PLACING GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT IN PERSPECTIVE
Gifts of the Holy Spirit within the big picture
of Church and our faith journeys.
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; supporting us in life’s 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 God’s very existence. If you would like to gain a quick overview of “How to believe in God” then read the article with that title first.
Those Christians within the Born Again/ Charismatic movement are often given specific
spiritual ‘gifts’ by the Holy
after ‘anointing by the Spirit’, ‘baptism in the Spirit’, ‘infilling’,
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
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!
of the Spirit’ are referred to in the Bible’s 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 expose 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 Bible’s New
Gifts, incidentally termed “charismata” in Greek (original language of the NT), are powerful evidence of God’s existence, and are obviously provided by him to help us to build up his Church.
3. PLACING GIFTS IN PERSPECTIVE
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 most famous
and utilised in the Bible. They are commonly used for example within Christian
marriage ceremonies. Essentially, as Paul explained, if we
don’t have love we don’t 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 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 that churches should not concentrate
on these spiritual events at the expense of ignoring the rest of the
Bible’s 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”.