My Experience with the Gifts of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:1-11,

1. Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

What follows is my experience with the Gifts of the Spirit…

The Gift of Diverse Tongues

I was a semi-new convert (less than two years saved). We were having a fellowship among 20-somethings, kind of like a college and career age group. We had a Bible study, and we prayed afterward. The power of the Spirit was acutely manifested. No one dared stop praying or worshiping.

In the middle of it all, an intense heat fell upon my face. I realized in time that the Gift of Diverse Tongues was present before me; all I had to do was speak, and it would happen.

But I paused, in mental debate. I knew the Word. Without an interpreter, one should keep silence (1 Corinthians 14:28). I considered who was in the room, and knowing none but one had ever been used in the Interpretation of Diverse Tongues (as far as I knew), I decided that perhaps I should not speak. I prayed quietly, “Lord, is there an interpreter”? A strong impression that there was not one present came to my mind, so I did not speak.

The next church service (two days later), the same fiery feeling came upon me. I again waited, and prayed if an interpretation would be present should I speak a diverse tongue. Almost immediately, God impressed upon me an affirmative, so without hesitation, I spoke in the diverse tongue God had given me, and it was interpreted.

Some amount of time later, in a different church service, I again felt the same feeling, and prayed if there was an interpretation. Believing there would be one present, I began to speak. The pastor at the time immediately shut it down and said it wasn’t from God. I silenced myself immediately.

But I was bothered all day, knowing it was from God, but not being able to prove my subjectivity was more than that. I started to get angry and offended. There was a church fellowship later that night. I couldn’t shake my anger. So I went into the bathroom and prayed, forgiving and letting it go. As I came out of the bathroom, the pastor came to me directly and apologized to me for quenching the Spirit earlier in the day during church service and for silencing me. I forgave and all was well.

The next time it occurred I was standing in the back row. I didn’t feel the fire anymore, but knew what God was doing. This time, however, I felt a check in my spirit to consider the following verse:

1 Corinthians 14:30,

30. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

I took a moment to ask God if He was by chance revealing something to another person. As soon as I did so, another person spoke in a diverse tongue, and it was interpreted.

Since these early experiences, God has used me I would say about less than ten times in diverse tongues.

The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues

I’ve only been used by God in this gift a handful of times. The first time was in a prayer meeting our campus ministry was having. Two different people spoke in diverse tongues. We waited. I didn’t really know what I was doing with this one, but felt God was giving me some words to speak, and so I did. It was a bit rusty, but one person present did feel that some of what I said was from God, as the words in question applied to their, at the time, present situation.

Another time during a church service, someone spoke a diverse tongue. I felt right away that God gave me the interpretation and so spoke. The pastor said what I had said wasn’t the interpretation, but was instead a prophecy, and so, he instructed the church to seek the interpretation. I thought that made no sense, but was okay with it. Someone then interpreted. It was then inferred that what I had was legit and from God, but that it was out of the order God wanted to move, i.e. I should have waited until the diverse tongue was interpreted, then spoke. I thought differently, but didn’t make a stink about it.

There has been only maybe two or three other times that I’ve ventured out to interpret a diverse tongue (that I can recall). I just don’t feel much unction in this gift.

The Gifts of Healing and/or the Working of Miracles

Since these two can overlap each other, I include them both. The reader can decide which of the two I’m describing.

When I was a very new convert (less than six months), on a random trip to a gas station, I saw an old friend working there that I hadn’t seen in years. She had just gotten off the phone and was in tears. Without delay, I asked what was wrong. She said “I just found out my cancer is back”. I didn’t even know she had had cancer (she had moved to California for an operation and recovery, hence why I hadn’t seen her for so long).

She did not know I had become a Christian. I told her about it and asked her if she would let me pray for her. She agreed, coming down around the desk, to where I was standing. I gave her a big hug and prayed “Jesus please heal my friend _______ of cancer”. I may have prayed other things, but I don’t recall. I hung out with her for the next several hours, even while she worked. We talked and caught up on old times. We exchanged phone numbers. She had an appointment made with her oncologist the following Monday.

Monday came and at 11:42 AM she called me. I asked how it went. She said “You’re not going to believe this”. Of course I began to get excited and started to smile and said “Try me”. She said “The doctor said I am completely cancer free”. Of course I rejoiced, but only in my mind. I asked her “How do you suppose that happened”? I was hoping she would acknowledge the work of God in her life. Instead she said “Well, someone must have a lot of faith…”. She meant me. She would not acknowledge that Jesus healed her. I refused to take the credit.

‘Til this day she hasn’t openly confessed her healing. She even showed me the CT scan proving she had again had cancer. But not once did she give the Lord the glory (at least to me). In fact, she then went on, on a different day several months later, to blame God for a different medical condition she had been born with (a deviation in one her heart’s valves, if memory serves).

