Goodness, we have come along quite a journey talking about the power of God that is available to every born-again believer, haven’t we? I think what’s most encouraging and exciting, is the truth that in our relationship with the Lord, there is always a progression! We will never arrive at the place where we know all there is to know, or have experienced all there is for us to experience in Him. It’s like looking at the reflection of a well cut diamond that the light has caught in just the right way to throw out thousands of shiny, colourful, dancing specks of light. There are so many beautiful and wonderful truths to discover and experience in the Lord, I believe it will take an eternity to do it all.
I suppose what is really thrilling is that this Christian faith is alive and the amount of attention we give to developing it always pays dividends. What I mean is: it always enriches us in a significant way. We are never untouched or unchanged by whatever we put in. This is simply remarkable to me! I’ve often told the Lord how learning about Him and living for Him is a win-win scenario for me – every time! There is just no getting the wrong side of the deal with Him, or coming out second best. There is no loss for us when we pursue anything concerning Him.
I’ve been doing a study on the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are listed in 1 Corinthians 12. I’ve listened and watched different teachings about them and their purpose in our lives, and have learnt that they are actually more active in our lives than we realise. Being led by the Spirit of God in our everyday lives paves the way for us to operate in these powerful gifts more frequently than not, and brings such a joy knowing we are operating in an active partnership with the Precious Holy Spirit.
Lester Sumrall made a statement that got my attention. He said as Holy Spirit led children of God, we are the creators of an environment, not partakers of it. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Personally, I agree with Him; I really do believe that since we carry the powerful presence of God in us, we should be the ones defusing what the enemy has set up for disaster and diffusing the peace and love and power of God everywhere. Doesn’t that remind you of 2 Corinthians 2:14, that says, “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere.” Operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit can and will do just that.
Now, even though they overlap and interact with each other, the gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to be categorised into three different groups: the revelation gifts; the power gifts; and the inspiration gifts. Today we are going to begin looking at the revelation gifts which include the gift of a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge and the discerning of spirits. As we explore these gifts, we understand they all operate at the discretion and by the unction of the Holy Spirit, and they must be administrated in a way that benefits and profits all. The Word teaches us to be good stewards of these gifts being sensitive enough to not just receive them, but operate in them at the most appropriate time.
Remember, even though the Holy Spirit initiates the gifts in us, we are still in complete control of our faculties. We don’t go into some strange spiritual trance or stupor while being held hostage by the Holy Spirit as He forces the words out our mouths, anytime, anywhere, and we have no control over it. That simply isn’t the way the Holy Spirit works. The devil, on the other hand, manipulates, controls and abuses those he possess – not so the Holy Spirit! We maintain our free will to either flow with Him, or not. Of course, if we harden our hearts towards Him and choose to ignore His promptings, we grieve Him; and without a change of heart, we’ll find ourselves in a place where His manifest Presence ceases to operate in our lives as it should. Galatians 5:4 speaks about this.
Now, most gifts operate primarily in the environment of the church, they can and do operate outside of that environment too – wherever and whenever the Holy Spirit deems it necessary. Every time, it will be for the benefit and profit of the one on the receiving end of the gift.
Paul was pretty clear on how the gifts should operate in the church. He explains that to just shout out what the Holy Spirit releases on your heart, at any time in the service, on the top of your lungs, is certainly not going to benefit anyone. If anything, it’s going to disrupt the flow of the service and whatever the Holy Spirit is doing at that moment. That’s why Paul says it’s best to quietly submit what the Lord has laid on your heart to the leadership. The pastor, who is called by God to lead the service and is ever sensitive to the flow and direction it should take, will release you to speak what the Lord has given you, at the appropriate time. This way it will strengthen the flow and enhance what the Spirit is doing in the service, benefiting everyone.
Having said all that, we have time to look at one of the gifts of the Spirit today, and it’s called a Word of Wisdom. This is a specific word that the Holy Spirit reveals to you concerning the future. It’s important to note it’s a fragment of wisdom, relating to a specific situation that has not yet happened. It’s not when someone is generally wise about all things in life. Some churches teach that Solomon operated in the gift of a word of wisdom, but that’s not true at all. He may have been wise in some of his dealings, but that doesn’t mean he operated in a word of wisdom. Remember, it’s a specific, fragment of information about a future event that you would naturally have absolutely no knowledge of. That’s why it’s called a revelation gift, where God supernaturally reveals it to you.
The reason for this word of wisdom will be to give direction or a directive. It can also warn you of something, so you can prepare yourself for it. This is what happened to Noah when God warned him about the impending flood. The warning came along with specific instructions to prepare him for the flood. The Apostle Paul also received a word of wisdom, warning him about a future event in Acts 27. Before he set sail to leave the Island of Crete, the Holy Spirit gave him a word of wisdom, warning him of a terrible typhoon that would cause the ship to sink. Paul warned the captain and his crew to not leave the port for the sea, but they didn’t heed him. And then, away from the safety of land, a terrified crew faced the dilemma of a ship about to be wrecked and their lives most certainly lost to the mercy of the dangerous, stormy sea. But in verses 21-27, we read how Paul calmly and confidently tells them an angel of the Lord had appeared to him saying that not one of them would lose their lives. And even though they lost the ship, they were all spared.
Now, the word of wisdom could also be a warning where we need to take heed and change something by the power of prayer. Here, when the Lord warns us about something in the future, His Spirit may stir in us an urgency to pray specifically about it to ensure a favourable outcome. Romans 4:17 tells us we can call things that don’t exist as though they do. I have often been in prayer meetings or church services where a word of wisdom came warning the church of a future event. Right there and then we would pray into the situation, exercise our God-given authority until we felt the urgency lift and the peace of God dominate. Then, we would burst into spontaneous praise declaring the goodness and victory of God over our lives. What a powerful, dynamic gift the Holy Spirit has given us, for victory! A direct, timeous supernatural revelation; a fragment of wisdom concerning the future…
In our next letter we’ll explore more of these exciting and powerful gifts!