Growing up, I heard many sermons, teachings and prayer meetings focused on revival and moves of God. Sure, there have always been people walking in the Spirit, but for years it seemed the American church as a whole was dry and thirsty. Recently, that seems to have shifted though!
In the last decade, signs, wonders, and miracles have exploded in the church. People from every walk of life have been learning to walk in the Presence and power of God. Consequently, revival fires are spreading. God seems to have been answering our cries!
Sadly, the moment God seems to answer prayers for a good thing, inevitably there arises a group of people who think it’s no longer a good thing. Rather than simply address questions and concerns in a balanced way, they swing the pendulum to extremes. They begin cautioning to the degree people shy away from what God actually wrought!
The emphasis then shifts. The pendulum swings to “intimacy.” It’s all about prayer. Then it’s discipleship. We’ve gotta know “the Word!” Since when has it not ALL been good? How about everything in it’s right place?
Along these lines, the word “manifestations” seems recently to be coming under increasing fire (no pun intended). Works of the Spirit are being trivialized, criticized and drug through the dirt. Why? Because some people don’t act right after they encounter God. Therefore, the manifestations must not be true.
Here’s why that’s poor judgment:
The Bible says in the last days God will pour out His Spirit upon ALL flesh (Acts 2:17). That means He’ll pour out His Spirit on strong believers, wishy-washy believers, weak believers, and unbelievers. We also know from the Word that not all people are going to be saved. So, what does that say about the authenticity or “fruit” of the Spirit’s outpouring? Nothing.
In a broad sense, fruit testing is biblical and important in discerning truth. But there will ALWAYS be some, and if we believe Acts 2’s prophecy, MANY, in fact, who receive an authentic touch and then foul it up, run amuck and even walk away. Moreover, Jesus Himself had the most pure ministry, with the most pure manifestations of the Spirit. He touched tens of thousands with His love, truth, and power. Yet multitudes of those touched walked away. So, measuring true and false manifestations by individual “fruit” wouldn’t necessarily bode well for…ya know, THE Lord! hah
I think what we need to look for is a BROAD SPECTRUM fruit. If a ministry and following manifestations are true, then there ought to be a long-term, broad spectrum fruit produced. That doesn’t mean there won’t be people who foul it up on an individual level though. Free will by definition creates such variables. We’d do well to acknowledge this and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
FURTHER THOUGHTS on MANIFESTATIONS:
Let’s be clear on the terminology. The word “manifestation” is actually rarely used in the Scripture. When it is, it simply means to “unveil.” It’s the unveiling of the Spirit (heavenly) to the flesh (earthly). Jesus promised those who love and obey His teaching would regularly experience this unveiling on this earth (John 14:23).
But in the ways people are using the term these days, a more accurate rendering would be “operations [of the Spirit]” (1 Cor 12:6), of which there are many. Remember, Holy Spirit is God, and therefore creative by nature. He has a variety of ways in unveiling Himself to us.
So, how can we honor the Holy Spirit’s ways and simultaneously keep our hearts right? How can we maintain balance and authenticity? Pretty simple, really. Walk humbly in the secret place, honorably in the public place, while keeping both character and power as equally important in our hearts.
Consider, if Jesus said “these signs shall follow…healing, deliverance, divine protection and new tongues” (Mark 16:17), those ought to be present in true believers walking in faith. The OTHER signs can be present too though, as they were also present in the gospels and Acts. We see falling, shaking, explosions of joy, screaming, prophecy, trances, translating and more (yes, read your Bible closely).
But it seems to me any manifestation of the Holy Spirit is possible and should be honored, SO LONG as we also have healing, deliverance, divine protection and new tongues in our midst. If we ever have the “others” without the ones Jesus specifically spoke of, we might question the authorship of the “others.” But if they’re all generally present, it’s likely from heaven. We’d do well to let go and let God work out the ways each person responds. 🙂
Just some thoughts. Hope they help someone keep from riding a pendulum today! For more on how to discern true from false spirits, this may help:https://youtu.be/Pmn-3NzUxsQ