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The Manifestation of the Spirit of God
The manifestation of the Spirit is not supposed to be the norm. How many of us has God given spiritual gifts? To everyone! Some might think, "Not to me. What Paul is talking about hasn't ever happened to me." My answer is, "Yes it has! You just didn't have the theology, the practice, or the encouragement to recognize it and respond."
Most of us, frankly, are just too dull, lethargic about our Christian witness and responsibility to be able to release the gifts. Furthermore, many of us are ignorant about spiritual gifts simply because we have not received biblical teaching about them and have not seen healthy examples of them,
"Now about spiritual gifts brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant" (1 Corinthians 12:1).
Many years ago when I started to teach on healing, I taught for nine months on healing alone. It was then that we began praying for healing regularly for the sick. But we did not see anyone get healed during those nine months!
We grew desperate. We saw it in Scripture, but couldn't perform it, so more and more we called out to God. Then someone was healed. And like a trickle, it began. It has greatly increased since that time to now where we see healings every week. The point, though, is that our practice is rooted in what we saw in Scripture.
Most of the models of spiritual gifts to which the evangelical community has been exposed are immature Christians--persons not formed in a godly character.
What put me off for years as a pastor was the steady stream of people that would come to me after having been baptized with the Holy Spirit, who were now operating with an elitist attitude, telling me that I was not as spiritual as they were. Of course, I measured them on the basis of their family life and character--what I think are sound bases for judging growth and maturity of individuals--and I very often saw immature people.
But this was a false basis for judging the validity of spiritual gifts because gifts are not only given to mature people--they're given to willing people. It took several years for me to realize that these people had become barriers rather than bridges to my experiencing and understanding gifts.
The gifts of the Spirit are for the receiver (the one being prayed for) so all that is required is that the messenger (the one praying) gets the package to the ones who God is sending it to.
The gift says everything about the Giver and nothing about the messenger. The only thing required to be used of God to deliver a gift—be it healing, deliverance, prophecy, etc.—is to be available.