The service starts. People are welcomed. Everyone puts on their most holy look. And the Sunday commences with “We welcome you holy spirit, come and dwell in our midst”.
Praise and worship begins, but protocol will not allow for freedom to loose oneself in worship. Everything is structured, to-the-tee, in-a-box. The holy spirit is welcomed you say? How?
Up until this year, I’d grown to accept that going to church meant attending a service on Sunday which involved singing some worship songs, praying in between, a power filled preach and off to finish the rest of the Sunday hopefully with somethings to meditate on through out the week. However I’d always felt like I was not experiencing the kind of spiritual growth I yearned for. But I did not know how to go about experiencing that growth. I mean, I will pray more and try read my bible more but that was what I could do in my power. Because I did not experience various manifestations of the holy spirit due to church doctrines, in my mind I thought maybe just a select group of people are anointed to possess gifts of the holy spirit. For my 21years of life, I think I could count on one finger the number of people I heard praying in tongues within the churches I’ve attended over the years. Because of this mindset, I wondered if I’ll ever speak in tongues or prophesy or heal the sick, for example.
I asked myself, how can the holy spirit be welcomed, yet it is almost hidden away in a corner? Experiencing church in this way almost twisted my understanding of the holy spirit and I’m glad I’m learning now. When the holy spirit is not permitted to minister to people due to doctrines or stigma in churches, then Christianity is reduced to religion. This is dangerous. This screams “Pharisees” “Pharisees” “Pharisees”!. The holy spirit is welcomed but people look uncomfortable when thier neighbor starts praying in tongues, to the point where no one attempts to pray in the spirit anymore because people will think they are possessed or mad. People then slowly come to accept that they don’t really have to speak in the spirit. It is maybe just for the ” super holy” who just want to show off or perhaps only for the pastor or elders. I thought this way once.
But I’m so thankful I befriended someone who’s more mature in their faith who pointed me back to the word. And I think it’s so important that we have wise mentors who can help speak truth when we are unsure sometimes. Acts 1:8 says
But some churches are shutting down this power and it’s scary to witness. The holy spirit is preached but not practiced. The holy spirit is welcomed but not embraced. Any manifestation of the holy spirit is seen as weird. People aren’t allowed to actually experience the manifestation of the holy spirit. This spiritual shut down has happened for so long that some christians even regard the holy spirit manifesting as possibly demonic. Because they’re not familiar with this. I always used to wonder why I did’nt really see prophetic words preached, people healed, demons casted out, tongues spoken in church up until this year. It was all watered down by doctrine. But this is not okay. Jesus’ ministry was a holy spirit filled ministry. He came for the sick, the oppressed, the needy, the weak. So if one has the holy spirit unsuppressed in them, they should be able to do the same in continuation of his ministry. But this stigma attached to the manifestations of the holy spirit started literally when it was first poured out on the disciples.
People thought they were drunk. And if we take a moment to think of someone who is drunk, they kind of do things out of thier normal order. They speak what does not make sense, they may laugh suddenly or cry suddenly, they may be unable to walk properly or they may shiver. And this year I’ve witnessed the Holy spirit manifest in people through each of these ways and more like prophesy and dreams and in me too. I’m thankful for this new journey and even more thankful to be surrounded by a mentor and Christians who can point me back to the truth.
Putting restrictions on the Holy spirit is like saying come, but just stay 100m away, thank you. Remove the structure. Remove the stigma.
I’ve been away for a bit due to transition. But I’m settling again, so I should catch up with all your recent posts soon! Yay!😊