Can we really say that there is a defining line between spirit lead and human lead initiative? Is it black or white? Or are there some grey areas? There has been great debate going on for centuries about the validity of the scriptures , whether it was God breathed or man breathed? Is it possible for God to make mistakes?! Or man to just not listen properly? If it was written purely by man, it would inevitably have endless mistakes, be totally inaccurate and completely ‘off plot’ . If we believe it was spirit inspired, then that means we have great trust that the person who wrote it, was a man of God totally reliant on God’s Holy Spirit. We also, know that God is 100% perfect and his word is infallible. If we don’t believe this, then it would lead to lots of doubts and questions as to whether it was truly God’s word . I believe the latter, that what I am reading (The Bible) is a true reflection of God’s word. However, at times, I have to question the interpretation that others apply to God’s holy word. Let’s face it scripture can be taken out of context, used in the wrong way and can be twisted to mean something totally contrary to God’s word. We have seen countless examples of this across Christianity, as well as in Islam! Extremists (in all faiths) taking words out of context and applying it to allow themselves privileges.
So, how can we make sure, that we are staying true to God’s word? When we read it, hear it, apply it and speak it out? Yes, you could go to commentaries, for a historical understanding, but the nature of God’s work is by the Holy Spirit. This is where the Holy Spirit fills in the gaps. We pray for his understanding, we pray the spirit reveals to us God’s true intention. The Holy Spirit’s agenda is very different to humankind’s agenda! We need to recognise that the only way to the truth is by praying the Holy Spirit helps us, there is no other way. Look at the disciples, for them to be effective, after Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-12), he promised his Holy spirit as their advocate. They were able to do all sorts of miracles and witnessing across a huge part of the continent. This was God’s way.
I regularly question the teaching I have received about the power of the Holy Spirit. Why, after all these years, have I not understood the role of the Holy Spirit, in my everyday walk with God ? Was it not taught properly in our churches ? Maybe our leaders, underestimated its power, perhaps they didn’t really know the Holy Spirit on a personal level ! Perhaps it was my misunderstanding. Yes, I had understood that when I proclaimed, ‘Jesus is Lord’ (1 Cor 12:3) – the Holy Spirit IS living in me, but I didn’t truly get to grips with his power until I started asking God to fill me with his spirit every day. It wasn’t until I started praying in his spirit, did I realise that he was answering my prayers and WAS changing things continuously in the background.
Prior to this my failed number of attempts to do things in my own strength repeatedly failed big style! I realised that no matter how hard I worked or tried, ultimately I was trying to rely on my own strength and not his. I know salvation did not come by my own good works, but I was still relying in my own strength and independence too easily. Culture has told me to rely on myself fully and eventually I let this lie seep into my everyday outlook on life. I let culture win this battle, for a while.
Personally, I have to say, at first, I found it hard to recognise differences. Particularity during a preach. Was it just a good talk ? Were they just incredibly articulate? Talented? Did they get into my psyche? Was it personal? I think it is a great thing to hear different people speak, because it gives you more of a feel to what the spirit looks like, when that person opens their mouth. Aaron was Moses mouthpiece and was lead by the spirit. Moses felt inadequate to speak, but God called someone who truly understood God’s heart. There are clear differences, someone may be good at speaking and charming, but they may not be a spiritual speaker. On the other hand, someone who is humble, could be the most in tune with God’s spirit (Matt 5). More recently, over experience and personal encounters with God, I feel I am more able to discern the spirit at action. I am recognising the spirit working behind man’s word. If man is getting knowledge from his own brain, or if he is finding wisdom from the Holy Spirit. There are two are very different types of wisdom (James 3:13-18). We know that the spirit, cuts deeply into situations, it reveals truth and we can’t possibly ignore it, as it speaks to the heart and causes an alignment of God’s will for our lives. I sit up and listen, when I hear the spirit, it stirs me, it stays with me, for some time after the spoken word has been preached. It is like a spiritual seed that has been planted in my soul and begins to take root of the situation. Eventually that seed will grow in the spiritual dimension and become something beautiful. The spirit comes directly from the heart and has emotion. However, the knowledge from man can seem dry, short lived and sometimes separated from feelings, it could be purely intellectual and spared of emotion.
Signs the Spirit is Alive
The spirit is truly there when things start changing, people become healed, physically, mentally and spiritually. Look at Jesus, he casts out demons, rose the dead, walked on water, provided food when there was nothing and so on. We can recognise the spirit by its works. Are there supernatural works happening in your church ? What difference does it make, if we go on a Sunday and we do not come out a more enlightened person by the Holy Spirit? We need encouragement; we need to see more miracles (this is our evidence that Jesus is real). I mean Elijah (1 kings 18: 38) asked for fire to be poured out on earth as a sign and it happened ! Imagine having this amount of faith. This is what makes our faith authentic and separate from others. Perhaps, tradition, religion and institutions are suffocating the real power of the Holy Spirit? Remember God’s spirit works outside of boundaries to move fully.
God reminds us, we must be in tune with the spirit to truly make a difference to peoples’ lives. I soon let my family know, when I have heard a man of God speak through the spirit as my husband hears all about it from me, for days on end (Lucky him!)
I heard an almost retired bishop speak on being attentive to God and being still– he spoke directly from his heart and this truth really challenged me to actually stop and listen to God. This tiny seed that he planted in my mind, grew to be one of the most effective words spoken to me this year and I realised I needed to change. His talk literally transformed my thinking overnight and made me face myself alone with God. This is the power of the spirit, it doesn’t let you forget and it cuts where it hurts !
Think of the story of the Parable of the Sower, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matt 13 : 3-8).
We can see from this Parable that the Holy Spirit plants deep roots into our lives, if we allow the spirit to take root. If we let our thoughts be captured, and moulded by the spirit through prayer, it can be transformed into something beautiful and produce fruit that is useful. This year 2017, I believe the spirit is working powerfully in all parts of society to prune dead wood and reproduce brand new shoots of living waters .