Balance. That’s not a popular word amongst some Charismatics. A real popular word amongst non-Charismatics and when I say Charismatics I mean those who don’t believe in cessationism. Charismatics, generally speaking, take the word “balance” as limiting and binding. There was an article written a couple of years ago by Anthony Bradley entitled, “The ‘new legalism’: How the push to be ‘radical’ and ‘missional’ discourages ordinary people in ordinary places from doing ordinary things to the glory of God.” You can Google the article if you want. This blog isn’t geared necessarily towards anything he did or didn’t say but the article brought up some things I’ve been thinking about and haven’t thought about for a couple of years.
I’m speaking from a guy who was raised in the Charismatic(if you like labels) church. Though I was raised in the Charismatic church, I did my own thing for several years and when I was 20 years old made my own decision to follow the Lord. I then went back to the Charismatic church. I also had a couple spurts in a Methodist and AG church, which had wonderful believers in them. Some of the things I’ve experienced were completely amazing and life changing yet at the same time I went through a lot of shame, rejection, and not being able to quite measure up to others around me. And this had nothing to do with sin but with Charismatic performance.
Due to the lack of freedom in many evangelical churches where you can neither dance nor raise your hands during worship, much less show any type of emotional responses or even read the Scripture for yourself, believers have been so hungry for more. Like the ability to express one’s own love for the Lord in ways that they feel comfortable like flag waving, dancing, lifting hands, prophetic art, clapping, shofar blowing etc. But now these actions have become performing, not to say the people themselves are performing to please God because that’s between them and the Lord. With these new sets of standards it opens the possibility that if you don’t do these things then you are labeled nominal or cold or lukewarm or quenching the Spirit. For example, when everyone stands up in church to sing the songs on the projector and you remained seated you may get a look or a “gentle” nudging from another to stand up and get excited about Jesus and you succumb to the pressure to perform all the while it could be the opposite of how your spirit connects with God.
Personally I connect better while sitting and being still. I love reading while laying down as opposed to sitting. Our spirits are Hand-crafted and designed on purpose and for purpose. We are living stones being fitted together. We have to let one stone be different from all others otherwise there might be a chink in the armor of the whole. We have so desired freedom that it’s become a bigger box than we were in before…but it’s still a box if you let it define what’s new and acceptable.
If a person knows what they know and knows what they don’t know and is secure in that and can allow someone else to know what they don’t know and can lean into that then maturity and balance can come. In order for balance to occur there must be two sides having equal force all hinging on a higher Truth that keeps both afloat. Jesus had a great nugget that I don’t think I’ve ever heard mentioned in a sermon and it’s in Matthew 13:52 and says,
He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].
There is nothing wrong with liturgy and there is nothing wrong with spontaneity. There is nothing wrong with hymns and there is nothing wrong with prophetic singing. It was for freedom that Christ set us free.
Several years back where I sat like a bump on a log in midst of others feeling overflowing joy and laughter and His Presence. They would shake & bake and feel great all the while I felt the sensitivity of a gnat. I felt somewhat devastated inside. If this is what freedom was then I wanted in and no matter what I did by mimicking, or getting prayer, or even doing a little fake it till you make it, I just didn’t get it. It was sin because I knew others had sin. What was it? It was even worse when it came for a prayer line when those who were shaking & baking would get more and more prayer and I would stand there in “receiving mode” and get a quick 5 second prayer. A common remark I’d hear about those “experiencing more” than me would be, “The Spirit’s all over him,” and then they would point their finger and the person would flail even more. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those “strange fire” people. I have physically experienced God on several occasions and I fully believe God touches His children in amazing ways. I’ve been healed twice of sinus infections. It’s the box. It’s the “Freedom” box that I don’t care for.
We cannot set aside one set of rules in exchange for another set rules. We need freedom to and freedom not to. The Holy Spirit is wind and blows one way and you don’t see it and it blows another. You don’t know where it’s coming or where it’s going. So are those born of the Spirit. We are ingrafted into this wind and we must leave behind our belongings and step into sonship where you can do what He wants for you and not what others want for you. God’s wants for another may not be the same as His wants for you. His wants for me won’t be the same and His wants for you.
Oneness comes with diversity. In our soul this doesn’t make sense. By our spirit knows. Adam left sonship behind for his own belongings. And until we leave our belongings at the foot of Him we won’t have oneness but a certain longing for unity out of our grasp. I must leave my belongings, the things I use to belong, at His feet and enter into sonship with the One True King.
