Interesting day. Led prayers at North Somerset Council this evening…first Salvationist ever to do so apparently. I guess some were not 100% impressed. But hey, I think integrity, honest and justice are good qualities that wee need to pray for our local government. Nah, I don’t think they minded, some of them weren’t listening anyway. But its good to announce the Kingdom in a place the Kingdom isn’t thought about much.
Anyway, have been thinking all the way through today though about people’s experience of God. For many people it can be an intelectual exercize, and don’t get me wrong, its great to work out our faith in our heads. In fact, I think is important to think through what we believe unless we become thick. But even for the most spiritual amongst us, we often stop short of experiencing God in all His fulness.
My experience of God has been progressive since my dramatic conversion. He touched my life enough for me to realise he was there and to put my faith in him…then I did the thinking out and it worked. But I knew from the Bible there is so much more. The Holy Spirit enabled me to believe and to be born again, but his second big visit to me transformed my Christian life and understanding. Traditionally, Salvos of old have called this “a second blessing” or “the blessing of a clean heart.” Both can be misleading if you take them out of the contexts they were expressed, but they are saying the same thing – that there is so much more that the Holy Spirit wants to do.
I believe that “charismatic” Christianity is normal Christianity. Look at the New Testament. The Holy Spirit comes as part of the package, but some of us don’t get beyond taking off the first wrapper. The Spirit brings his “charis,” his gifts of grace to us for use in ministry. Spiritual gifts are not for hiding or for personal consumption. They are not to be hidden either nor shoudl we presume that we are arrogant if we say “well, the Holy Spirit has gifted me with this.”
What am I saying? There is more the Spirit gives than just a cosy cuddle at the end of the sermon or during our favourite song. He is a Rebel with the Ultimate Cause..to ignite the hearts of Christians and fill them with his supernatural power. We need to binge on the Spirit now and again, get drunk (re Acts 2). God wants to empower his people, but the devil doesn’t want God’s people empowered…be warned.
Come, Holy Spirit.