Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Charisma: Good or Bad? How about too much?

            This is a response to an email from a friend.  They had been thinking on the subject, and decided to get some feedback from other people.  This is what I had to say on it. 
            If you have thoughts and a moment of time, I would really appreciate input.  This, I feel, is a very important subject, and I am painfully aware of that fact that I am a fallible human being: more than capable of making mistakes.

Are we talking Charismatic as in belief in, and desire for close encounters with God such as speaking in tongues, miraculous healings, etc.?  Whatever the case, this is where I stand:  Anything that distracts from the true worship and admiration that God is due, regardless of its professed intent, should be checked in, if not removed entirely from, our life.  Let me put it this way:  God desires you; you, your life, your heart, your soul, anything and everything that pertains to you.  While I believe that these things are indeed a glorious part of our faith, and that they are totally legitimate, I also believe that they should never be paramount to simple faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  Such as someone who might have had a genuine divine encounter with God while at a certain place where His presence is strong, but then repeats the same process over and over again because they like the feeling of “closeness” and being “on fire for Jesus” and maybe even revel in the attention and admiration they might get for being so “in tune” with God.  When those things don’t line up with someone’s lifestyle for the other 357 days of the year, it seems that there must be some disconnect, indeed, not on God’s part.  Jesus said that you will know a tree by its fruit.
            Not for any particular reason, but I really don’t use enough scripture in my writing.  So here we go:
            Read the whole first chapter of James.  But here is the premise of what I’m saying:  “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls.  But prove yourself doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he  like a man who looks at his natural face in the mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.  But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effective doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.  If any man thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.  Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  (James 1:21~27)  Wow… I was going to say something about that at the end, but that just said it all…  I looked up that verse remembering only the last part, but the more I read, the more I couldn’t leave out of the quote.  Read the whole chapter.
            “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.’”  (1 Samuel 15;22)
            “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:1~3)
            God is the source of love, there is no love apart from Him.  I want to have true and undefiled love for anyone else, we must love Him first above all.
            “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So you will know a tree by its fruits.  Not everyone who say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the Will of my Father in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’”  (Matthew 7:15~23)  

            Also read 1 Corinthians 14:1~19. 

            Obviously, there are many, many, many verses that speak to this subject, and I have only scratched the surface of a large subject.  I would challenge you to search the scriptures yourself and see what you find (and let me know!)

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