Pete Phillips explains why being a Christian does not mean magical...
How does the Holy Spirit work?
Recently I went to a training session led by Mark Marx of Healing on the Streets (HOTS). They send out teams to evangelise through healing in city and town centres throughout Britain and abroad. The session was chiefly about methodology but at the heart of it was the revelation (to me) that the key to operating in the spiritual gifts such as healing is not in the length of the prayer meeting preceding the mission, but in the ongoing individual intimacy with God, which produces the faith and the authority to do mighty acts in the name of Jesus. It was so simple. Rather than petitioning God to consider - if He has the time or inclination - to possibly heal this person, it is in exercising authority as a child of God and a co-heir of Christ to heal the person. Be healed! rather than, I ask you Lord to heal this person … At the end of the session Mark called someone out, a chap recovering from a horrifically broken leg, then asked everyone to gather around the front, where he prayed over his legs and the injured one was most definitely seen to grow by over an inch! This is not hearsay (for me, anyway), this happened in front of my eyes and there’s nothing like a practical demonstration of God’s power to supply the faith to encourage us all to hit the streets in expectation!
I was first called to exercise this new ‘discovery’ a week later at our Foundations conference in East Anglia. As with some of the best ‘God moments’ it was unexpected. It was the last morning of the conference and Jo, our worship leader, invited those who needed healing to announce themselves and for people to pray for them. Usually I am too caught up with planning and ‘issues’ to actually partake in the activities of such times, but I was compelled – prompted by the instructions a week earlier – to pray for a young lady with muscular problems. I laid my hand on her shoulder and prayed … and nothing happened. Then I waited for a minute or two, no idea why as I had a million and one things to attend to. Then a thought entered my mind, I recommenced the exercise and prayed that she may be released from a specific issue in her past. Something happened, perhaps only a small thing, but she said she felt the warmth flowing from my hand into her muscles and a slight change occurring.
Wait a minute, I thought. This is me! Like many of you reading this article, this is not my world, this is what other people do. But the words keep coming back to me, the normal Christian life. Up to now, what was normal to me was the gathering of knowledge in order to teach it and write about it. My books and speaking engagements enabled me to distance myself from real living people. No need for me to evangelise people as my books did this for me. No need to engage people directly as I can hide behind a pulpit and allow my words to teach and convict hearts. It was all too easy, but was it really the normal Christian life? Dealing with people seemed to be what other people did. My books were my ticket away from personal involvement.
To be honest, I have been deluding myself. In that moment when the young lady was affected by the Holy Spirit operating through my touch, I realised that no Christian should hide behind their own reluctance and excuses and there was real blessing in actually getting involved with people, whatever one’s theology or self-importance has told you!
It is all about intimacy. It is all about the Holy Spirit. It’s about realising the gift that we all have living within us, waiting to be activated and acknowledged, so that those words of Jesus could actually mean something to all of us personally:
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14)
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)
In a previous article I asked two questions. First I asked; what really is our role in the Kingdom of God? I believe that has now been answered in our realisation that we are more central to the Kingdom of God than we have ever realised. The second question asked was; how does God facilitate this role?
This has been answered too. Just two words, Holy Spirit.
It is time we became partakers rather than just carriers of the greatest gift anyone could ever imagine. The only things stopping us are ignorance, fear … and theology.
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp