As I dwell more and more in the Word, I am lead by the Holy Spirit to listen to various pastors and read commentaries expounding God’s word. This time around it is different in the sense that I’m not left confused by conflicting messages that I used to get say four years ago when I worshipped in various other churches and heard preachers of the ‘GOD CHANNELS’ over TV and the Internet! I believe that now, I’m blest with a new kind of discernment which is like a ‘DING DONG BELL’ which goes off the moment i make incorrect inferences from some of the teachings!
I remember the time when I first read GOOD MORNING HOLY SPIRIT and WELCOME HOLY SPIRIT both written by Benny Hinn. I was so overjoyed that I requested my brother Cosme, who runs WORD VENTURES (Christian Resource Center in Goa), to stock up on those books and started recommending the books to many of my friends. I even stocked up Malayalam translations of the same! But the sad thing was that no Catholic would have anything to do with Benny Hinn since he was a protestant preacher! Even my Malayalee neighbor was distraught thinking that I had left the Catholic Church when I gave her the Benny Hinn books! After almost 10 years of living in on the same floor as neighbours, what brought her to my door for the very first time ever was to talk to me about her concern that I was being influenced by ‘Non-Catholic preachers’! God bless her! (I was able to convince her that I was merely trying to help her ‘understand’ how one can have a wonderful relationship with the Holy Spirit, through the books!)
There’s a lot of ‘Christian Material’ out there that astounds as well as confounds us and before long, we are left wondering what/who to believe! For example, many contemporary Bible teachers focus on material wealth and prosperity. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with wealth and having possessions, so long as we are not controlled by them. However, these teachers often go to scripture to support their contentions and, in so doing, often miss the point of the particular verse or portion of scripture they cite. Most of the current prosperity gospel advocates justify their teaching by quoting Jesus in John 10:10 - I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
According to the prosperity teachers, Jesus was speaking of material abundance when he uttered these words. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Given the situation they were in, I doubt the early Christians were overly concerned with gaining material wealth. In the early days of the church, the prime focus was on solidifying the local church, spreading the gospel, and staying alive. When Christ spoke of abundance in John 10:10, he was speaking of the fullness of life. Here Jesus is talking about the fact that through his mission, believers will now have the capacity to have the fullness of life that was lost due to the Fall. In essence, He was referring to a restored humanity, now in proper relationship with God and ready to bear fruit.
I’ve been through it myself and I made a strong decision to ALWAYS CONSULT THE HOLY SPIRIT in such matters. Many a times, it may happen that the Holy Spirit wants us to be exposed to a particular situation so that through it He may teach us a divine lesson with the experience of which we can guide another brother or sister in distress.
A significant number of Christians don’t fathom the rich treasures Christ has provided through his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascendancy. In order to regain a full perspective on the accomplishments of Christ, our new identity as Children of the Light, and the authority and power granted to us, we need to carefully study Scripture and ascertain the full extent of the blessings of God’s provision through Christ. We must also live in a new manner and it is the Spirit that makes this new way of thinking, feeling, behaving and relating possible. Grasp that, and you are well on your way of appropriating your new identity in Christ.
The more your ‘DING DONG BELL’ keeps ringing, the more you know that the Holy Spirit’s discernment is working through you!