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What Does Charismatic Mean?

Charismatic Christianity is about followers of Jesus using the gifts of the Holy Spirit today. It is about being empowered in a special way by God’s Spirit to say and do things that appear to beyond their natural ability. It also about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit himself in order to be empowered in this way in a similar way to when the early church were first baptised in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

A Charismatic Christian experiences the Holy Spirit

It is now thirty years since I first experienced the Holy Spirit myself. In a small prayer meeting in my local Pentecostal Church I began to speak in a language that I had never learnt.

This was explained to me as ‘speaking in tongues’. I didn’t really understand what I was getting into. To tell the truth I didn’t even believe everything I was told about it at the time. But the result of this experience was one of overflowing joy and a desire that everyone could experience this too.

There wasn’t any mighty rushing wind or fire but I would see my experience as similar to what happened to the early church at Pentecost. Of course not everyone’s encounter with the Holy Spirit should be a carbon copy of mine but I do believe that God wants to fall on all his followers in a special way.

Some churches have been very dogmatic about what constitutes baptism. Some Pentecostal churches and others see speaking in tongues as essential sign of baptism in the Spirit.

Many Charismatic churches outside of the Pentecostal denominations appear more aware of individual diversity. I would tend to agree with these that are more open to such diverse experiences. I don’t think you can argue that someone has not experienced the Spirit simply because they haven’t spoken in tongues.

But I do believe that the Bible indicates that there is a clear experience of ‘receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit’. Being a gift it is freely given. As believers all we need to do is ask.

A Charismatic Christian believes in spiritual gifts

In a way receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit opens wide the door to moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even if you feel God has used you in the past in some ways like this I believe that there can be more you can experience. I would encourage you to keep seeking God for his gifts too.

These gifts can be expressed very naturally as part of our authentic relationships with each other. I am glad to say that I often find that the way people speak nowadays is much more down to earth and less hyped than it used to be. I don’t tend hear of people whipping up the crowds as much as they used to. I wonder if generally we are more sceptical of hype.

There are many gifts listed in the Bible and I don’t think any of the lists are exhaustive but the ones in 1 Corinthians 12 are probably associated most with Charismatic Christianity.

You might find God giving you supernatural wisdom in a situation or you find you gain knowledge and insight into a particular scripture that helps in a situation. You might find God increasing your faith to pray for something.

You might lay hands on someone praying for their healing and then find they have recovered when it didn’t appear possible. God might miraculously provide for you, your family or your friends when you had no idea where the money you needed could come from.

You might find God bringing to your mind words or phrases that are particularly helpful to someone or to some group of people. God may give you insight into something someone else is saying. He may show you that it is a God inspired thought or he may prompt you to question it.

Also be open to speaking in tongues and even allowing God to show you what someone is saying when they speak in tongues.

A Charismatic Christian uses these spiritual gifts

Gratitude is a natural response to receiving a gift. And gratitude often results in generosity. If we are invited to someone’s house for a meal we may take a bottle of wine and on a later date invite them to ours. We may even copy our host’s role model and start inviting others into our home.

Spiritual gifts are primarily for the benefit of others. In order to use them we must give them away. And so we serve each other and we serve the world. It is what we as Christians do. Over the years I have come to realise that using our gifts to serve like this is a mark of the Spirit at work.

Whenever Christians gather it is an opportunity to use our God given gifts to serve each other. This may mean praying for each other or speaking God’s word to each other. And actually it involves far more. We share our lives together. We share food. We share our possessions and even our money when the need arises.

There are many gifts we can bring to each other both inside and outside of our worship gatherings – our time, our energy. I feel that we are now on a verge of beginning to use people’s gifts in more creative planned activities within our gatherings and in our life outside the church both in specific mission activities and in our daily life. We just need to ask God and to think more creatively.

Thirty years ago I received this gift of the Holy Spirit and God enabled me to begin to give to others in a way that I’d never really done before. If you haven’t already received this gift I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to ask God that you might experience him in this way and move more in the gifts of the Spirit. My prayer is that as a result God’s giving will be multiplied through you.

It would be great to hear your experiences of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

Related Posts

10 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Baptised in the Spirit

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August 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm
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