I have been called names, bullied, teamed up on, called a fool, broken up with, looked down on, persecuted, spit on, slapped, threatened, and otherwise persecuted for what I stand for. Many people point their fingers at me and blame me for things they blame the Father of lights for, and as his representative, I am as close as they can get to talking to God or Jesus Christ. For this very reason, it is important that we represent the Heart of the Father as best as we humanly can.
Imitating God is not easy. You will find that you have to stand for absolute truth without wavering or showing any kind of prejudice, all the while showing mercy and grace and being just and fair. Imagine forgiving people that wronged you and being patient with them until the day they die in hopes that in their dying breath they will repent and ask for forgiveness from you? Imagine never wishing ill on someone and being pained when you know what they should do and what would come of that versus what they will do and the heartbreak that will come from that consequence? This is the kind of love that God shows us. This is the kind of love that draws people to God and his mercy and grace.
Jesus is the epitome of this grace and love. When the disciples, James and John, asked him if they should call fire down from Heaven in Luke 9:54 he rebuked them and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are speaking from." The Greek word for know is Oidate. The root of this word oi, which is the word for Eye and to see. When in this context and conjunction oidate means to perceive with your spiritual eye. It's like how we would say, "I see what you're saying." This is an affirmation letting someone know that we understand what is being said. Strong's states this as, "eídō ("seeing that becomes knowing") then is a gateway to grasp spiritual truth (reality) from a physical plane. (eídō) then is physical seeing (sight) which should be the constant bridge to mental and spiritual seeing (comprehension).
Jesus didn't rebuke them as much for what they said, but rather for not spiritually discerning if they were speaking from the spirit of God or another spirit that is contrary to God and his Christ. This also shows us the heart of the Father. Two verses prior to this ordeal we see that Jesus had sent disciples ahead of him to a village of Samaritans who didn't receive them. The disciples saw this as an outrage. They couldn't understand why anyone would want to reject Jesus, the son of God. Surely they must have heard of all the wonderful exploits he had been doing all around Israel! James and John were put out and I dare speculate that they must have thought highly of themselves and Jesus or else they might not have been as offended as they were when they heard that this town rejected Jesus.
Jesus didn't say to the disciples, "Yes, they rejected me, burn them to the ground and kill all their friends and family, kids and newborns, cattle and everything else!" Jesus always reflected God's heart to the people. He always showed them love and kindness in it's truest, purest, most refined form in hopes that one day they would come to repentance.
We have all heard someone say, "If God is real, then let him strike me dead with a lightning bolt now." What people don't realize when they say that is that they don't know what spirit they are speaking from at that moment. If God were cruel, evil, and bitter with them then he would strike them down. However, that is Satan's heart, not God's heart. If God were to strike a person down in that arrogant state, that unrepentant state not having accepted Jesus, then they would die and go to hell and suffer for eternity. That's not God's heart. He taught us in John 3:16 that he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
It's not always easy portraying the father's heart. There are even times when we are in the church, where you would think that everyone would be loving and kind, and people still insult you and put you down and yet God still expects you to forgive them. Some of the deepest wounds I have received have been in churches.
I want to be real with you here in a way that only a few know, and way that only a few were there to witness. I was part of a move of God that was happening at a small home church. Every day we had fire in the house. People were getting healed, legs were growing out, someone got healed of night blindness and the list just goes on and on. One day, someone came to me interrupted what I was preaching and said I Had a lying spirit. They said, "God doesn't talk that much!" and began to tell me I needed deliverance. I humbled myself and said, "If you feel like I have a demon then please, I give you permission to cast it out." He told me my spirit tongues were fake, I had a demon, I was a liar, and I don't know what else he was saying because I was just trying to fight back tears.
The man began to attempt to "cast out" a devil I was sure I didn't have and when I was overwhelmed by what was happening and how no one was helping me, I cried. I was hurt and wounded. I questioned God and said, "God, if my tongues are fake, I have a lying spirit, or I am not hearing you I want to know or else I'm not doing it anymore. I'll still believe in you, but I won't do any of this again." I was crying so hard. I felt ashamed and hurt.
After a day of sulking, God told me that it wasn't my fault and that I was baptized in the spirit. I decided there and then that I would not ever let that happen again, and I would continue to pursue God even harder than I had before. I went back to the same house and started to play guitar and speak in tongues. There was a man there who is from Iran and has a supernatural testimony. He heard me speaking in tongues and was astounded. He said I was speaking Greek, Turkish, Persian, and Hebrew all in one language. He told me he had never heard a language like that and it was unique. He spoke each of those languages and translated what I was saying. This was confirmation from God that my tongue was not coming from a demon.
This is what Jesus was talking about. My faith was tested and I was ready to leave the supernatural because someone didn't know what spirit they were speaking from. They believed in their heart of hearts that they were helping me. They felt that they were right and I would be better off because they had been part of a deliverance ministry for 30 years and what I was doing was so unseen, unheard of and new that they assumed it was of the devil.
The next week I was at church in Rome, NY called Rome Hope Alliance. The pastor was friends with Matt Sorger and had invited him to speak so I went. Who should I see on my way in the door but the very man that had a week before tried to cast a devil out of me. He said, "Do you forgive me?" I said, "Yes I do. I love you." He hugged me and said, "I love this man's anointing." I have never seen this man again, but I know in my heart of hearts that I have forgiven him.
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all fruits of the spirit. It's interesting to note that at least one of those fruits of the spirit is also a Gift of the spirit. Each of the fruits is actually a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus said in Matthew 9, "You will know them by their fruit..." He was indicating that you would see what they are doing and by identifying those fruit you would be able to tell that they were not of God. This is also a means of establishing the spirit that they are speaking from. The other type of fruit mentioned is the fruit of the flesh. If something is evidence of being visible and perceived then this shows that there will always be a manifestation of the fruit in some way.
1 Corinthians 12 tells us that the spirituals, or gifts of the spirit, are manifestations of the Holy Spirit. If you want to be able to discern what spirit you or someone else is speaking from, then you need to be aware of these fruits. You may see manifestations in some form, the devil and his demons can manipulate the supernatural realm as we see in revelation, and in the account of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, but you will still see what type of fruit is being displayed behind the scenes.
In my situation, that fruit that was displayed was what felt like anger, accusation, impatience, fear, and discord. Having an empathic gift from the Holy Spirit I could feel not only my emotions but the emotions of those around me. Sometimes I can hear people's thoughts (before you flip out about that statement see Matthew 9:4) and I heard people getting mad and thinking thoughts of anger which I will not repeat because they are not full of grace.
The way the situation was handled did not produce good fruit from the perpetrator nor did it produce good fruit in the hearts of those that were witness to what was happening. In situations like this, you have the choice to allow that fruit to harm you and wound you and then operate from those wounds which will become strongholds and cause you to operate from an anti-Christ spirit, or you can choose to manifest the Spirit and gifts of God and allow the Holy Spirit to testify through you.
Take a moment to reflect at anytime someone has hurt you in the church. I want you to stop and forgive this person. Now take a moment and think why you were hurt? What was the area that you felt attacked in? Why? Now forgive yourself. It's o.k. to be hurt. it's not o.k. to not give that pain to Jesus and let him heal you. Don't ever return that place of hurt and anguish again unless it's to testify about how God healed you.
Keep an Eye for part two of this series. We're going to go even deeper.