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PLACING GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT  IN PERSPECTIVE

Gifts of the Holy Spirit within the big picture
of Church and our faith journeys
.

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1.    INTRODUCTION

I need to firstly explain that within Christianity the Holy Spirit has a significant role within our individual lives (examples: helping us to find Jesus, our Lord and Saviour; counseling us; guiding us to be obedient to our Lord; guiding and helping us in our lives, supporting us in lifes hardships and much more). However here in this article, and those surrounding it in this section of the website, we look to his actual and tangible presence in the Church to provide clear evidence of Gods very existence. If you would like to gain a quick overview ofHow to believe in Godthen read the article with that title first.

Those Christians within the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement are often given specific spiritual ‘gifts’ by the Holy Spirit  after anointing by the Spirit, ‘baptism in the Spiritinfilling’, or whatever name the experience of being touched by the Holy Spirit may go by in relevant churches. Please see the article, Joining the movement.

Note that I personally prefer to just use the word touched myself, when describing the above mentioned experience, and that is how I mostly refer to it in this website.

2.    THE 'WHAT' AND 'WHY' OF GIFTS

Of course the gifts, are amazing when they manifest themselves, but even the experience of just being touched by the Spirit is powerfully belief building in its own right!

The ‘gifts of the Spirit’ are referred to in the Bibles New Testament, e.g. St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians [please see 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 in the Bible]. These gifts include: miraculous healing; passing on advice from the Spirit to individuals and the whole community of faith at times, for example through prophecies; together with speaking in tongues and others. It all sounds so wild, doesn't it? But, if I can accept it with my analytical mind and previous background of atheism, anyone can ... if they open themselves to it and are ready to believe.

Because these gifts actually are still available, just as they were 2,000 years ago, really does bring home to us the factual nature of the Bibles New Testament (NT).

Gifts, incidentally termed charismata” in Greek (original language of the NT), are powerful evidence of Gods existence, and are obviously provided by him to either/ or:

  • strengthen and direct our faith as individuals.
  • help us to build up his Church.

3.    PLACING GIFTS IN PERSPECTIVE

Now, interestingly, Paul separated the two chapters 12 and 14 (that dealt with gifts), in that 1 Corinthians mentioned above by placing
chapter 13 in there. And that chapter explained the vital importance of love. He highlighted that love, of God and our fellow human beings, was all important. The actual verses on love, there in that chapter 13, are some of the Bible
s most utilised and famous. They are commonly used for example within Christian marriage ceremonies. Essentially, as Paul explained, if we dont have love we dont have anything!

And, I do not think that Paul placed chapter 13 in there by accident. No, it highlights the importance of gifts in the scheme of things. There are other things that come first, like love! So although the Spirit uses the manifestation of gifts to help us Christians for example to bring other people to the reality of Jesus; to build up his Church, they should not be seen as the main reason to attend church ... as exciting as they are! This is why I maintained elsewhere in this website that churches should not concentrate on these spiritual events at the expense of ignoring the rest of the Bibles beautiful, life and faith related teachings.

But, with all that said, it is the use or manifestation of these gifts, empowered directly by the Holy Spirit, that primarily offers us the chance in our current times to actually witness God at work within church services; clearly recognise his presence there. And of course, as I have already written, the experience of just being touched by the Spirit that can happen to any of us if and when offered is also powerful evidence.

Continue to the next article, Gifts from the Spirit.