When the devil wants to hijack the advancement of God's people, he introduces subtle, yet destructive deceptions. Deceptions that are easy for us to embrace as truth, even though they are not presented in Scripture ... anywhere!
I want us to consider one of these deceptions and its severe implications to every single Christian or church who has bought into the lie.
Why Does the Devil Hate the Holy Spirit?
One of the enemy's favorite topics to target is the Holy Spirit. This is no coincidence. The more the enemy can confuse the church about the role of Holy Spirit, the more he can gain influence.
Consider this. The very Spirit of God that empowers ordinary men and women to be a restraining force to darkness in the earth has become reduced to being a controversial doctrine that we tolerate, at best, and ignore, at worst. This should not be so!
Satan hates Holy Spirit intensely for one key reason. The Christian who fully embraces the revelation that he or she is actually filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead becomes a spiritual Joshua or Caleb who enters into and releases the promise land of heaven on earth. We begin thinking, speaking, and acting like people who are, quite literally, possessed by God. Surely, this throws a wrench into Satan's diabolical plans.
This is why the enemy so persistently perpetuates lies about the Spirit. He's done this since the beginning of church history, causing division about how equal (or non-equal) the Holy Spirit is to God the Father and God the Son. Controversy has continued all the way up into our modern era, where everything from speaking in tongues to the continuation of miracles to being "slain in the Spirit" is on the table for theological debate and division. Yet, while Christians are dividing over the Spirit, darkness is gaining ground. This must stop if we are going to see a great worldwide revival prior to the Second Coming of Jesus.
The Lie that is Impacting Millions
There is a lie that is being widely circulating in the evangelical (and yes, even the charismatic) church that shuts down expectation concerning the Spirit's movement. In many ways, this lie is robbing the people of God from embracing (let alone sustaining) the supernatural culture that is the inheritance of every single believer. So, what's the lie?
Have you ever heard someone say, The Holy Spirit wouldn't do that ... remember, He's a gentleman. That's the lie right there. "He's a gentleman." We've taken this to mean that the Spirit of God will not move with unusual power or force. He won't make us uncomfortable. That's a lie. You know how I know? Because God's chief concern is not mankind's comfort; it's His kingdom.
Jesus never seemed to consider comfort when he healed the sick or drove out demons. These kingdom-advancing activities always brought great freedom, while simultaneously attracting significant reproach from the religious community.
This false idea about the Holy Spirit has put a ceiling on what we are expecting from God in our lives, church services and in our world today. As C.S. Lewis wrote of Aslan, "He's not a tame lion, but he is good." Yes, the Holy Spirit comes to faithfully represent King Jesus who is kind, compassionate, gentle and caring. Yet, this Jesus is also a King, Warrior and Conqueror. He is Lamb, yes, but also Lion. He blesses little children one moment and casts out devils in the next.
I don't want a containable, in-a-box Jesus. Likewise, why should we place the same expectation on Holy Spirit?
I'm most concerned about the definition we've assigned to "gentleman." While I don't believe the Holy Spirit forcibly causes us to experience something we don't want to, my concern is how we have lowered our expectations of what He can do, will do, or wants to do. Even Charismatic communities tremble at the prospect of "opening the service up" to the Spirit, in fear of what He might do.
Is there risk? Always. Is there potential for disorder? Certainly. As long as human beings are involved, you will have those who behave out of order. Is it worth it all to watch God crash in and transform people's lives forever? Ask John and Carol Arnott, pastors of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship during the Toronto Blessing. Ask John Kilpatrick as he pastored the Brownsville Revival. Ask Steve and Kathy Gray, leaders of Smithton Community Church. Ask Randy Clark and Heidi Baker. Ask Bill Johnson and Leif Hetland. Ask Dr. Michael Brown and R.T. Kendall. The answer is yes. To pay the price of risk and experience the move of God in exchange is always worth it.
Consider the multiple scriptural accounts of how the Holy Spirit moves. In the Old Testament, he comes upon the judges and prophets with great power, anointing them for supernatural exploits. Even from His grand entrance on the Day of Pentecost, it's quite obvious that He's not tame. He invaded that upper room as a mighty rushing wind (Acts 2:2-3) and it's been His will to bring heaven's mighty transformation ever since. So why aren't we seeing it as much today?
Tune in Tuesday for part two of this article.
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book, The Fire That Never Sleeps, with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars, and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as vice president of publishing for Destiny Image Publishers.
You can receive daily empowerment for personal revival from Larry on Facebook (facebook.com/larryvsparks).
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