If we ordinary believers glow with the Spirit, we flow in the Spirit—to the glory of God.
Thinking about the Spirit of God working in our lives, scares a lot of believers completely away from even considering God working through them. Other are put off by excessive doctrines of Pentecostals and Charismatics. Never the less, if we believe in Messiah Jesus, God works through both the put off and the Pentecostals and Charismatics.
All who believe in Jesus as Savior, Lord and King have been born again and baptized in the Spirit. The only way we can believe in Jesus is by the unction of the Holy Spirit (John 3). We have been regenerated and regeneration includes being born again and baptized with the Spirit (Titus 3).
With that perspective, we will see how to flow in the Spirit. Paul explains about the gifts of the Spirit.
Now gifts are given to different persons but by the same Spirit. Ways of serving are assigned to them but by the same Lord. Powers are given to them, but the same God works everything in all people. Now, the Spirit shows Himself to each one to make him useful. The Spirit gives one person the word of wisdom. To another the same Spirit gives the word of knowledge. To another the same Spirit gives faith. To another the same Spirit gives the gifts of healing. Another can work miracles. Another can speak God’s Word. To another discerning of spirits. Another can talk other languages. Another can tell the meaning of languages. One and the same Spirit works all these things and gives as He wishes to each in his own way. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Consider this. Have you ever misplaced or lost something and tried to think where it might be and looked and looked for it and couldn’t find it? After exhausting your memory, have you asked God to help you find it? Did you suddenly see where it was in your minds-eye or think where it was? If you have had a similar experience, knowing where it was was the gift of knowledge. This is how the Holy Spirit works the revelatory gifts of the Spirit in us. We don’t know how we know, but we know. “The wind blows where it pleases and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where it’s coming from or where it’s going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
Flowing in the Holy Spirit is kind of like flying by the seat of your pants. Why does a mother or father sooth a feverish child by gently caressing the child’s forehead? Why does that help? Believers keep being filled by the Spirit and minister the gifts of the Spirit without identifying them as such.
We do hear what the Spirit is saying, even though we don’t know exactly how. Sometimes we look at someone in a store or on the street or in a home and we know where they lost something of themselves or we see them encountering a dangerous situation or we see them doing something for the Lord. Sometimes we are in a gathering and we know just where the Holy Spirit is leading.
When Jesus was talking to the Samaritan women, He knew she had had many husbands—the gift of knowledge. What He did with that information was a word of wisdom.
Here’s another example. We had just moved to Grand Island and were getting the unpacking completed when our 6 year old daughter Tara came and said “Sam is missing.”
This was a crisis. Sam was our favorite cat. With all of the doors being opened and closed, he had slipped away. Now he was in a strange city in an unfamiliar neighborhood and had never slept a night in our new home. We went out and called for him. We walked around the neighborhood calling for him. It was getting dark, so we came in. What should we do? Tara said, “Let’s ask God to bring Sam home.” So we prayed. When we finished praying Tara said, “Let’s let Sam in.” So Judy and I swallowed hard and went to the door with Tara. We opened the door and just as she expected Sam came in. That was the gift of faith.
In about the same time frame a friend of ours, Gene Boone, was ministering to a small gathering of about 40 believers. One was twisted sideways and had a hump shoulder. Gene asked her if she would like prayer. She said, “Yes.” Then Gene had the lady sit down in a chair and asked her to extend her legs straight out. One was about four inches shorter than the other. Then he laughed with joy and asked the children to come near and see what God would do. Our son Troy and Tara went near with the other children. He asked the Father to bring healing and wholeness to her and said, “Leg grow out.” The leg grew out. As it grew out, her back straightened and the hump went away. He took her hand and she stood up straight and tall. That was working a miracle.
When our children were still at home with us and one was sick, we would anoint that one with oil and ask God to bring healing. What ever was wrong we would command to be right. For instance, “Pain go,” or “Fever go!” Then we would put our hands on them and bless them. For instance: “May our Father in heaven bless you with healing and health and wellbeing a give you a good nights sleep, in Jesus name.” When they were healed, it was a manifestation of the gift of healing.
Years ago, Chuck Flynn put his hands on me and said, “You are a householder and you will bring forth out of your treasure things old and new. Go forth and speak the creative word of prophecy.” That was the word of knowledge and a personal word of prophecy.
