In my work both abroad and at home it has become apparent that not all pastors or christians are in sync with the Holy Spirit.
Now, this is not a surprising statement of course, and yet it has been surprising to me to encounter believers who have one whole ‘knowing system’ seemingly silent; it is the effect of this on their lives that has caught my attention.
In the person unable to discern the spirit there seems a preponderance to rely on the brain, their own best thoughts, needing rules, falling back on theology even. A reservation of soul that borders on fear, it’s gods safety, surety and control.
Or it may show up in the one whom mimics the prayers and preaching of others without any real sense of leading or direction, just determination to do it ‘like them’. An expression of passion but without sense (and without the spirit.)
I’ve initially encountered this in gatherings where one person will continue praying long past everyone else gone silent. I’ve found it at crusades where someone will go on speaking after the spirit has lifted. Everyone knows something is off except for the one carrying on.
And I’m reminded of the verse in Proverbs that points out, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable , But he who restrains his lips is wise.” (10:19)
I’ve seen it play out in the desire to manufacture what happened in one place onto another place. Where we are tempted to take the Spirit and the work of God and make it into commodity that can simply be transferred from one location to the next.
(Maybe I am missing something, but everywhere I go there are different needs and therefore different responses and offerings from the Spirit.)
I’ve seen this lack of spirit-knowing in the inability to navigate nuance in kingdom life. Rules would be much more comfortable thank-you very much. “Just tell me what is right and what is wrong. Then I can rest.”
But spirit life is a relationship. Not a set of rules. Not a list of right and wrong. It is why John wrote,
“But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” 1 John 2:27