The Manifestations of the Holy Spirit
As mentioned in the previous article on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit when we receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit starts to manifest or reveal Himself in our lives, in order to minister to other people to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. It's important to realise that everything the Holy Spirit does is aimed at glorifying Jesus and not for our personal glory.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes spiritual "gifts. It's important to realise that the word gifts in verse 1 and in other parts of this chapter does not appear in the original written by Paul. It has been added by translators to try and interpret what he means. It is best translated as "spirituals" or "spiritual things". In other words these qualities are not ours to use, but ways that the Holy Spirit uses us.
It is important to realise also that the "spirituals" are discussed in the context of the one Body (vs. 12-31). In other words this is not about me or you, but the whole Body, the church working together to minister in the name of Jesus.
Because these qualities are not given to an individual as a permanent gift, we should each be open to the use of all of them. The Holy Spirit will use whoever is open to Him at any time to meet the need of the moment. We need to learn what these things are and how they operate.
So what are the manifestations of the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 says:
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Word or message of wisdom
This is the word from God that tells us how to proceed in a situation. It is the wisdom that nobody is smart enough to have on their own.
We can see how this operates in the life of Jesus. On a number of occasions the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders would come to Jesus with a question that seemed innocent enough but were in fact designed to trap Him into saying something that would get Him in hot water with the authorities or the people. We tend to skip over the stories quite quickly, but if we read them slowly we can say "Where did that response come from?" In each case the people tricking Him were confounded and shown to look silly. When they asked the question they thought they were clever. But Jesus, operating in the word of wisdom had exactly the right response to defuse the situation.
The word of wisdom is God's gift to us to make a way where there seems to be no way,
Word or message of knowledge
This is a piece of information that God gives that we could not get in any other way. For example, when praying for someone who is sick, the Lord might give us a word of knowledge about the cause of the sickness, or about what the person needs to do to be healed. When counselling someone you might gain an insight about an incident in the person's past.
Although described as "words" of knowledge, they may come as a picture or a "hunch". Some people see words scrolling across their eyes. The exact mode is not that important, but it is important that we be attentive to what the Lord is saying to us.
On one occasion we were celebrating Communion in church when suddenly I felt a strong persistent pain in my left knee. I asked aloud "Does anyone have a pain in their knee?" Nobody responded so I explained that I thought there was someone present who had pain in their left knee. Suddenly someone squealed, "Oh! That's me!" We prayed for her and she was healed. That pain that I felt was an unusual form of the word of knowledge.
There are many kinds of faith which we experience from time to time. This kind of faith is where there is a need in front of us and normally we might offer some kind of harmless prayer, but suddenly there is a rise within us of faith and we find ourselves praying or speaking with authority that we don't normally have.
It takes a certain level of faith to command a dead body to arise and come back to life. For most of us that is more faith than we normally have. But sometimes God will surprise us by giving us the faith to heal the sick, command miracles to happen, even to raise the dead.
Gifts of Healing
Jesus demonstrated all kinds of healing miracles in His ministry. Some involved laying on of hands, others were at a distance. He cast out demons and raised the dead. There are many kinds of healings, and many healing gifts.
The Holy Spirit will give the necessary gift at the time it is needed.The important thing is that we listen to His direction.
We need miracles! A miracle is something that is an unexpected interruption to the normal ways of nature. There are untold physical miracles related in the Scriptures. There are also numerous cases where a person's attitude or thinking changes unexpectedly.
I have witnessed a few miracles over time, some spiritual and some physical. Many years ago one of the biggest bushfires in Australia's history raged in the Pilliga Scrub south of Narrabri. Although fire-fighters from all over the nation worked tirelessly they were hardly able to contain it much less extinguish it. Then, on a day when there was no rain forecast, a rain band moved through the region dumping over 150-250 mm onto the fire grounds. While the rain covered a big area, the heaviest falls were in the area most affected by the fire.
Prophecy is the ability to hear the word of God for a particular situation and to declare it with God's authority. Obviously it is related to the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom.
Sometimes when faced with a situation you are praying for or in conversation you will just know that God wants you to say something. The words will be there, the faith to speak them rises and all you have to do is open your mouth. Your words which had no effect yesterday suddenly bring a change in a person's heart.
There are different levels of prophetic gifting. It is interesting that prophecy appears in all three lists of spiritual gifts. We will talk in future articles about the different ways prophecy works. In this manifestation operation of the Holy Spirit, a prophetic word can come to any believer at any time it is needed.
Often the biggest road block to this is our own unwillingness to speak.
Distinguishing Between Spirits
Satan is very good at imitating the things that God does. He can perform miracles and prophesy and give people words of knowledge.
Generally people are not very good at discerning whether something is led by the Lord or by the devil. We need help in deciding whether someone is speaking God's word or some other word.
The Holy Spirit can give us this type of discernment. He can also show us what type of demonic spirit is working through a person so that we can take authority over it and command it to leave.
Speaking in Tongues
In the previous article I mentioned that there are three uses of the gift of tongues: as a prayer language, as a prophetic message when combined with interpretation and the supernatural ability to speak a human language which we have never learned.
The prayer language is the form of tongues given at the time we are baptised in the Holy Spirit. We may from time to time experience these other forms of tongues. We should not be afraid to speak out the words God gives us, even when we do not understand them.
When praying in a group, if the Lord leads us to pray in tongues we should pray for to be given the interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:13).
Interpretation of Tongues
When we give a message aloud in tongues, or when someone else does we need to pray for someone to be given the interpretation. This may come in the form of words, a picture or some other form. Sometimes you may get just one or two words at first but as you start speaking more words come.
In human speech, some languages are more compact than others. Sometimes interpretation requires more explanation to make the message comprehensible to the listeners. So we must not compare the length of a message in tongues with the apparent length of the interpretation. Just speak out what God gives you and trust Him to use it.
The Holy Spirit has many ways of working through His people. The important thing is that we be attentive to what He is doing. When we are called on to speak His word or to carry out some action we need to have the faith to trust that He knows what He is doing.
God will use anyone who will step out in faith and obedience.