On a separate occasion, a man who had had a heart attack a few months prior was in church one particular Sunday morning. He said he was having angina, and would be leaving the service to go to the hospital. The pastor had us pray for him and some other men who had heart conditions.

I laid one hand directly over his heart and lifted my other hand to the Lord and prayed. He lifted his hands. I was the only one in direct contact with him. We prayed. I felt a rush of power literally move through me, like electricity from my raised hand across my chest into my other hand into his body. He felt it, too. God immediately healed him of his angina.

My brother and I were asked to come and minister to a sister’s aunt, who had pancreatic cancer. We both spoke, and shared the Good News. I testified how God had healed my friend of her cervical cancer. At the end, we all laid hands on her and prayed.

Immediately her appetite came back to her (she hadn’t eaten in a few days). Her color improved and she said she was feeling better.

A few weeks later, she was in the hospital with pains. I went. The sister was there, too. We prayed for her aunt, who was mostly sedated.

The sister came back later on in the month to tell the church that her aunt was cancer free and healed (from Stage 4 pancreatic cancer).

These are the big three. There are other healing that have occurred when I’ve prayed for people, including for myself, my wife, or my kids. They don’t stand out the same way, however.

The Gift of Faith

God first seemed to begin using me in this gift as He led me to become a children’s evangelist (local only to our own Sunday school, however).

The first child to ever receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in our local assembly was five years old. He was a student of mine. At the end of the hour, I felt that we should pray for this child. We did, and although some time passed, he started speaking in tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance.

The next child, also five years old, and also one of my students, came up to me while I was in the back of the sanctuary ushering. She wanted me to pick her up, so I did. It was during song service, and we were all worshiping God. She heard me speak in tongues (since she was so close, even though I was being quiet). She asked me some questions about it. I answered her questions and asked her if she would like to receive the Holy Spirit. She nodded yes. I led her through a prayer of repentance and a prayer of faith. She received the Holy Spirit, quietly speaking in tongues, with her head down on my shoulder.

I went to the front and told the pastor, even as she continued. He announced it to the whole church. I helped take the offering with her in my arms, still speaking in tongues. When I got to the back, I handed her off to her mom, who was crying.

Within a year or so after that, close to 20 different kids at our church received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, all speaking in tongues. Of that number, two received it elsewhere (i.e. I wasn’t the one praying with them).

In addition to children, God has used me with both teens and adults in the gift of faith, when they were seeking the Holy Spirit. But I’ve never kept track in this area, so I don’t know the number.

If I’ve ever been used in the gift of faith apart from praying with people to receive the Holy Spirit, I can’t rightly say.

The Gifts of Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom

Off the bat, I cannot say I’ve ever been used in a word of wisdom. I have given counsel and advice and have shared whatever wisdom I’ve gleaned through experience, but none of this has ever felt like, for lack of a better term, a gift operating in or through me.

In regards to words of knowledge, I can only say that I know God speaks to me and grants me access to His knowledge. It’s more like getting revelation about a person or circumstance which helps me to understand what’s going on at a given moment. I’ve never gotten what I would call a stand alone “word” as a gift. When I pray with people, God does often share with me what’s going on, and when I share with the person what God shared with me (always privately out of the ears of others), they often confirm it.

It’s usually just an impression in the Holy Spirit about what’s going on in their life at the time we are praying, and why they need prayer. It’s not any big secret reveal, as far as I can tell.

So, with that said, this doesn’t seem like the word of knowledge to me, so I don’t admit to being used in this gift, either.

The Gift of Discerning of Spirits

Before I was saved, I was still a very spiritual person; I just happened to be interested in the evil kind of spirits in the world.

Since I’ve been saved, I’ve often been acutely aware of evil spirits (evening occasionally seeing their shades). I’ve encountered more than one person possessed by a devil, and have been used (with others) in casting them out. One time I became aware of someone, in that past moment, being attacked by an evil spirit. This was later confirmed by the person.

I can usually tell if something is from God or not, and have at least once, discerned the presence of an holy angel.

Regarding discerning human spirits, all I can say is people are known by their fruit. Anything I might have grasped regarding a person can be attributed, perhaps, less to a gift of the Spirit, and more to just knowing the basic tendencies of my fellow man, especially if I know that person well.

Since this gift is so subjective, even if I feel God is giving me a special discernment, I don’t often jump on it unless there seems to be what I call a need to know basis (i.e. the pastors and other elders need to know because the situation requires their immediate attention). Otherwise, if I feel an impression and feel that I’ve discerned something, especially something negative, I usually just take it to my prayer closet.

The Gift of Prophecy

As with the gift of diverse tongues, there was a moment in time when I knew God was giving me this gift.

It was shortly after my wedding, about two weeks later. It was a mid-week service, and we were singing praises to God. I was out in the aisle, dancing. The mood of the Spirit seemed to change, so I stopped dancing, stood still, and lifted my hands and face to God.

In that moment, God spoke to me like thunder and shouted into my spirit the phrase “I AM!!!”

