I have been a lifelong charismatic believer. This is declarative, confessional, repentant, and pejorative all at once. I have given my life for the issue of continuation of all the gifts of the Spirit, and the Eph. 4:11 ministries. However, the adjective “charismatic” has a lot of unfortunate baggage because of the debris it has accumulated over forty years of use.
To my fellows: There is a reason 1 Cor. 13 is between 12 and 14. Love without power is impotent piety. Jehovah’s Witnesses can be “loving” after a sort. We are supposed to be able to deliver something of a foretaste of a quality of existence that others cannot. Power without love is utilitarian. People become commodities for an expression of a phenomenon, rather than the phenomenon serving people. It does not have to be an either or matter, rather, both and: power contextualized and administered in, through, and by love.
I am disheartened among my heritage by what I call:
- revival anxiety – straining and striving to get some sort of preconceived “move of God” in the earth.
- “revelation” itch – itching ears for some “new,” “deep,” avant garde, or esoteric “teaching”
- anointing addiction – codependent need for experiences and touches from His ‘presence.’ It is one thing to enjoy an experience. It is another to require one for well-being.
- power lust – chasing signs and wonders – thinking “signs that follow” equals “passion for the supernatural” – it doesn’t.
Love is nakedly spectacular. Glory is contained in very common things. Isn’t that the definition of the incarnation? Love relentlessly pursued and consistently practiced at the price of death to self interest, will yield all the revival and glory we can handle. It just won’t be flashy. It won’t make its way to the cover of Charisma Magazine or TBN. It is easily overlooked, just like a God-Man baby in a barn in a little despised region of a despised country–nothing there to see, no headline there. Let’s keep the show in Jerusalem rolling. Lots to see there.
Love doesn’t sell. It just produces. It’s effective. It is the context for all legitimate, but lesser things (see above).
Jesus is enough–period. Love works–period. Love never fails. It is just not practiced very well, very often, for very long because it is crucifying to ambition to do so.
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