One time, Judy and I gathered with other believers at a church to hear a guest speaker. After preaching, he invited people to come forward for personal prayer and ministry. The pastor, the guest speaker and a student of the guest speaker were laying hands on people and praying for them. One of the first people to approach the student was our friend Larry Lichti. He told the student he knew the sin he was in and asked him to step aside with him. When they we in a private area, Larry told the student a spirit was causing him to read and look at pornography. Larry requested him not to minister to the people and the student complied. After the gathering, Larry explained the situation to the pastor and guest speaker with the student and the he repented. Then Larry commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man and it did. Detecting and identifying the spirit was the gift of discernment or discerning of spirits. Casting out the spirit was the gift of faith. The way Larry handled the situation without disrupting the gathering and unduly embarrassing the student was the word of wisdom.
Back in 1975, Judy and I were devout Missouri Synod Lutherans. We were participating in an evangelism outreach through our church. This is where we met a charismatic couple, Jim and Diane Nelson. We knew there was something different about them and always tuned our ear to their conversations, even from 10 feet away. Eventually, we asked them what God was doing in their lives and they shared with us about what they called the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
That was a lot to take in and being sola scriptoria Bible believers, we studied the Bible to find the truth about this. Within a few weeks, we were convinced this was for us today. Our friends took us to a home fellowship group and prayed for us to receive the filling of the Holy Spirit. We did. However, we didn’t speak in tongues that night because we didn’t know how to move in the Spirit.
A short time later, we bought a book entitled Tongues, How to get it How to give it by Don Basham. I read it one night and began speaking in tongues as the Holy Spirit gave utterance. The next day, Judy did the same. She later recognized that she had been speaking in tongues before reading the book, but she didn’t think that was what she was doing. We both speak in tongues and move in the Spirit and thank our Father in heaven for pouring out the Holy Spirit for all to drink.
Paul taught, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 14:14 RSV). That is a big tip on how to speak in tongues. Most of us think of what we are going to speak and then say it. Since we always use our mind to talk, using our spirit to talk is a step of faith. Think of it this way. When Peter walked on the water, he did the walking and God did the holding up. Peter knew he couldn’t walk on water in the natural, so each step he took was a step of trust in God. When our spirit prays, the Holy Spirit provides the syllables, words and another language and we provide the air and vocal cords. We do the talking as God holds us up. Our mind is not productive. In fact, it is counterproductive. Our mind is thinking, wait, this isn’t natural. What will people think? What if what I say sounds like gibberish? If we wait for the other language to pop into our mind before we begin speaking, we will never speak in tongues. Walking in the kingdom of God is risky. It takes trust in God. But speaking in tongues doesn’t take any more faith than trusting God for our salvation.
So our part is taking a breath, using our vocal cords and moving our mouth to whisper, speak or sing. God’s part is providing the utterance by the Holy Spirit quickening our spirit. Paul taught, “I will pray with my spirit, and I will pray with my mind. I will sing psalms with my spirit, and I will sing psalms with my mind” (1 Corinthians 14:15). That is a good way to pray, because the unction of the Holy Spirit to our spirit for praying with our spirit carries over to praying with our mind and visa versa. We all need building up and praying in tongues does it. We would all do well to speak in tongues.
But you, dear friend, building yourselves up on your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love, as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you everlasting life. Jude verse 20-21
Praying in the Holy Spirit is different from praying with our minds. It is praying in tongues. Even a good Lutheran commentary bears this out.
Don’t be backward in zeal. Glow with the Spirit. Serve the Lord
As God gave me His gift of grace/charis for every one of you, I tell you, don’t think too highly of yourselves, but take a sane view of yourselves, everyone according to the amount of faith God gave you. We have many parts in one body, and these parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, many as we are, we are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. We have gifts that are different according to what His love gave us.
- If you can prophesy do it according to the faith you have.
- If you can serve, then serve.
- If you can teach, teach.
- If you can encourage, encourage.
- If you share, be generous.
- If you manage anything, do it eagerly.
- If you help people in need, do it cheerfully.
Love sincerely. Hate evil; cling to what is good. Love one another tenderly as fellow Christians. Outdo one another in showing respect. Don’t be backward in zeal. Glow with the Spirit. Serve the Lord. Romans 12:3-11
If you can do it do it.