Years ago, as a new Christian, I rather inadvertently got caught in this whole charismatic movement. Shortly after accepting Jesus, I was befriended by a very devout woman who claimed to have had a vision of Jesus. It took her probably an hour to describe the vision, and it was very convincing. Perhaps she had a vision...maybe she did not. That's not the point. Her vision caused a hunger for the experiential in me.
Originally Posted by meshee
That is a horrible trap to fall in. I went to the Brownsville revival. I got involved with Morningstar Ministries and others (Dutch Sheets, Cindy Jacobs, Gwen Shaw, Bob Jones...) If there was a manifestation, I wanted to be there. I have seen gold and oil manifestations and among other things. I would make "tabrets" and I bought scarves / tambourines and would dance with them. I tried "centering prayer." I tried listening to the Lord and just writing down anything that I thought I heard. Yet, nothing like that ever really happened to me - no visions, no gold... (Yes, I was a real fruitcake... )
Now, I started feeling left out...unloved by the Lord. Why wasn't I experiencing these things? Was I not doing something right? Was I harboring unconfessed sin? What was wrong with me? I can tell you that this is a horrible horrible place to be. I just wanted to experience the Lord like all those other people around me who were falling down, prophesying, having visions, etc... I felt like, if I wasn't experiencing, then I was "less than" all the others.
The bad thing about this is that there are some folks who honestly believe what they experience is from the Lord and I believe some just make it up to feel included. Anyway, since I'm not in their head, how do I really know that God didn't give someone a vision or dream? I believe that God can work in wondrous ways. I don't believe that He quit working after He ascended into heaven. In short, I don't believe that all manifestations of God's power are fake. I just believe that much, if not most, of what we see (especially that which is seemingly perverse) is not of God. The Bible says that God is not the author of confusion and states this in context of the working of the spiritual gifts in the church. Well, what I have seen IS confusing.
Personally, I believe that when God does something wonderful, people often get "in the flesh" and try to duplicate. At that point, the enemy comes in because he has a foothold and we get all sorts of ugly looking stuff. And, all this ugly "stuff" drowns out the true and meaningful work of God - which is the enemy's goal.
At any rate, never seek the manifestations. If God wants to do something wonderful in your life, He can do it anytime and anywhere. First, seek Him.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9