by Ray E Horton
God desires to move in our midst
Often church attendance is way under capacity of our buildings because services are run man’s way, according to tradition or church-growth tactics with man-made programs, rather than God’s way, allowing Holy Spirit to lead, as we see in Scripture. People know it and stay home.
When we disobey instruction in the Word concerning desiring and flowing in the spiritual gifts, either as an individual or as a church (1 Cor. 12 and 14), Holy Spirit is grieved. And, when Holy Spirit is grieved, you will find less anointing. When Holy Spirit is allowed to manifest, He softens hearts to receive the preaching of God’s Word, and to be transformed. This must be a topic of interest since it received 162 comments when first posted on Facebook.
Many churches play church with predicable programs that limit the Holy Spirit. I love it when occasionally the service is unpredictable, and God does something different. Due to the fear of misuse, many churches do not allow the gifts of the spirit to operate at all. But, because we are afraid something bad might happen, do we ignore God’s Word concerning the operation of spiritual gifts?
God’s Word tells us: “Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:1). We are told here that right after love the spiritual gifts, especially prophesy, are to be sought after.
The way to avoid misuse of the gifts is to teach on it. It is clear in 1 Cor. 14 how to operate in proper order and to judge prophecy. Also, if taught on, Holy Spirit won’t be limited to choose from just the several people bold enough to step out. It can be hard to be one of the few who are used because one doesn’t want to be seen as someone special when it’s about God, who will use whoever is available and Baptized in the Holy Spirit, if they have the confidence.
The Real Problem in the Church
The real problem in the church isn’t abuse or misuse of the gifts (which can be addressed and remedied), but the quenching of their use, and the lack of encouragement of their use by leadership. People will hesitate, even when the Lord wants to do something through them, unless encouraged.
The church needs the spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ. Additionally, people have been created with a place in their hearts for the supernatural. When the real isn’t quenched, people won’t seek out the fake. But, when they are not experiencing the supernatural through the Holy Spirit, immature believers can be vulnerable to alternate sources, which are all on the dark side, like the occult or new age.
It may be comfortable for church leadership to be complacent and settle for “safe,” routine services. But God desires to move in our midst. So, let the churches encourage believers in the use of the gifts, including in the church services, ordered according to 1 Cor. 14, teaching on their proper use, so that believers are edified, strengthened and better prepared to serve.