Be Charismatic not Charistatic

Indifference in hungering for more of Holy Spirit will cause us to become Charistatic instead of Charismatic.

It is easy to point at and be cynical about bizarre and excessive behavior in people who claim to be Spirit-filled, but the opposite effect is just as bad, even worse.  A deficient, sparse, or scarce effect of Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian is not only unBiblical, it is ungodly.  The Biblical term for such a state is “DEAD” which Jesus clearly said is something He is not indifferent about.  In His eyes, it is a major problem. 

Revelation 3:1-3…I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  (2)  ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.  (3)… Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief.  

Pretty strong words from Jesus, but it shows us just how important the continual Spirit-filled life in us is to Him.  Spiritual hunger is one of the most important traits in the life of the believer.  Hunger is a universal sign of health.  Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst.

In both the natural and spiritual realm a loss of hunger is a symptom of sickness in many diseases.  Jesus, in speaking to the church in Laodicea, tries to arouse them away from a lack of hunger.  By showing them it is a sick state of being, His hope was that they would be awakened out of their indifference.  He was urging them to come to Him to get what they need to escape their spiritually sick condition.

Rev 3:14-18... (16) ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth… (18)  I advise you to buy from Me.

The enemies of our soul (the devil and our flesh) love to tempt us towards indifference and a lack of Spiritual thirst and hunger.   C. S. Lewis wrote about it in his famous book The Screwtape Letters.  In it, the devil briefs his nephew Wormwood (fellow demon), on the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. “The goal is not wickedness but indifference.” Satan cautions his nephew to keep people comfortable and indifferent at all costs. “If he should become concerned about anything of importance, encourage him to think about his luncheon plans; not to worry, it could induce indigestion.” Then Satan clearly describes the role of the demonic in indifference, “I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with the people who do not care.” 

The Spirit-filled movement is the fastest growing church movement in the world.  It has brought great changes in the Christian landscape.  Contemporary services, increasing use musical instruments in churches, new songs, worship courses, as well as recognizing gifts and anointings can all be traced back to God’s influence through the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.  Being filled with the Spirit has a connection to increased zeal, moving in God’s power both in services and on mission, as well as things like prophecy and speaking in tongues.

The Scripture clearly tells us that God’s desire is that we always hunger for more, not less of the experience of the Spirit in our lives.  While there is an initial “baptism with Holy Spirit” it is not just a one time experience.  It is to be a continual experience that we seek after all the days of our life.  Paul expresses it in Ephesians.

 Eph 5:18 Amp “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit.

The great commentator Matthew Henry expresses the meaning of this verse well.   “The meaning of the exhortation is that men should labour for a plentiful measure of the Spirit, that would fill their souls with great joy, strength, and courage, which things sensual men expect their wine should inspire them with.  We cannot be guilty of any excess in our endeavours after these: nay, we ought not to be satisfied with a little of the Spirit, but aspiring after greater measures, so as to be filled with the Spirit.”

As Henry says we must “aspire after greater measures, so as to be filled with the Spirit.” Anything less than that falls short of what God desires and puts us in danger of the Laodicean attitude of indifference.

Jesus expresses this truth in John’s gospel.  It recounts a story in which Jesus stood up on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles and cried out for God’s people who were thirsty to come to Him and drink of Holy Spirit

Joh 7:37-39  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to Me and keep drinking.  (38)  “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”  (39)  But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Indifference to hungering for more of Holy Spirit will cause us to become Charistatic instead of Charismatic.  May we never be satisfied with less, but always desire more of Holy Spirit”s life and power moving within us.

Biblical thoughts to help us pursue being continually filled with Holy Spirit

Acts 13:52  And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

  • When you come before the face of Jesus in prayer (a central feature of the “Covenant of the Spirit” 2 Cor 3:6-18), ask Him to fill you afresh.  It is Jesus who baptizes us with Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11, Mk 1:8, Lk 3:16, Jn 1:33),
  • Follow the Biblical command of how to stir up and be filled with Holy Spirit (“speaking to one another and yourselves with songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing, giving thanks and making melody in your heart to the Lord ” Eph 5:18-20).  Come before God often with praise and worship seeking fresh fillings.
  • Ask people to lay hands on you and pray for fresh fillings (Acts 8:12-24, 19:1-17, 2 Tim 1:6). When I ask people to pray for me with laying on of hands I point my faith to God expecting to receive a fresh filling of the Spirit.

    Faith releases God’s power, fear releases the devil’s power, and indifference releases nothing.

  • Exercise faith with expectations of fresh fillings and accompanying manifestations. Faith releases God’s power, fear releases the devil’s power, and indifference releases nothing.  Jesus always commended people for exercising faith and always challenged and corrected people who did not.
  • Never allow yourself to become content and indifferent when it comes to the Spirit-filled life.

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