On a side note. One thing that has set me free from being fascinated by externals is Psalm 103:7 which says,
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
For me personally, knowing His ways is tops. His acts are cool but I never want them to be a distraction. If my wife lauded my gifts and not my heart then I would feel…well used. I don’t get the ecstatic reactions to gems, glory clouds, or angel feathers. Whether they are real or not. It’s not my focus. Because for me, if it was my focus, I would not feel legitimate unless I was able to receive the same exact things. Unless I got a gem stone, unless I got an angel feather(though I joke I do get them when my goose down pillows expel them), unless a glory cloud fills my room I won’t feel up to par. All these things are great, fantastic, and utterly amazing acts of God. But for me, which won’t be for you too, I love His ways. I want to know Him.
Please mind my rant in the midst of the case I’m presenting. I wanted to provide the other side of freedom. The balance. The true freedom where my design can flourish in the midst of a person’s completely different design. Where both designs can be honored, legitimized, and celebrated. So here’s a blessing.
Spirit of _____ I bless you and call you forward and to attention. I bless you spirit with God’s completely different, one-of-a-kind, mold-breaking design. I bless you with the freedom to and the freedom to not to. Be free to be led by the Spirit into freedom. Not chaos but freedom where you can be you and another can be another. Spirit of ____ listen to God’s word for you in Psalms 103:7 which says, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” Throughout the time Israel was in the wilderness there was a special thing Moses and God had going…something different that Israel’s status quo and box. I bless you spirit with knowing God’s ways without needing His acts as a legitimacy crutch. Be blessed and astounded and amazed by His acts but when they aren’t present know your Father has never left you. Absence of His acts never proves the absence of His Presence though His Presence may be known by His acts. Spirit I bless with you the balance of 100% Scripture and 100% Holy Spirit. I bless you with the freedom to have the soul or body touched by God and I bless you with not needing the soul and body touched. Spirit, all you need to do is go to the face of the Father in all situations, circumstances, problems, provisions, and applications and receive all you need from God. Receive all your directions from the Father’s face. May the Father’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May you shine, spirit. May you exude all the reflections, colors, rhythms, wavelengths, sounds, freedom to and freedom not tos that God has placed within you. May you walk in oneness with diversity. May all portions of you be blessed, healed, celebrated and rejoiced. You weren’t wrong in your design, in your feelings, or in your ways of connecting with God. God made you to connect with Him in certain ways and at certain times. There is no box over you spirit! You are free to go to the face of the Father so He may unpack all of your special and unique design features. He will unlock, in His timing, every He has place in you from the foundations. Be blessed spirit to ride the wind, be united to the wind, and to be excited for the wind.
I hope you get the gist of what my spirit was feeling and I hope your spirit caught it. The soul can get pretty wrapped up with a lot of things. One day our spirits will rule and reign in the rightful place it was designed for.
Soooo good!!! We all need to remember this!!
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Beautiful and encouraging words. Thank you.
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Spirit Filled- Not Spirit Weird! I did get the gist and enjoyed your post
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Thank you. Just. Thank you.
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Hi, I am a Baptist, Nazarene sort of guy, and my name is John… I met a friend who was Apostolic and he invited me to his church. I knew it was a charismatic church but I decided to go for the experience. His name is Paul and I enjoyed the service. Later Paul took me to meet Pastor Mark who is also Apostolic. I began going to Mark’s church and recording the services since I am a videographer. I often joke about apostle Paul taking John the Baptist to meet apostle Mark… While at Mark’s church, I experienced what you are talking about in this article. It seemed as though because I didn’t get up and jump around like the rest of the congregation that I was rejecting the Spirit. However I was worshiping in the way I was accustomed. I didn’t “knock” the way they were worshiping and I would wish that they wouldn’t “knock” the way I worshiped. Not everyone has the same responses to God, nor does God talk to everyone the same way. We are all still friends, but I don’t go to the church anymore. I love them both as brothers still… I appreciate your article addressing these ideas and even though we may approach the Bible from a different angle, I too am a searcher for Christ. I too am a pilgrim on a journey which I hope leads to Heaven… May we both find the straight and narrow path that leads to salvation and pass by the broad path that leads to destruction. God’s speed on your journey my Charismatic brother…
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Thanks for sharing. I probably don’t need to ask this but on behalf of Charismatics whose fanaticism judge you I ask for you forgiveness for looking at an external rather than an internal. Thanks again for sharing and for the mutual respect you show or showed.
Thanks for this. It hit quite hard. It’s a good thing God doesn’t judge by the outward appearance as I have been doing. It’s also a good thing this doesn’t condemn me but correct me!! Bless you 🙂
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