So, I guess on the heels of yesterday’s post, I would like to talk a little about some struggles I’ve had over the years…and continue to have, today. This is NOT to bash the Church. I love the people of God – even in all of our stumbling and messiness. But I’ve been having a difficult time, for years – and I’m not entirely sure why (other than this is part of the process of walking with God), but I feel the need to share what is on my heart.
Ever since I was young, I have just “known things.” Not all the time, but kind of regularly. I have also had very vivid dreams and visions (some have come true). Again, not all the time – but enough to know that I wanted (no, needed) to explore the possible meanings behind my experiences.
Unfortunately, I quickly learned that these are not things that you can necessarily bring up at church. It’s best to get to know someone before you mention that you may have “heard from God.” I’ve lost some friends…
I believe God’s Word when it says:
“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’” Acts 2:17-18
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
For many years, I rarely talked about my experiences. I felt weird and different and ashamed. I longed for answers, but was hard-pressed to find any on Sunday mornings.
Eventually, I went looking for answers in other places and walked away from the Christian faith. I think we lose a lot of people to other belief systems – especially the new age – because we are unable to serve this part of the Body (or find a place for them to use their gifts). Worse yet, we ostracize and reject them. So, some leave – to search for explanations and opportunities to use their gifts. Others stay – and wilt from lack of exercising their gifts. The precious gifts that they have received from God.
I can appreciate why many churches (who do believe in all of the gifts of the Spirit) just do away with the revelatory gifts. There are many who misuse their gifts – and some claim they have a revelatory gift without actually having one. It is easy for the enemy to come in and make a mess if the church leadership is not good at discerning spirits. So, it’s just easier to do away with those things and just concentrate on preaching the Word, alone.
But this is hurting us…all of us.
The ones with the revelatory gifts are falling away. And once they are gone – and have found another group who accepts them and their gifts – it is very difficult to bring them back.
And the Body misses out because God has given those gifts for the common good. If the Church isn’t operating to full capacity, perhaps it’s because we’re missing some parts! Imagine how we could grow the Kingdom of God if all of our parts were functioning in unity!
But fear surrounds the use of these gifts. And fear is of the enemy. I believe that is why some of the churches, who are heavy on the spirit and light on the Word, have begun to teach some bizarre things. Their hearts may be in the right place, but because we no longer train up those who have revelatory gifts (using the Word of God as our firm foundation), it is easy for the enemy to get in there and counterfeit, and twist, what God has created for the common good of His Church.
One of my favorite teachers on this subject is John Paul Jackson. I DO trust his teachings (even beyond what I have shared on my blog). Again, I never agree with any teacher 100% – but with John Paul, I do mostly agree.
I have followed his teachings for years and actually got to go through his Art of Hearing God course (online). What I love about that course, and his teachings, is he stresses integrity. Integrity and character and relationship with God is actually stressed more than the revelatory gifts. Many get this backward.
Power is the gift you are given – Authority comes through relationship (knowing and believing who you are in Christ)
Relationship with God, Character and Authority > Gift and Power -John Paul Jackson, Art of Hearing God
I’d like to share an episode of Dreams & Mysteries that may drive home my point. It may also bring comfort to those who feel like I do, sometimes – weird, different and ashamed. It might also cause a paradigm shift in those who have never really considered revelatory gifts.
So, I encourage you to take the time to watch (it is a 30 minute episode). John Paul has a great way of taking deep mysteries found in the Bible and explaining them in easy-to-understand language. I think he also diffuses some of the fear that surrounds revelatory gifts…and the people who walk in them.
Teaching notes are also available to the right of the video.
Thanks for reading. This journey took sort of a weird turn, but I’m writing what I feel God is leading me to write. So…so be it!
Have a great day & be blessed!