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Things to Remember About Spiritual Gifts and Experiences

by Stephen Williamson  
4/02/2017 / Miracles


The very sad reality is that many believers have become obsessed with supernatural powers and events, thinking in their hearts that those things must be from God.  But are they really?  Following are five things to keep in mind when approaching any such “spiritual gifts” or “spiritual events”.

1 :  The Holy Spirit is NOT the only spirit that reveals itself to born-again Christians.  Have we forgotten 1 John 4:1, which says “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God”?  This is a warning not only for the one who hears a teaching, but also for the one who experiences it firsthand.  Too often, we automatically assume that because we have believed, God would not lie to us; this is true, but God is not the only spirit who speaks to a Christian.  If this were not so, then the spiritual gift of discerning spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10) would be pointless.  There is a reason why we are to test the spirits, and that reason is that there are many spirits that speak to us, in many different ways.

2 :  Look for inconsistencies.  Often, those who get hyped up on a spiritual experience will disregard the warnings—that they are not experiencing who they think they are experiencing.  This leads them to tout their experience as self-affirmed law.  However, as believers, we must question their claims, both in regard to the Bible, and in regard to logic.  Anyone with a good head on their shoulders (and a Bible in their hand) can see through the façade of one who is truly blinded.  As an example, consider the Quaker movement in the early American colonies.  They were very religious people, so there were few warnings biblically, but if we pry deeper, we see that “quaking”—the Quakers’ namesake spiritual experience in which one falls to the ground and begins to shake—is not found anywhere in the Bible, plus it may have started out as seizures or an imitation thereof, and also, it died out eventually, which is a red flag.

3 :  Research what critics and religious authorities say about this experience.  If your church has started a new spiritual routine, chances are that they are not the only ones to do so.  Look up the activities involved and see if they are both biblical and authentic.  Seeking the advice of others who have seen it too can give clues about whether to believe it yourself.  We need not question it alone.

4 :  If they begin to claim that their experience has ANY bearing on salvation, that is your cue to get out of there as soon as possible.  That teaching is simply not biblical—it actually makes them a cult.  I don’t usually like to use that word (“cult”), but there are some things you walk from, and other things you run from.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to do what they do to be saved, because, really, salvation isn’t about what we do at all, as Ephesians 2:8 says.

5:  You should not feel guilty for doubting your church or your leaders.  They are people.  In fact, they are probably mortal, flawed people.  That kind of doubt has nothing to do with doubting the Father.  You have no reason to feel guilty if you start to question what they are getting into, regardless of what they say, because regardless of what they say, if you are born again, you answer to the Father, not to them.

Bearing these things in mind, maybe what you see really is from God, and maybe not – but if it is, it will certainly pass every true biblical and logical test, and as believers (if that is what we are—if not, we must continue to read our Bibles and seek the kingdom of heaven until we are born again according to the gospel of scripture) we are obligated to levy every test we can when someone claims or assumes that something is from God.  We may even need to sometimes catch ourselves in the act of doing that without first questioning the experience.

By an ordinary writer who wants people to know the truth.

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