For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you (2 Corinthians 5:13).
We had a PastorTalk last night in our service where people ask spur of the moment questions and I answer them. I want to address more thoroughly a question that was asked about manifestations of the Spirit. From some of the response I’ve gotten via e-mail, I think that some have misunderstood my answer.
First of all, let me say plainly that I ENJOY MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT WHEN THEY COME! I am open to the Holy Spirit showing up in our services. I answered the way I did because the way the question was asked brought to my immediate memory things that I had to deal with in order to bring correction. I tried to balance my answer by saying that I am definitely open to the Spirit of God manifesting in our services!
With the Baptism with the Holy Spirit comes a heightened awareness of the Holy Spirit and a stronger sensitivity to Him. Over the years, I’ve had the Holy Spirit manifest in me quite strongly, at times more than I felt that I could personally bear. I’ve had manifestations of the Spirit that made me “weak in the knees” and I felt as though I couldn’t stand; I’ve manifestations of the Spirit that prodded me to dance the way David did; I have manifestations of the Spirit when I laughed seemingly uncontrollably. We have had manifestations of the Spirit in our services where portions of the congregation were on the floor under the power of the Spirit. So again. Let me repeat, I’m open to the moving of the Holy Spirit.
Where we need to be careful is when we try to force a manifestation of the Spirit that just isn’t there. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to do what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, the way He wants to do it!
Let me also mention this. It’s important to keep priorities in order. God’s Word should be primary and first place in our lives and in our ministries. Then, with the Word as priority one, we should encourage and yield to the moving of the Spirit as He wills, not as we will! If the anointing is not there for the Spirit of God to manifest, just flow with God and His Word!
I lived in Tulsa for 8 years or so during the 1980’s and during that time I attended many of Kenneth Hagin’s meetings. He would frequently have manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the meetings. I noticed a pattern during that time. One night the Holy Spirit would manifest in a strong way, and the crowd would be stirred. The next night we would have another meeting and it would be standing room only! Everyone invited their friends to come and see the moving of the Holy Spirit. And guess what happened! The Holy Spirit would urge Kenneth Hagin to just preach the Word that night, and there would be little to no manifestation of the Spirit! I believe the Lord was seeking to emphasize at that time the importance of putting God’s Word first in our lives, and not seeking manifestations of the Spirit first. To do so is to encourage error!
We have those today who feel as though we not “having church” unless there are numerous manifestations of the Holy Spirit at every single meeting we have. In my view, that thinking is out of order and encourages excess and error. Our thinking should be, Lord, I’m at this meeting to receive from your through your Word. And I covet and desire manifestations of the Spirit as you will them. I open myself to you, to your Word, and to Your Spirit to move as He wills, not as I will.
Back in the 1950’s Kenneth Hagin was interviewed during the height of the healing revival that was strong at that time. Many ministries were advertising miracle services and great demonstrations of the Holy Spirit. He told a group of colleagues: “When all these other things are gone, I’ll be out there. Because the Word never fails. I build on the Word and they build on some kind of gift.*”
Let’s honor the Lord by putting His Word first, and trusting Him to provide manifestations of the Holy Spirit as He desires. Pray with me for a moving of the Holy Spirit among us.
Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain…
* All Things are Possible by David Edwin Harrell, Jr. (Indiana University Press, 1975) p. 186