It just about knocked me over. I knew right away it was the gift of prophecy.

Since then, God has used me to share prophetic insights about situations and circumstances the church was facing. God started giving me dreams and visions. Most of the dreams were future based, and they came to pass.

There have been other such instances, including speaking to the church in a prophetic way.

Since then, God has caused me to become one of the seers of our local assembly. It’s usually to expose sin. God is never wrong.

My brother even joked that he wanted to create a T-shirt for the church that reads “IF YOU’RE IN ONE OF [HIS] DREAMS, YOU NEED TO REPENT”, since so many of my dreams have to do with people and their secret sins.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I shared all of the above for a reason other than to boast. Experience is one of if not the best teachers. Many people are seeking teaching on the Gifts of the Spirit, and so I thought my own experiences would offer some insight.

You will notice that first and foremost, they are based only in the Word. God put me to the test regarding the Gift of Diverse Tongues, to see if I would heed His Word above wanting to be used by Him.

Secondly, you will notice that not everything that seems like a gift is one simply for the seeming. There are grey areas, at least in my own experiences. So don’t be surprised if you have some grey areas, too, in your experience. It appears to be normal.

Some gifts tend to be operated by God along the lines of what a person has been through and can handle. Not everyone is cut out for the Discerning of Spirits if they can’t handle being acutely aware of the presence of evil spirits. Some don’t want to or aren’t willing to make manifest the secrets of the heart, and so, the Gift of Prophecy probably won’t do them much good, so God withholds.

Additionally, when the gifts are the real deal, there is always proof, confirmed and unmistakable. Things will happen and come to pass in accordance with the gift. The Gift of Faith in operation will lead to people receiving the Holy Spirit, for example.

No one ought to say, “God has given me the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues” until after they have at least once legitimately interpreted a diverse tongue. Until then, even if it’s so, keep it to yourself until it happens. Then everyone will know and you won’t have to convince anyone (for example: I never said a word to anyone about being given the Gift of Prophecy. But after prophetic things started happening, it became obvious to others just how God was using me).

Lastly, none of this works without the fruit of the Spirit, the primary being love, or agape (See Galatians 5:22-23). God wants to use people who love people. Since the gifts are to edify the Body, and not for personal glory (1 Corinthians 12:7), God will not use someone if the person wanting to be used cares more about themselves than they do about the Body. God gets no glory if the Body isn’t helped and blessed when His gifts are used.

So if anyone wants to be used by God this way, go ahead and earnestly desire the Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:31). But here’s a better idea, i.e. a more excellent way: learn to love people, even the unloveable. Forbear your brothers and sisters. Forgive and be forgiven. Show mercy. Do what is right and good in the sight of God. Be thankful. Even if you never get used by God in such a way, so what? Gifts of the Spirit are not salvational, even if they might lead to someone’s salvation.

We are better off being Christ-like to one another in love first and if necessary, only, than we are being supernaturally used. Being Christ-like first will lead to being used supernaturally second. Being used supernaturally is never a guarantee of ever becoming Christlike.

And finally,

Just because I’ve shared how I have been used in a positive sense, it doesn’t mean I am always used by God, even when there appears to be a need, or if I am earnestly seeking to be so.

I prayed with all my might for God to heal my sister in law, my wife’s sister, of cancer, laying hands on her in the hospital, interceding until I was in pain, crying my eyes out. She died two days later on my wife’s birthday. She was a faithful saint of the most High, passing from death to life at the almost young age of 43, leaving behind a husband and three young sons, with a tombstone that reads “Obey Acts 2:38 to fulfill John 3:5, and I will see you on the other side”.

I prayed for a woman in ICU, who had been in a head on collision, and was on life support. I laid hands on her and prayed fervently with faith. When I finished praying, God showed me she was going to die. She died four hours later.

I prayed for a woman’s dad, the mother of one of my nieces, who was on life support. He died and she backslid not too long afterward. My oldest brother is now a single dad, still living for God, with a daughter born again of the Holy Spirit.

Me, with some other brothers, prayed for a man in a coma who was dying of liver failure and septicemia brought about because of his alcoholism. He never woke up, but died not long after.

I’ve prayed with many who have so far not received the Holy Spirit.

There are other examples, too. Of that I am sure.

But I do not count these as failures, or that something is wrong with me. God is sovereign. There are reasons for Him to move and operate, and there are reasons for Him to not move and operate. The discretion is His, even if we don’t understand.

So please don’t think there is something automatically wrong with you or that you have to chastise yourself for weak faith just because God isn’t using you or hasn’t used you in a long time. To be sure, we all need to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. This is right and good. But don’t presume to think the gifts of God’s Holy Spirit operate independently from His will. He can withhold at any time, even when we would rather have Him not do so.

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~ by votivesoul on 05/15/2014.

2 Responses to “My Experience with the Gifts of the Spirit”

  1. Thank you for your very helpful sharing.

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