For a while and even for a few years, I had questions that as the years went by, I just couldn’t keep ignoring; especially as I grew hungrier for the truth.
When you read the Bible, you’ll see people doing things in the power of God; supernatural things from both halves of the book. So in the NT, Yeshua promises that when the Holy Spirit is come, his followers would be able to do what he did and more according to Acts 1:8.
I was under the impression that he was making good on that promise in the Book of Acts where we see demonstrations of miraculous signs and wonders early on. I was wondering why we don’t see these demonstrations at all today.
And I want to be clear when I say “at all today”. None of the so-called miracles and signs we’ve heard purported in recent time by believers can even be compared to what we read about in the Bible.
You’ll hear people talk about having power and the ones who claim they have it really don’t. Even more, you’ll come across people who claim to have encountered this power but you’ll find they’re sensationalizing the situation or over exaggerating some feelings. We can go on YouTube and see some things that are flat out bogus but believed by many.
There are those believers who aren’t impressed with spectacles. Even still, the Christian Faith community has come up with all kinds of excuses why we don’t see Yeshua’s promise(s) actualized in the sense that it is not at all common place. Some of these are(and usually amount to minimizing the obvious discrepancies):
- The greatest miracle is Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection.
- Being “born-again” is a supernatural miracle.
- Even normal things are miracles.
- Those were unique times in history.
- You don’t have enough faith.
- Speaking in tongues still happens.
This list of excuses is just from the first page of a Google search. As a believer, you just accept these as the reasons and you basically choose among the ones that seem more plausible.
Don’t get me wrong, the excuses do get more elaborate than this. But take note: the fact that this subject of miracles and signs and wonders is being questioned by believers, means that believers do notice that there is a disconnect between what’s written and the present reality.
Ultimately though, the Bible is clear: If you have the Holy Spirit in you, signs and wonders should follow. So to me, if you claim to have the Spirit and these wonders don’t follow, then you obviously don’t have what you claim you do.
I took that to heart and I stopped claiming to be filled with the Spirit even though I had been so committed to the Faith for so long.
It took a long time for me to concede to my reality; realizing that claiming to be endowed with God’s Spirit by faith without any verifiable evidence of the claim was an example of self-deception.
This is just gibberish.
Last on the list was speaking in tongues. I definitely wrestled with this one throughout my faith journey. I remember being a kid at a church service where they were laying hands people to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Some people seemed to have got it and some people needed to “practice”.
Some organizations place heavy influence on this “gift” to the extent that if you didn’t speak in tongues, you didn’t have the Holy Spirit in you at all. That view isn’t supported by the Bible at all but I can understand that error in doctrine. Other organizations obviously don’t place so much influence on the gift but have strict rules they support with verses to keep it from getting out of hand when practiced in the congregation.
I thought I had it.
When I was 18yrs old, my first son was just born and I was in the hospital room sitting by a window praying. I was praying about my son and being thankful for him but I was also praying for the gift of tongues. His mother was in the room so I was praying silently moving my lips. I started to let words and syllables go out my mouth and back then I would’ve said the gift was manifesting. I got up and went into the bathroom practicing it some more.
From there, I accepted that I had the gift. But as time went on and the more I came across the subject in the bible, I would have doubts. I had to wrestle with whether it applied at home in private or was it more useful in the congregation openly?
Some would say that it was a special prayer language between you and God and the Holy Spirit would give the interpretation. Others would want an interpreter there. So, there would be the person speaking in “mysteries” and another with the gift of interpretation to interpret what was said.
Where the Church gets it wrong.
But much of the common belief(s) about speaking in tongues is based on a misreading of Acts 2:6-8. So, speaking in tongues wasn’t some unknown mysterious language from Heaven. It was existing human languages. If it was unknown, it was unknown to the speaker who supposedly had the gift in speaking languages he or she had not previously learned.
So now, when you hear someone claiming to have the gift but in demonstration it sounds like gibberish, trust and believe, that that is all you are hearing.
How silly will people look now when you go to a church where they exercise that gift and someone stands up to interpret the gibberish? And everyone accepts it as divine utterance from God.
I remember so many times praying in tongues feeling silly and embarrassed wondering if I was saying anything at all. Where was the edification if even I didn’t know what I was saying? I’ve heard of people claiming they were praying and God supposedly giving them the interpretation then and there or some time later. It’s not true. They’re only deceiving themselves.
In the end, because I understood what those “tongues” actually were and the bible made it clear, I stopped the practice altogether. I stopped deceiving myself in that respect; making myself believe I had something that I really didn’t.
I don’t need the Devil.
The issue of demonic influence in a believer’s life also began to stir doubt in me. I had to ask myself: Does it make sense that a devil is present to influence me to do evil before I do it?
I always thought about the whole angel on one should and demon on the other deal. But in light of the Word, I was born in Sin and had inherited a Sin nature. I’m prone to do wrong. So, why would I need any demonic influence to do something I’m prone to do already? I can do bad all by myself.
After realizing this, it got harder to believe in Satanic influences at all. I noticed that much of the time when people spoke if the influences of evil spirits, it was tied to what some person had done. So the demonic was a reflection of human behavior.
So, because I felt that I didn’t need a devil around to persuade me to do bad things, I also came to realize as well that I didn’t need the influence of a holy God to do any good either. That thought alone contradicts what the Bible teaches and I had to fully embrace that because reality made that evidently clear.
What about you?
Did you at some point believe you had one of the gifts of the Spirit or even multiple gifts? Have you attended churches where they were big on operating in the gifts?
Or did you you come to some of the same conclusions as I did but in a different way?
We’re almost to the end of my journey and I hope you continue to subscribe and comment along the way. If you find any of these posts to be interesting, do share it with someone else that you think would find value in them as well. Much thanks, my friends.