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 in 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 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.
Within the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement of the greater Christian Church, ‘anointed’ Christians are often given specific
spiritual ‘gifts’ by the Holy
Spirit . Please see the article, “Joining the movement”.
These gifts are briefly described below. I realise all this might
look just a bit crazy to the uninitiated, but they really are genuine.
You might have to trust me there for the moment. (The who’s, how’s and why’s of this website are presented on the home page.) The genuineness of these gifts are highlighted in the article, “Gifts of the Spirit” if you have the time to read it.
2. THE 'WHAT' AND 'WHY' OF GIFTS
course these gifts are amazing when they manifest themselves, but even
the experience of just being anointed or ‘touched’ (as I like to call it) 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. Again, 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 can just open themselves to its possibility: be 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:
- strengthen and direct our faith as individuals.
- 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 Bible’s most utilised and famous. 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 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
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 spiritually 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”.