Everything they said I shouldn’t do…

23 May

When talking to Christians from non-charismatic or conservative evangelical backgrounds, I often find myself having to deal with their resistance to the idea that God would want to manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit through them, bless them finanically or meet with them personally in day-to-day life.

Some attempt to write these things off as minor doctrines, but God has spoken clearly in the Bible about a great many things besides forgiveness, holiness and salvation. Generally I find that people start to mention the issue of “minor doctrines” when they are trying to excuse themselves from dealing with parts of Scripture that they find challenging. Unbelief regarding God’s word or fear of what other Christians will think of them is what holds them back from exploring God’s ways. How often do we say, “We don’t do it like that at my church?”

Nothing is as important as knowing you’re saved from sin, but God has given us a lot of very clear teaching about how to live and how to build His kingdom. Receiving salvation (being born again) is just the first step. It’s amazing to see how all the stuff people at my old conservative evangelical Baptist church tried to talk me out of when I was in my teens has become the most liberating and powerful teaching – and all I had to do was take God at his word.

They said I didn’t need to ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit, but when I did ask Him to fill me with the Spirit, I found power to witness and a sense of Jesus living in me that being a born-again Christian from age 10 and going to church all my life had never given me. (Acts 1:8; Romans 8:11)

They said speaking in tongues was a waste of time, but the more I speak in tongues, the more I hear from God when ministering to people and am empowered to use the gifts of the Spirit. (Romans 8:26,27; Jude v20)

They said I shouldn’t bother raising my hands in the air when I worship, but when I do it I feel more connected to God and worship takes me into two-way communion with Him. (Psalm 63:4)

They said I shouldn’t bother laying hands on people to pray for healing, but I have done it and people have been healed and shown the love of Jesus as a result. (Mark 16:18)

They said I shouldn’t bother trusting God to prosper me, but every time I do, He blesses me financially! (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11)

The bottom line is that we can do things God’s way, as the apostles and prophets did, and if we do so, we will see what the apostles and prophets saw. Many Christians are discovering this to be true and are seeing God do amazing things through the gifts of the Spirit, as well as being abundantly blessed with financial and material provision, enabling them in turn to provide for the preaching of the gospel and ministry to the needy. Alternatively, we can find reasons not to do those things and have the kind of church I grew up in, in which most of the people we reach are those who are already stable in life and part of the church system.

I’ve begun to see what God does when we take Him at His word.  If you’re looking to see Him do what He said He would do, don’t let well-meaning, “unbelieving believers” talk you out of it.

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