Ah well… with the luxury of time on my hands these days, some more lessons from the Kindergarten… read the blog prior to this one, first of all !
Last blog, I was talking about the importance of learning how to hold a blank page before God upon which He can choose to write in order to bring revelation, or to change the imagery, holding open a silence for Him into which He can speak. The purpose of the blank page or silence place in terms of these couple of blogs is revelation, a knowing that comes from God: hearing what God wants us to hear or seeing something He wants us to see, which we could not hear or see without the Gift and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
If you want to argue for the non existence, in our day, of the sort of gifts written about in 1st Corinthians Chapters 12 – 14 and manifested throughout the gospels in the ministry of Jesus then this blog page will probably make little inroads to that belief. This is to help those who believe in such gifts. That in no way is to suggest those who believe in the gifts of the Spirit are superior than those who don’t, for gifts are just that; gifts are gifts and not a reward for reaching some sort of maturity. In saying all this I am simply recognising that not everyone who reads my blogs believes the same about charismatic gifting; If, when I blog on this type of subject, you feel challenged or uncomfortable that could be good! If it causes a needless level of distress or unsettling of your faith, that is bad and not my intention: just pass over blogs on this type of subject and look at some other blogs I have written. There are a few hundred to choose from at revkennyblog.com
OK then! Following on from the last blog; another lesson or two from the kindergarten from which I have never graduated and in which there is still much for me to learn from God and from others. A bit more about the blank page or silent space approach to receiving and knowing the operation of the gifts of the Spirit in us and through us.
I have spoken at dozens of conferences in many different places and countries. in days of better health. What would you do if you were in that situation when a fellow speaker or leader says something with which you profoundly disagree? I have never quite worked that out. It has happened to me a couple of times. Once in this country and another time in another country which I will not name! In that other country I decided just to say what I would have said if I had not heard that other wonderful and godly minister and church leader saying what they said and leave it with folk to work through any conflict to come to a place of peace. God can be trusted when there is sincere disagreement handled in genuine humility.
Where we disagreed was how gifts of the Holy Spirit in terms of hearing about what you could not see or hear without God’s immediate intervention works. The person with whom I disagreed seemed to all but take the “gift of God” and immediate element out of the equation . They said that of course you do not start with a blank page or empty mind. You use your wisdom, our learning, your knowledge about a situation and ask God to bring that together in a way that will help people hear and see what God is trying to communicate. Of course God can speak in that way, but when He does it may be a blessing but it is not, in my understanding, a charismatic gift in operation of the type Paul writes about in 1st. Corinthians Chapters 12 – 14.
Let me illustrate. How does the charismatic gift of discernment work for me? It comes as a gift from without myself each time it happens, rather than something that is in my own possession or arises from my own feelings or from my own learning. It is something that God’s Spirit does to me. over which I have no control other than offering or withholding that blank page or silent space which He may or may not use. The Spirit of God is within me of course, but this has the quality of coming down from heaven for a specific time and moment. Then the gift lifts until the next time. It does not happen the same way for everyone, but for me this element of bringing nothing but a blank page, not listening to my own mental processes or feelings is actually the necessary and vital beginning that separates natural discernment from the charismatic operation of discernment. It is felt as the operation of the Spirit of God upon my body more so than arising in my mind or from my feelings which would be the normal places I would discern things by human means; it is a knowledge that does not come from me, that may be indicating something quite different to what my mind would think or conclude or my feelings feel. In many circumstances, this latter type of what I would call reasoning discernment which leads to a chosen conclusion is the correct form of discernment to use and is not to be despised or downgraded and indeed is commended in certain places in 1st. Corinthians Chapters 12 – 14 , but it is not the gift of discernment of spirits spoken of in these chapters.
Let me, hopefully, make this a bit more concrete for you: I am remembering a time when someone just in passing conversation told me a report of a place where apparently God was moving, HIs Spirit being poured out. My mind hated what I was hearing, my own inner gut thought it was all wrong, but the gift of discernment indicated what I was hearing was of God, and more than that it was something God delighted in with great joy. I am glad I did not go with my own mind or deep feelings, otherwise I would have cut myself off from the blessing god planned for me and through me.
So, blank page, silent space, learning to quieten my mind and feelings: Lessons from the kindergarten. If you want to know some tips on how to get that blank page, again, go to the previous blog.