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Posts Tagged ‘witchcraft’

In my years of experience within the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement I’ve seen and heard some ridiculous stuff.  So I completely understand those folks who are apprehensive about walking down such paths.  But there is a reason that I’ve stayed.

For as long as I can remember, I have believed there was a God, who lived up in heaven, and who is “Our Father”.  Similarly, I was raised with stories of Jesus, who lived 2000 years ago, and who died for my sins.  I was taught that He was God’s “Only Begotten Son”.  There was also mention of a Holy Ghost, but being a ghost left Him a bit of a mystery.  Like some sort of eccentric relative, I’d heard his name at our gatherings, but no one ever seemed to speak of Him directly. 

Though I am thankful to have been raised with this understanding, it offered a woefully incomplete picture of who God really was.  More significantly, it made Him seem distant, and maybe even somewhat standoffish.  After all, the Father lived in a whole other realm, and Jesus was basically presented as an inspiring historical figure.  This made the most tangible elements of my relationship to God, a crucifix, some rosary beads, and possibly a communion wafer.  This sense of detachment made it easy to remain detached from Him.

Inevitably, I built a life without Him, and just as predictably, that life collapsed in the midst of the first real storm.  For the first time, I went looking for Him, and this time I needed Him to be as real as my struggle, my pain, and my fear.  I had to admit to myself, and to God, that He had been little more than a symbol or philosophy to me; and I prayed that He would reveal Himself to me in a way that would change all that. 

He promised that if you seek, you will find; if you knock, the door would be opened.  By His grace, He did that for me.  When I was finally introduced to the Holy Spirit, it was as though God had stepped out of heaven, Jesus had stepped out of history, and they all took up residence within my very being.

As awesome as that moment was, learning to live by the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and be led by the Spirit has been (and continues to be) a journey.  What drew me to the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement was their acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit, and the supernatural dimensions of our relationship with the Lord.  What has disillusioned me about my experience within these circles has been the way the power of the Holy Spirit is consistently trivialized and prostituted for temporal pursuits. 

The working of the Holy Spirit is meant to be deeply personal, transformative, and ultimately life giving.  But the Charismatic world is often more interested in creating a sensational event; a sort of supernatural light, or magic show.  We love to loudly proclaim that, “Lives are being changed,” but we struggle to produce much evidence that this is true.  Too often, we view this power as a tool to cultivate/grow our ministry, when our ministries ought to be a tool for the Holy Spirit. 

God’s power was never meant to be an instrument in our hands, we are meant to be an instrument in His hands.  Attempting to implement spiritual power without a corresponding submission to the person of God, often devolves into a sort of religious witchcraft.  Several years ago, the Lord told me that “the church” has tried to use His power like a stolen credit card, making purchases He’s not authorized for items He never intended for us to have.

Many have suggested that I simply return to a more traditional form of religious practice, but I have no desire to go backwards.  The Holy Spirit is the gift Christ died to give us.  In fact, Jesus said that it was better that He go, so that His Spirit would come. 

Ultimately, there are ditches on both sides of this road.  On one side, we risk becoming the people that Paul warned Timothy about, who have a form of godliness, but who deny the power thereof (2Tim. 3:5).  On the other end of the spectrum, we can become like the people who boasted to Jesus about prophesying, casting out demons, and performing many miracles (Matt. 7:22), only to have Him turn them away because He never really knew them (Matt. 7:23).

There is a narrow path that passes between these ditches (Matt. 7:14).  Lord, help us to walk in Your way.

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