If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?(Luke 11:11-13)
Here we have the wonderful promise of a gift, available to those who ask. And it’s not just any gift; it is the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself, given by the Father.
But how many actually ASK for that gift and expect to receive? And how many merely assume they’ve already been given and have received the gift, despite a lack of asking and despite a lack of evidence of the receiving?
Would the Holy Spirit come into our lives without being noticed?
The effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers are illustrated throughout the book of Acts and also in Paul’s letters, such as the familiar chapters 12-14 in 1 Corinthians. If we have received the Spirit, shouldn’t we be experiencing and displaying something similar?
Sadly the promise in Luke, quoted above, has not only been ignored by many, it has also been misused by a growing number to justify some very strange practices and ideas that don’t have a biblical foundation. The assumption they make is that they couldn’t experience anything not of God, if they’ve been seeking manifestations of the Spirit’s work.
I’ve come across several people who have quoted those verses to “prove” that the strange things they accept are ok, including one local pastor whose church had experienced the appearance of gold dust during one of their meetings.
While I saw problems with his confidence in the legitimacy of that experience, I also found it difficult to challenge his assurance based on the fore-mentioned promise, until I found examples of when man’s error and disobedience had led to God giving something other than what had been expected.
This is one example related to some people who assume they’ve been exercising Spiritual gifts :
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
I see another example in 2 Thess 2:
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
Those verses show we have a choice, and that choice relates to a “love of the truth”. Without that “love of the truth” we will be susceptible to delusion and ultimately God Himself will be the sender of that delusion.
In the case of present day charismatics, they need to consider, whether it is REALLY the Holy Spirit they are seeking. Or are they seeking manifestations and experiences being promoted by their teachers. They also need to consider whether they desire the truth MORE than those manifestations and experiences. Are they willing to seek the truth by searching the scriptures themselves and testing those teachings, manifestations and experiences?
Returning to the promise that opened this article, I think other parts of scripture make it clear: if someone refuses to love the truth, God may give something much worse than stones, serpents or scorpions.