Charisma

Since the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost about 2000 years ago, we have as believers been given gifts and authority (among other things) through God’s choice to abide in us.  The following is a recent reflection I have had regarding such authority and gifting, based largely on my observations as I continue to be blessed by fellowship with charismatic brothers and sisters. It should be noted that I use the term ‘charismatic’ in perhaps its most general theological sense–simply those who affirm that the ‘miraculous’ gifts laid out in the New Testament are still for believers today (though, naturally, not every gift for every believer). I gladly identify with this sense of being charismatic (though never to the exclusion of our cessationist brothers and sisters).

Our emotions need not be ‘caught up’ with our service, obedience, and action—even speaking healing over someone, praying against Satan, or being confident in God’s deliverance. So often they go together, hand in hand–the fruit of our being undivided selves–but must they be so? I would say no. Moreover, I would say that, often, our emotions can be a means for us to (attempt to) manipulate the spiritual realities that we would seek to influence—even in Jesus’ name. They become a way that we feel, momentarily, control over the scenario by our emotional connection.

When words are not fulfilled, or people not healed, dissonance is created. We perhaps rush too quickly ahead of the dissonance, instead of learning what it would teach us. Were the emotions very different from the time when the word was fulfilled? the person healed? the prayer answered? Probably not. Yet fulfillment did not come. What do we make of that, if not that it never depended on our emotions, and that our faith and confidence run much deeper than them; our faith and confidence in Jesus perhaps find their rightful place even leading our emotions.

Appeals to the creator can be made out of depths of despair, emptiness, fullness, love…all these situations. Yet our authority depends on He who hears, not we who muster and feel. Rather we are filled. Thus even without supplication, saying with Peter, “In Jesus’ name, stand!” we remember our filling, not our feeling, often in tandem, but not mutually dependant.

If this is accepted, the implications of the principle are far reaching, affecting how we view our involvement in God’s kingdom. I think we become much wiser in how we assess and engage others, as well as being ourselves enriched toward deeper dependence and trust in God, and a fuller understanding of His omnipotence, and omnipresence, as a separate person—a self—who has chosen to set up his sanctuary in us, ourselves selves with our own range of independence and feeling.  We recognize the dissonance between our selves and God’s patient self, but not toward despair at the gap we might see.  Rather, in hope, as we remember our daily renewal unto God, and his deep faithfulness despite our wavering selves.

Praise God, who fills us with every good thing from above through Jesus, as the apostles have taught us.

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