New Wine Articles
God's Manifest Presence
VI. Exposing False Equations About the Manifestations
- "If I was more devoted, then I would experience these
manifestations of the Spirit." The experience of these things
are not related to our spiritual passion and diligence, but
are the operation of the grace and providence of God.
- "Many people were visibly touched by the Holy Spirit. Revival
is here!" Actually the classical understanding of revival
goes far beyond the experience of manifestations to deep and
far-reaching spiritual and practical transformations of
individuals, spiritual movements, geographic regions and whole
nations. The terms "refreshing" and "renewal" are more
appropriate for the present work of the Spirit. Hopefully it
will lead to full revival. All the more then, let us keep
praying and believing for it!
- "Those people God is using to impart his power are really
mature and sensitive to God. God must really love them a lot
more than He does me. But if I'm diligent enough, maybe I'll
become qualified to do those same things." People who have
moved in "power ministry" have often unwittingly conveyed the
notion that the power gifts are merit badges of spirituality.
This has brought many dedicated and sincere believers into
condemnation. These gifts and callings are free gifts of
grace and God gives them as He wills to various members of the
Body of Christ. In times of spiritual visitation more members
than normal are used to impart the Holy Spirit.
- "Just be open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit and you will get
touched too." It would be much less perplexing if this was the
way it worked, but it doesn't. Although people may have
emotional barriers that hinder the work of the Spirit, many
who are skeptical and cynical have been powerfully and visibly
touched by God. Others who are very open and hungry for a
touch are not powerfully affected, at least outwardly. We must
refrain from judging who is "open" and who is "closed" and
assuming this may be aiding or hindering a person from
receiving from God. If you believe you may have such a
barrier, ask God to reveal the nature of it to you. He will be
faithful, in His time, to answer such a request. In the
meantime, do not assume that it must be a barrier that is
keeping you from receiving from God.
- "If it was truly the Holy Spirit touching and moving upon these
people, then there will be instant and/or lasting "fruit" in
their lives. Actually, God moves upon and woos people closer
to Himself who never bring forth the fruit that He intends
through these encounters with His grace. There are no
guarantees that "fruit" will result from these "divine
invitations". People are free to respond fully, partially, or
even ignore such spiritual opportunities.
- "If it is really the power of the Holy Spirit
on these people, then they should not have any control over their responses
and behavior." There is such a thing as "uncontrollable"
experiences with the Spirit; however, these are actually more uncommon than
many people think. There is a mysterious combination of the divine and human
powers surrounding the Spirit's work. Peter knew how to walk and had the
power to do so when Jesus invited him out onto the water. The supernatural
side of the event was that he didn't sink as he walked. On the front end of
welcoming the Spirit's manifest presence, there is more control at our
disposal to respond to his activity. In the middle of a welcomed experience
with the Spirit, there is typically less control on the human side, but even
still, there remains an ability to "pull out" of the experience if
the need or desire is present. There are exceptions to this general rule and
we must learn to recognize them, "There is a time for everything,"
said Solomon. The Holy Spirit knows this (He wrote it!), and He is not
necessarily quenched when those in authority in the church or a given
meeting discern, for instance, that the time for quiet, attentive listening
to the preaching of the Scripture has come and they therefore ask the
assembly to respond accordingly. This is not automatically to be considered
the manifestation of a "control spirit"! Loving community implies
individual restraint. Absolute freedom is absolute nonsense!
Revised: October 19, 1995