Spiritual Gifts, Spiritual Fruit and the Evidence of True Pentecost

by | May 23, 2012 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

Pentecost’s
power is more than wind, fire and supernatural hoopla. Without love it is just
noise.

What’s
the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Pentecostal”?

A. · · A woman with a beehive hairdo, support hose, Granny
shoes and no makeup?
B. · · Someone rolling on the floor while speaking in tongues
uncontrollably?
C. · · A slick-haired televangelist in a white suit who begs
for donations?
D. · · A sour-faced Christian who looks like he just sucked
all the juice out of a lemon?
E.···· A sincere Christian who passionately loves God and
people and believes in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit?

I
wish we all could answer E., but we Pentecostals have an image problem. I’m not
ashamed of the word itself, but I don’t use it as a label because the bad
stereotypes (A., B., C. and D.) have just about ruined it for the rest of us.
Many people associate Pentecostals with dry legalism, fanaticism, charlatanism
and downright hatefulness.

Unselfish
love, generosity, brotherly affection and sincere kindness is just as much a
manifestation of the Spirit as healing or miracles. In fact, powerful signs and
wonders are more likely to happen in an atmosphere that is bathed in Holy Ghost
love
.”

One
friend of mine says it this way: “Some of the meanest people I know speak in
tongues.”

That’s
tragic, because the majority of Pentecostals in the world today are not mean,
legalistic or stuck in a time warp. Most are from the developing world, a
majority are young and many will be leading the global church in the next
decade. Part of their job will be to redefine the word Pentecostal for a new
generation.

So
how do we move beyond the stereotypes and reclaim the heart of Pentecost? It
would help to remember that the leaders of the New Testament church never
separated spiritual gifts from spiritual fruit, and they never placed the
manifestations of the Spirit above the priority of Christian love. They
believed:

… Character is just as important as
anointing.
In our performance-driven
culture, we are pressured to get results. We don’t believe the Holy Spirit
shows up in a meeting unless someone falls on the floor or claims a healing. We
want action—and if we don’t get any, we will make stuff up! Paul the apostle,
on the other hand, preached that the Holy Spirit not only manifests Himself
through the nine “power gifts” (listed in 1 Cor. 12:8-10) but also through His
fruit (in Gal. 5:22-23). It’s not just about what the Spirit does; it is about who He is. We invite problems when we showcase
the spectacular and ignore the essential.

… Truth is more vital than tongues. The gift of speaking in tongues has been a priceless
blessing in my own life. But the apostle Paul, who prayed in tongues more than
anyone in Corinth, said he’d rather hear a five-word sermon in a language he
could understand than hear someone else babble in tongues for hours (see 1 Cor.
14:18-19). Paul knew that spiritual gifts can be abused and misused. And he
admitted that someone who speaks in tongues but doesn’t show the love of God is
like a “noisy gong” (13:1). That is a nice way to say “ANNOYING!”

While
we should still pray for people to speak in tongues, perhaps we should spend
twice as much time discipling them in how to represent Christ in their daily
conversation. (Note: That would include teaching Christians to stop mocking
other religions, telling racist jokes or using hate speech directed at the gay
community.)

… Love is more crucial than charismatic
manifestations.
Many of us will
preach from Acts 2 this Pentecost Sunday, and we will emphasize the wind and
fire that came from heaven on that powerful day. But let’s remember that the
Spirit manifested himself in another way in the same chapter. The first Christians
were united by a bond of love. The Spirit brought about a holy
connection—something called koinonia
(“fellowship”) in Acts 2:42—and this holy love held them together.

When
the early disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit a second time (during a prayer
meeting that ended with an earthquake!), this love was immediately manifested
again. Immediately after the Spirit’s infilling, the Bible says: “And the
congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of
them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were
common property to them” (Acts 4:32, NASB).

Unselfish
love, generosity, brotherly affection and sincere kindness is just as much a
manifestation of the Spirit as healing or miracles. In fact, powerful signs and
wonders are more likely to happen in an atmosphere that is bathed in Holy Ghost
love.

William Seymour, the father of modern Pentecostalism and
founder of the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, said it this way:
“Pentecostal power, when you sum it all up, is just more of God’s love. If it
does not bring more love, it is simply a counterfeit.”

Could
this be the reason we don’t see as many supernatural manifestations today? When
we are smug, hypocritical, bitter, harsh, judgmental and hateful, we totally
short-circuit God’s power. This Pentecost, I pray we will embrace not just the
sound and the fury of God’s power but also the genuine love that flows from His
heart.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor
of
Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. He is the author of several
books including
The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Prophetic Words: End of Year Prophecies to Guide You into 2023

Prophetic Words: End of Year Prophecies to Guide You into 2023

Chris Reed's Prophetic Word Over China: Unprecedented mass protests are unfolding right now across China. The country is seeing the largest pushback in decades, following their "zero COVID strategy" still in place today. China's Communist Party has continued to...

Declaring a Great Awakening Among Prodigals

Declaring a Great Awakening Among Prodigals

Read Time: 1 Minute 23 Seconds It’s a shocking statistic! More than 80 and up to 90% of children who grow up in church are leaving the church once they reach 18. Sadly, only 40% return, according to Focus on the Family. I believe, with prayer, we can defy those...

Bible Verse of the Day, Dec. 8th: Advent Season, Isaiah 11:1-10

Bible Verse of the Day, Dec. 8th: Advent Season, Isaiah 11:1-10

Isaiah 11:1-10 And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the...

Marilyn Hickey: God Can Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Marilyn Hickey: God Can Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Read Time: 2 Minutes 2 Seconds Have you ever broken a bone? If so, you know what it’s like to go through a painful healing process. Consider what that might feel like in the spiritual realm. Sometimes we can get broken in various ways in life, but God wants to “set”...

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

Read Time: 1 Minute 59 Seconds Bishop J. Drew Sheard and the General Board of the Eastern Florida Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ announced Tuesday the death of one of its most beloved leaders, Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Hutchins was 65....

RECENT ARTICLES

Don’t Criticize Charismatics

They are saying the charismatic movement is divisive. Whenever people get involved in the "new emphasis," there are disruptions in the status quo. Red flags go up. Lines are drawn. I would ask: What...
Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Read Time: 6 Minutes, 42 Seconds Is it possible that ancient entities known as "the gods" have returned to our world? Could these gods actually be the unseen movers and catalysts of what's happening in America and the world today? Could they lie behind the current...

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Read Time: 3 Minutes 37 Seconds Most made-for-TV Christmas movies are like eggnog and sugar cookies—way too sweet, yet extremely addictive for a lot of viewers. But these Hallmark-style movies—the ones with predictable love stories that always end with jingling bells...

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 1 Minute 51 Seconds At a recent gathering where a member was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you, TURN and see; embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Read Time: 2 Minutes 25 Seconds If you search the phrase, “where does life come from?” the first explanation reads: “The origin of life is a result of a supernatural event—and readily arises from nonliving matter in short periods of time, today as in the past.” The...

Raise Your Praise!

Raise Your Praise!

These are the days that may leave you feeling defeated. You may be wondering when these present trials will end or how can you strengthen your faith for the battle as you wrestle against powers and principalities that come against you, in addition to the challenges...

Pin It on Pinterest