Are #Pentecostals Afraid Of The Spirit?

Are we afraid of the Spirit's work

I am asking myself and you today: Are (some) Pentecostals afraid of the Spirit (some times)? This question has come to my mind lately, and it was so pressing that I wanted to write a short blog post about it.

Looking back upon my own growing up in the Pentecostal church I have realised that some of the preaching and teaching heard and read was more fearbased than lovebased. Or you might say there was a lack of trust in your own ability to do the right thinking and even some times the critical mind was condemned and rejected.

What makes me wonder is why Pentecostals that so strongly believe in the Holy Spirit and the possibility of being filled with this Spirit at the same time can be in the danger of rejecting the listening to this same Spirit?

Jesus talked about the letter of the law that would kill the spiritual life. And this makes me wonder if the “sola scriptura”-focus (aka literal Bible interpretation) has been a hindering for seeing and trusting the Spirit’s work among the members of the church.

When the message is believe God’s Word, and God’s Word (clearly) says this, and this, and that, we may have lost the ability to trust the promptings of the Spirit within ourselves. Was Pentecost only an outpouring of the Spirit on the outside, or was it not also a filling of the Spirit within?

Another common teaching among Pentecostals is “don’t trust your feelings, rather trust the Word of God (in the Bible, and in the Bible only!)”. I wonder why Christians want to send the message that your feelings are not so important and often should be disregarded?

One thing I have learned is that the greatest a person can experience is a sense of love and freedom on the inside. I believe this love AND freedom is what God created us to experience as the Spirit keep revealing the divine and eternal truths to us. This freedom from within is what creates a profound joy in our lives. Yes, the feeling of true joy!

Jesus said he had to leave in order for the Spirit to come. The Spirit was going to teach us, each and everyone of us. Also the Spirt would grow fruits in our lives, as joy, patience, meekness and more. I believe Jesus also was serious when He said “Fear not”. God sent His Spirit to be with us, around us, AND also within. A Spirit to be trusted.

So in my opinion I think there is a lot of fear stopping people and even “Spirit-filled” Pentecostals to trust in the inner promptings of the Spirit in their hearts. Many are so afraid of mixing up man with God, and can’t trust the Spirit within because they think they make themselves gods or God! This is one of the greatest misunderstandings I think. This is also why many believe mystics are on the wrong path. That’s until they too experience that the scales are removed from their eyes, and they finally see what a Spirit God has blessed us with and filled us with!

Please, if you have read this far, I pray that you kindly ask yourself: Am I afraid of the Spirit in my life? The promptings and the intuition, the Still Small Voice, calling me not only through the whole of creation but also from within my very soul? Is my faith more fearbased than trustbased? Can I trust myself, and the Spirit God has given me to teach me? Do I long for more freedom and joy in my life? Have teachings I grew up with stopped me from trusting that God is with me in all my processes in life, and that He wants me to grow in freedom and joy?

Grace and peace to you!

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Growing Into Freedom

Sunset
I have a burning desire to know truth. Jesus Christ said that the truth would set us free. This tells us that knowing truth brings freedom. What is freedom like? How can we find this truth and this freedom?
              Freedom is an experience that brings joy, light and color into our lives. When you experience being trapped or shut down you are not experiencing freedom. Again, Christ came to point to truth. He even said that He was the truth, the life and the way. He also said to the people He met, “follow me”. As Richard Rohr also has pointed out in his books, Jesus didn’t focus on Him being someone to be praised or worshiped, but rather said, “follow me, take up your cross, deny yourself and follow me”.
             Jesus Christ proclaimed in the synagogue that He had come to set the captives free. The gospel is a lot about dying to self (the false self) and about freedom from our ego. A freedom I believe is something we can grow into. A dying to yourself, a dying from you own ego, is painful and creates suffering. But as someone wise started saying, “no pain, no gain!”. Or in Richard Rohr’s words (in his book “Falling Upward”), this is a “necessary suffering” and a prerequisite for growing into a deeper spiritual freedom and a closer relationship with God.
             We need to turn away from our own ego, our own selfcenteredness (the false self) and reach within to find the living water ever flowing from our innermost being. Also when we see our own (ego’s) sinfulness, we need to look to Jesus as many others before us (read Hebrews), and follow Him.
             Sometimes it’s the egos and sinfulness of others that brings us suffering and sadness, other times it is our own shadows and darkness that drags us down. Either way this may create a sorrow that may help us reach out and reach within for the Spirit of God. A Holy Spirit that even helps us when we don’t know what and how to pray. The Spirit that was promised to guide us by Christ Himself, and a Spirit that will help us grow into the knowledge of the truth. The Truth that has always been true. In Rohr’s words, “What is true, has always been true”.
             Again, growing can be painful. Yes, the Romans tells us that the whole creation groans and longs for redemption. The suffering that is part of the necessary suffering gives us new eyes so we can see and know truth. This seeing brings light to our soul. Jesus talked about this seeing that would bring light. Seeing brings light, light creates the experience of freedom. Sometimes you can literally see it in people’s eyes when they have grown into this freedom and joy.
             Paul talks about freedom in his letter to the churches in Galatia. He warns them about trusting in anything else than God’s grace. God’s grace is free, but before we are able to truly appreciate and receive God’s grace we may have to walk through valleys of darkness and suffering. But as we say in a Norwegian saying, “when you walking uphill, that is when life is going upwards”. It is this Rohr also talks about in his wise book “Falling Upward”. I think we can say with Rohr that we have to fall and experience our sin and lacking before we can really rise again.
            Be reminded again, that Christ came to bring truth and life, a truth that would set us free. This freedom that you can grow into brings joy, even amidst the continuation of some suffering throughout our lives (read about Paul and the torn in his flesh). A freedom that by the grace of God and by time brings forth all the fruits of the Spirit, that Paul speaks about, joy, peace, patience and more. What a freedom!
           Are you longing to grow with God, to grow into His freedom? Maybe you are experiencing a time of suffering? Trust in God’s grace and His Spirit within you, and know that He will guide you through the suffering. Eventually when your eyes are opened you will know Him and the Truth that will set you free!
                                                                                                                                                                              Recommendation: A book that I recommend and that has truly inspired me and helped me grow into freedom is Richard Rohr’s book, “Falling Upward”. So in a way this post could partly also be a kind of book review.

 

Not There Yet, but Close?

Forest

The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life! John 4,14b, NRSV

Grateful to the Creator leading me in the ways of ever deepening living in Spirit. Connecting to the Source of Life within is the greatest goal you can have. But also very often the most challenging.

Our minds are cluttered with thoughts and worries that only make us identify too much with our egos, instead of identifying with Christ living within. The Christ that wants to become our lives.

Rilke supposedly said, the only journey is the journey within. Since I believe God to be both transcendent and immanent, I would like to rephrase, the journey within is the deeper one. It is the journey we must take if we are to grow, in our second half of life (check out Rohr’s book, Falling Upwards).

So am I there yet? At times my experience is of a great energy and life flowing from my innermost. Other times my mind’s thinking and my feelings of fear and sorrow can be blockages to the flow. So, we must be patient and keep walking in the life that has been set ahead of us, a life filled with evergrowing richness and thankfulness.

Be blessed!