues facing God’s contemporary church is that we have become too realistic. We have tried to make faith pragmatic. We try to merge radical faith with common sense and the two are unequally yoked.
Every Joseph-like dreamer, every Daniel-like visionary, has to fight off the constant appeals for them to “be more realistic.”
Whenever I’m in a setting where people are sharing dreams, creating a vision board, or developing a bold prayer list, the voice of some left-brained, logical, spreadsheet-slave will attempt to restrain the energy by telling everyone that we need to be more realistic.
This may seem harsh, but the realist is Satan‘s “narc”, who poses as a believer, designed to infiltrate environments of faith to keep beliefs from multiplying. Sometimes the person may be your friend; or, it may be an unbelieving parent; it may be a secular coworker, or it may be a church treasurer. Their contribution is never creative, progressive or courageous. They’re only contribution is to remind you to be realistic.
I’ve encountered this person on many occasions. They drip with unbelieving condescension; thinking of themselves as wise agents of change, they swell with scripture-less and prayerless reasoning.
“Pastor, I can’t help it, I’m a realist,” they say to me.
The primary reason they can’t help it, is that they don’t see it as a problem. They don’t see their condition as needing to be helped. They wear their “realism“ as a badge of honor.
My constant pushback to the realist is to remind them that you can’t be a realist and be a person of faith at the same time. If you profess faith in God, by default that makes you unrealistic. To claim belief in a God you can’t see, hear or touch is not realistic. A realist can only believe, acknowledge, or recognize what they see. True believers, see beyond what can be seen. The realist is a limited person chained to present circumstance, glued to available data, and bound to the natural order of things.
You’ve seen what being realistic gets, why not try some “unreality”?
We have reached the place where we only believe what we see. What you believe however, should not be determined by what you see. What you see should be determined by what you believe. There are some questions that need to be answered. Is your worldview shaped by faith? Are the scriptures the dominant influence on your thinking? Do you leave any room for the supernatural to occur in your life? Do you look at the world through the prism of data, science, or polls, or do you view the world through the prism of your beliefs?
My counsel to you is to get unrealistic. You’ve seen what being realistic gets, why not try some “unreality”?
I dare you to start praying unrealistic prayers, dreaming unrealistic dreams, obeying unrealistic visions, setting unrealistic goals, and beginning some unrealistic pursuits. For too long, your reality has gone unchallenged. Your reality has cemented itself because it has gone undisturbed for far too long. It has conditioned you to stay where you are by invoking the language of safety, caution and prudence. But God is ready to boldly rip the seams of your reality. God wants to change your spiritual reality, your financial reality, your missional reality, your vocational reality, and your relational reality.
But you can never have a new reality until you accept that the present reality doesn’t have to be permanent. The time is now. The formula is simple. Nothing in your bank account has to change, nothing in your friend circle needs to shift, no new competencies are needed. All you need is radical faith that aligns itself with the promises of the Bible. Your whole world radically changes when you start being a lot more unrealistic.
DeblEaIre Snell is the Speaker/Director of Breath of Life, and the senior pastor of the Oakwood University Seventh-day Adventist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.
All scriptural texts are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.
This article is part of our 2022 March/April Issue