The Gifts Part 88
Another difference we must take into account between the day of Pentecost and Paul’s teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, is that on the day of Pentecost the tongues in which the hundred and twenty spoke were as a sign for the unbelievers who had gathered out of curiosity, while throughout Corinthians, tongues as well as the other eight manifestations of the Holy Spirit are referred to as gifts. In Jerusalem, tongues were a sign; in Corinthians, tongues are a gift.
The gift of tongues can be interpreted by one with the gift of interpretation of tongues so that the congregation might understand the mysteries which the individual manifesting the gift of tongues is speaking to God, and by so doing edify the entire fellowship.
Due to the lack, or in some cases the total absence of the Holy Spirit within the church many seek edification elsewhere and by other means than that prescribed by the word of God. Biblically speaking, this present life ought not to be affected by external factors such as how big your house is, how much money you have in the bank, or how new the car you drive is. Biblically speaking, we ought to receive no edification or joy from the amassing or hoarding of material things, because our edification and joy come from the Holy Spirit, and each time we are in the presence of God, each time we commune and fellowship with Him, each time we speak to Him in a tongue only He understands, we are strengthened, comforted, edified, and exhorted. Because our joy, our peace, our edification, and our comfort come from God, as children of God we ought to possess all these virtues in abundance not because of our circumstances, but in spite of our circumstances.
I know people who live in mud huts, who only have one change of clothing, who are dependent on our ministry for firewood so they don’t freeze in the winter, who labor from sunrise to sunset plowing their fields, tending to their animals, and trying to provide basic essentials for their families, yet who have the joy of the Lord, who are fulfilled and need for nothing, who are daily edified, who are daily strengthened, who are daily comforted, because they seek these things not through possessions, but through the inner working of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
One of the greatest lies perpetrated upon the house of God in recent years, is that stuff makes you happy, complete, and fulfilled. Countless numbers took the bait, they surrendered their hearts to the desire for material possessions, and the trick seemed to work while the getting was good.
While the economy was booming, and one’s equity in their home grew by leaps and bounds seemingly on a daily basis, while money came easy and spending it came even easier, it seemed that the doctrine of prosperity was a suitable surrogate for the edification, joy, comfort and peace that the Holy Spirit brings. But then, as all cyclical economic booms do, this one fizzled out, equity started to plummet, credit was harder to come by, and all the stuff we’d amassed over the years seemed useless, worthless, and dull.
Tragically, I have known believers who were shaken in their faith, who lost their joy, who were robbed of their peace, because they trusted in things to edify them rather than go to God and His Holy Spirit for edification.
Temporal things might edify you temporarily, but nothing temporal will edify you perpetually.
Only God through His Holy Spirit can edify, strengthen, and comfort, even when things aren’t going our way, even when by way of the material we have less than nothing, because the joy that God gives, the peace that He brings, the strength with which He imbues us, are not dependent upon the material.
You don’t need stuff to make you happy, you need the Holy Spirit. You don’t need men to edify you, you need the Holy Spirit. You don’t need pills to comfort you, you need the Holy Spirit.
There is so much more to the Holy Spirit than the visible manifestation of the gifts, and just as there is always more of an iceberg beneath the surface than there is above the surface, the Holy Spirit always works more in the heart of an individual than He manifests via the gifts.
It is because the gift of speaking in tongues edifies the individual that Paul was adamant in his desire that all would speak in tongues, just as he was adamant that all should desire to prophesy because prophecy edifies the entire congregation. When we are edified, we are instructed and encouraged toward intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement, in essence given the means as well as the motivation to grow and mature and become more like Jesus.
As believers we are encouraged to seek after spiritual gifts, to desire spiritual gifts, but not so that we might become important within the congregation, not so that we might have the brethren serve us, not so that we might look our noses down on the rest of the fellowship, but out of love for the household of faith and the children of God. Love must be the driving force behind your desire for spiritual gifts, love must be that which compels you to cry out to God and seek after that which He promised His children, and if love is not the motivator, if love is not the reason we seek after the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then we must repent of our selfish desires, and begin to seek the gifts for the right reasons.
Possessing a certain gift does not make an individual more important within the Body of Christ than the rest of the brethren, because all the gifts are equally important, equally beneficial, and equally necessary within the house of God. In certain situations, certain gifts are more efficient than others, but all the gifts are equally important.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
To The Sister In Washington,
You might call it presumptive on my part, but yes, I do believe that physical manifestations in lieu of the gifts of the Holy Spirit ought to make us cautious. It is Biblically proven out that Abram, Moses, Balaam, Joshua, David, Ezekiel, Daniel, Peter, James and John fell on their faces, but this was more as a sign of worship than as being 'slain in the spirit'. The only two examples I could think of from a biblical standpoint, wherein individuals were drained and exhausted, were Ezekiel and Daniel, both overwhelmed and exhausted for several days after their encounter with the power of God.
I never intimated that your experience was demonic, what I did say, is that we ought to be cautious, and test all things. I'm sorry, I just can't get on board with barking and clucking and slithering around like a snake on a leash, or acting the fool in the house of God, calling it a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, when none of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are outlined in the Bible are being manifest within that congregation.
My advice as to your personal dillema, is the next time it happens in church, plead the blood of Jesus and see what happens, or otherwise fleece God to see if indeed this is of Him.
As you said, we trust God to do what we cannot, but it is still incumbent upon us to do what we can, to make certain that we are worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.