I thought this article by J. Lee Grady of Charisma magazine was worthy of note, especially considering many of the posts here at Cerulean Sanctum on charismania:
This last Sunday, I was helming the drums during a worship song our lead guitarist had written, when the Holy Spirit fell on the church. His presence was palpable and from my spot on stage, I could see Him on people’s faces. By the time we segued into “The Beauty of Simplicity,” I was close to weeping. Let me say this: When you’re the timekeeper, it’s not wise to go all to pieces.
Now I know some people reading this may not have experienced one of those beautifully sweet times when the Holy Spirit broods over worship. He’s light permeating the darkest recesses of your soul, warm oil anointing your head, and love overflowing your heart. No words fully describe the naked encounter of your person with the person of the Holy Spirit.
I attend a pentecostal church, so this experience of the Spirit isn’t out of the ordinary. I feel for folks who don’t regularly encounter Him. I can’t imagine living one’s life and not meeting the Lord in such a sweet way, surrounded by others who praise His name.
I’m no pushover for emotionalism, either. Anyone reading this blog long enough knows I don’t stand for that. If I’m overwhelmed, it’s because God Himself showed up, not because some favorite worship song tugs my heartstrings.
Sunday’s touch proved to be the real deal. I’d only wished I’d been better prepared to receive instead of dedicating so much brain power to each timekeeping limb and upcoming musical transitions.
If one thing troubles me about these visitations of the Spirit it’s that we may be wasting them. I don’t believe He comes just to make us feel warm and fuzzy for a few minutes.
When the Spirit falls, I believe we need to be ready to meet Him just like the five wise virgins, with lamps filled with oil and wicks trimmed. His real Presence must be met with ready hearts, otherwise I believe we miss the fullness of the blessing He’s prepared to lavish on us.
I won’t presume to understand the heart of the Spirit in all His manifestations, for He blows as He wills, but I feel He expects the following from us when we encounter Him:
- Repentance – First and foremost, He is the Holy Spirit. We are to be a holy people.
- Praise – He is Lord and must be worshiped as such.
- Reception – We are to receive Him and receive blessings from Him with praise.
- Transformation – We are to be bettered for having met Him in that moment.
For these reasons, I believe when we encounter the Lord in this way we should do the following:
- Confess any known sin.
- Ask the Spirit to search our hearts for hidden sin.
- Confess hidden sin when He reveals it.
- Praise Him for revealing sin in our lives.
- Praise Him for who He is.
- Ask Him to prepare us for what we might receive from Him.
- Ask Him to fill us with Himself, His gifts, and His direction.
- Thank Him for meeting those needs.
- Ask Him to transform our lives so that we are better able to serve him, so we leave the church with a greater revelation of Him to share with the community of faith and those still outside the flock.
- Thank Him and praise Him again.
I think if we take these ten steps in the presence of the Lord, He’ll bless us so much more than if we simply bask in Him then leave unchanged after the encounter. And all too often, we walk out those church doors with less than we ought simply because we did not know how to come before Him.
Think about these things. Like Samuel, if we desire to grow up into the fullness of service the Lord asks of us, we must be ready to meet the Spirit when He comes calling.