My life really started getting exciting when God introduced me to some of the charisms, or gifts, of the Holy Spirit. It was in college when I first heard someone speaking in tongues. I was invited to a prayer meeting with a couple of girls and a friend of mine to pray that God would visit our campus in a special way. In that room, the presence of God was so “thick” that I was on the floor laughing and feeling a flood of peace wash over me. As I was on the floor, I started to hear someone praying in a language I thought may have been French. One of the girls, who did not know French, was praying in some unknown language. That same prayer group introduced me to the gifts of prophecy and healing as well. We started seeing prophetic words realized and people physically healed on our campus. It was an incredible time. The charisms of the Holy Spirit are so fun!
The Apostle Paul writes about the gifts of the Spirit when he says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). This is not an exhaustive list (because Paul gives another list in Romans), but it still gives us a good idea of what kinds of gifts the Spirit gives.
I never have really understood why some people don’t believe that the gifts are still for today and reject the gifts altogether. If God wants to give me a gift, who am I to reject such generosity? They are gifts, and gifts ought always to be received with joy. I also think it’s interesting that in a lot of charismatic circles the first two gifts that Paul lists seem to be ignored. Wisdom and knowledge are true gifts of the Spirit and are to be equally cherished alongside the more “flashy” gifts like healing. God does not want us to check our minds at the door when it comes to experiencing the Holy Spirit. Being self-controlled is a fruit of the Spirit that must be exercised, along with the other fruits of the Spirit, when people say they are “manifesting” or being heavily influenced by the Spirit. The ultimate manifestation of the Spirit is not in these gifts, but in a fruit-filled life of love. This is why Paul follows his description of the gifts of the Spirit by going back to the source of it all by saying, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing… So faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13). Beware of those who claim to have “gifts” or “powers” of the Spirit but who are not humble or loving. Follow the fruit. Utilizing the charisms should be out of love and for the sake of love.
When you start experiencing more and more of the gifts of the Spirit enjoy the ride, because it is a wild adventure. Use discernment, value every person’s gifts, and have fun!