1 Corinthians 14:32-33, “32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace —as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”
There are generally two opposite opinions concerning the order of the gifts that are both wrongly held in many churches today. First, some people think that for the Spirit of God to move freely, people need to be “Granola Christians” and act like fruits, nuts and flakes. This twisted view of the gifts makes the bizarre and strange the “norm” and stresses human emotion and extremism.
Second, and equally as wrong, but on the other end, is the idea that the Holy Spirit can only move if He is neat, tidy and in perfect order with man’s agenda. Churches like this believe the Holy Spirit is the exact representation of their plans. This kind of man-centered-order grieves the Holy Spirit and quenches His fire. I call these kinds of people the “Frozen Chosen Christians,” because they may be saved, but they have no fire of the Holy Spirit!
The biblical order and proper use of the spiritual gifts is in the middle of wild fire and no fire; which is contained fire. The New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit did extraordinary things, however, He didn’t draw attention to people being weird but rather to the preaching of the gospel.
For example, the first time the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost the bystanders thought the disciples were drunk because they were acting strange in their eyes (Acts 2:12-13). However, the disciples weren’t speaking in tongues to cause a commotion but rather for the gospel to be preached in every person’s language. The people were the ones confused because at first they didn’t understand what God was doing. When “Granola Christians” try to recreate the event by acting “drunk,” they are actually doing opposite of what happened. The real way to imitate what the disciples were doing is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and go out into the community and preach the gospel with whatever signs God gives, not what man tries to conjure up.
Likewise, when the disciples went to Cornelius’ house, the Holy Spirit came upon his family in an unexpected way; they began to speak in tongues during the preaching (Acts 10:44-48). If Peter would have acted like some of the “Frozen Chosen Christians” that I know, he would have stopped what God was doing and grieved the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean people can interrupt the preaching whenever they feel the Holy Spirit, but it does teach us that God can change the order of the service. Peter, who was in charge, recognized this and let God have His way!
Here are three things to do to ensure biblical order concerning the gifts; (1) Always remember your gift is subject to the church leadership, don’t be a “prophetic rebel,” (2) The gifts will always draw people to Christ, not to “fleshly weirdness” and (3) Remember its not about you, it’s about God moving in the hearts of people.
We need to be like the leaders of the Azusa Street revival from the 1900’s, who saw thousands of people saved and gave birth to a movement that today has hundreds of millions of followers around the world. They said, “We are measuring everything by the Word; every experience must measure up to the Bible. Some say that is going too far, but if we have lived too close to the Word, we will settle that with the Lord when we meet Him in the air.”
- Talk to your local church’s leadership and submit to their structure on how to use the gifts in their various ministries. If you attend a church that doesn’t believe or operate in the gifts, prayerfully meet with the leaders to see if they are willing to learn or seek a Spirit-filled church that does.
- Make sure whenever you’re used in the gifts that people are drawn to Jesus and the gospel, not your personality or emotions (crying, shouting, etc.).
- Don’t be a “Granola Christian” or a “Frozen Chosen Christian,” instead be an, “On Fire Disciple!”