The Holy Spirit is a gift and should be received. Jesus Christ promised to release the Holy Spirit before he was killed, saying that he does not want to leave us unattended to (John 14:16-18). And after he ascended, having resurrected into heaven he sent him (Acts 2).
And the Holy Spirit has one mandate and one mandate alone: to manifest Jesus (John 16:13-14). That is the ultimate dimension of the Holy Spirit. He operated the gifts through us, causing the supernatural to happen. He directs us in the way we should go, all in the context of revealing and manifesting Jesus. His mission is to get us to be like Jesus.
The operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is not to make you look good but to make Jesus look good, as he really is.
That is where some leaders miss it thinking that the gifts are meant to make them look good, they stopped seeing themselves as the servant but the served. But Jesus said he has not come so that he is served (there are enough angels doing that where he came from) but that he will give his life. Kingdom leadership is about sacrifice, not enjoyment (Matthew 20:28).
Peter writing to the leaders of the church, who are really under-shepherds (under the chief shepherd Jesus), told them to feed the flock of Christ over whom they have been made overseers (1Peter 5:1-4). They were not to carry themselves as lords “over God’s heritage.”
The operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit though sets us apart from others, it does not set us above them.
Jesus told Peter: feed my sheep (John 21:14-17). The point is that he was only as useful as he served the flock of Jesus. Feeding is about meeting the needs of another, and not about meeting your needs.
You cannot look unto the sheep to meet your needs, you look to God, the ultimate supplier (Philippians 4:19). He can move through men but they are not your source, even for self-worth, so you do not overreact to what they do. In the Old Testament God spoke about the leadership who feed on the sheep, and do not heal them, do not help them, not feed them (Ezekiel 34:2-6).
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not the means to establishment control over people, making them subservient to you, as if you are some petty overlord. Those who do that will not be able to say like John the Baptist: he (Jesus) must increase while I must decrease (John 3:24-31). John had a powerful gift of a prophet, but the ultimate purpose was to showcase Jesus, to point people to him. And when he heard that Jesus was baptising more people than him, he rejoiced. Remember that you are not Jesus.
As mentioned before, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus. That is the ultimate dimension. Not realising that will lead to abuse of the spiritual gifts we operate in, and will also lead to pride, with some people thinking that they are more special than others.
Jesus is the one who is special and we are special because of him and not apart from him. We should not create independent fiefdoms in the name of spiritual leadership.
As stated earlier, the spiritual gifts, though sets us apart does not lift us above others. Jesus puts it this way: if you want to be great you must have a servant’s heart, you have to “not” want to be great, you have to want to be small, to serve others. The gifts are means to serve others and not to be seen as greater than they are.
Because the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to express Jesus, it is written, the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
The gift of the Holy Spirit is about both personal desire and the discretion of the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 12). In the famous list of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit by Paul in the book of 1Corinthians, he says the gifts are distributed as the Spirit wills, but later he said that we should earnestly desire the best gifts.
The two go together. Desire gives the foundation, but that it also has to do with the will of God is a call to humility. We are told that if we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, he will lift us up (1Peter 5:6).
It is desire that makes one to separate himself in fasting and prayer. In the book of Acts we see certain prophets and teachers set time aside to minister to God and fast, and in the midst of that the gift of word of wisdom operated (Acts 13:1-5).
They did not determine what gift will operate, when and how, but they determined if they want it at all. Desire is about faith. Remember that sometimes Jesus was not able to release his gifts of healing because of the lethargy of those he was with (Mark 6:1-6).
Everything of God is operated by faith, and when faith in not in place there is nothing for the gift to anchor itself on in us and it will be like God casting precious pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).
To operate the gift we need to set out eyes on Jesus, and reject the distraction of those who are claiming that the gifts are past, or those who abuse it and use it for personal gain.
What needs to be in you for the gift to operate is faith, and the bible says that when we come into Christ we have a measure of faith, and we should use our gifts in “proportion” to our faith.
So faith both determines and limits you in the interplay of desire and divine decision regarding the spiritual gifts. You cannot just sit there and say “what will be will be,” we need to put into action our desire by praying for the manifestation of the gifts. In the bible, our desires are expressed in prayer.
- Day of Pentecost, Whitsunday (emmanuelchatham.typepad.com)
- Pentecost Sunday and the Holy Spirit (joshbenner.org)
- 5-20-2015 The Lord’s Church Are The Lord’s Saved (fellowshiproom.org)
- Holy Spirit (genesisone.wordpress.com)
- Pray (devog.wordpress.com)
- Pray (achristianmeditation.wordpress.com)
- 1 Peter 1:1-2 (nineyearbible.wordpress.com)
- New Wine And New Wineskins (Mark 2) (answersfromthebook.org)