We Must Have Unity
The Charismatic Movement was a move of Holy Spirit which resulted in tens of millions of conversions around the world. There have been other outpourings of the Spirit in the last 60 years - some called them revivals - which touched individual nations. Then, of course, there have been movements of Holy Spirit which were primarily to restore truth to the church, rather than being evangelism-centered, such as the healing revival (of 1947-1958), the prayer movement, prophetic movement, apostolic movement, etc. I have been blessed to observe and be part of all these activities of Holy Spirit. Having been raised in church - in a ministry family, then in ministry myself - I have had a front row seat, allowing the observation of restorations, revivals, trends and movements.
While observing all of this, I have never seen a group of people discover fresh truth, shift in theology, implement new ideas, raise up new ministries, and do so perfectly. There is ALWAYS a learning curve, as knowledge grows and methods change.
Those who began moving in the gifts of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12), including gifts of healing and the workings of miracles, made mistakes as they launched out in faith. Yet, much good was accomplished with many people being healed.
Those of us who began teaching new understandings of prayer made some errors, but incredible progress has been made.
Deliverance ministries experienced some extremes, yet many people were set free.
The Word of Faith movement experienced a few imbalances and extremes, yet through this movement, many people began to understand the importance of faith, our authority as believers and that God really does want to free people from poverty.
Groups that emphasized discipleship struggled with control issues, yet an important truth was restored to the church’s understanding.
As prophets and prophecy began to re-emerge in the church, mistakes, of course, were made. But one of the most important gifts of Christ to the church has been restored, bringing immeasurable fruit.
As apostles and apostolic ministry was restored, extremes came and errors were made. However, an incredibly important function of Christ in the church re-emerged.
It is somewhat ridiculous to think that as principles and understandings - which were previously unknown or had been lost - are gained/regained, this will begin with full maturity. Knowledge grows. Truth unfolds. These things will always be a process.
When change regarding spiritual restorations and growth is occuring, over time Holy Spirit brings things into balance and maturity. What is disheartening is the criticism, strife and division generated by believers who don’t understand this process. Forerunners, pathfinders and pioneers do not always find the right path on the first attempt. That’s why the process is called “finding.” Forerunners prepare the way because the way doesn’t yet exist. Does anyone really think this occurs without some messes, false starts, backing up and adjusting course?
What is wrong with us that we allow a critical spirit to attack and divide us when this process is happening? What is it that motivates us to judge and slander fellow believers who attempt to move us forward in our thinking, yet make some mistakes along the way? This is none other than a pharisaical spirit. And it is a spirit that God does not like. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists 7 things He hates. Many things that normally make the list of detestable things for the average believer aren’t on the list. Pride, however, which is certainly involved in believing one has the right to critique another’s performance, and “one who sows discord among brethren” are on the list.
To be sure, it is appropriate to confront heresy or error, but it is possible to do so in love and with a spirit of humility.
Our good friend, Barbara Yoder, shares some insightful thoughts regarding this problem. Please read and/or listen prayerfully.
“First of all, I want to say I know many leaders. Why am I saying that? Because from my direct experience with them, I believe most leaders have pure hearts toward God. They are seeking to do and be the right thing.
“The church is already entering into a time of revival and awakening. It has started, but we are only ankle-deep at this time. There’s coming a time shortly when we will dive into full revival, the deep end, over our heads (see Ezekiel 47).
“However, if we enter this time without becoming of one heart, one mind, one spirit, we will be blown apart. What is needed right now is a massive cleansing of each of our hearts, mine included, of anything that would cause this move of God to be hindered or possibly aborted.
“I believe we are in a season where one of the main things God is dealing with is a spirit of accusation which causes division. In recent years, the spirit of Jezebel has overtaken the nation and the church, which among other things, discredits people and ministries through wrong accusations. Jezebel and Ahab wanted land that was owned by a man named Naboth (see 1 Kings 21). Therefore, she raised up false accusers to discredit Naboth in order to steal his inheritance (vineyard). And she was successful.
“To express anything to others that discredits another person, without ever going to the person directly, is operating in a spirit of accusation and division. It is prevalent in the body of Christ and has brought great hurt and wounding. God is beginning to deal with this spirit.
“Everything in God‘s kingdom is grounded in sound, healthy relationships. To allow a spirit of accusation and division to proliferate is totally antithetical to biblical truth.
“A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who points with his fingers; who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife/discord” (Proverbs 6:12-14).
“To sow discord is to say and do things that cause distrust among people which results in arguments and fights. It’s time to turn from anything that would divide the body of Christ. We need genuine, authentic, healthy relationships built on truthfulness and trust. Acts 3:19-21 says before revival/refreshing can come, repentance must occur. Let us turn fully back to God with our whole hearts.”
I’m grateful for Barbara’s words and challenge to us all. It’s time for us to have a heart check. Let’s ask Holy Spirit to help us walk before God with pure hearts.
“Who, then, is allowed to ascend the mountain of Yahweh? And who has the privilege of entering into God’s Holy Place? Those who are clean—whose works and ways are pure, whose hearts are true and sealed by the truth, those who never deceive, whose words are sure. They will receive Yahweh’s blessing and righteousness given by the Savior-God. They will stand before God, for they seek the pleasure of God’s face” (Psalm 24: 3-5 TPT).
Pray with me:
Father, we are grateful that You are faithful to check our hearts. We do not want to give place to the enemy, allowing discord or offense to occur. Lord, we ask that You shine Your spotlight of conviction to any unswept corners of our hearts. We desire to have clean hands and pure hearts, being tools of unity and truth. We want to walk in the light - so shine Your light upon us, exposing our hearts and motives. Help us to always be willing to admit when we are wrong, allowing You to bring hope, harmony, and restoration to Your body. Show us our hearts Lord, and help us to always be instruments of Your healing and love.
We especially ask Your forgiveness for inappropriately speaking against other streams and movements in the church. Teach us to express our differences, even bring correction, without embracing a critical spirit. May we always remember that of all the characteristics of Your kingdom we are to walk in, the greatest will always be love. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
We decree that we will be instruments of love and peace, not giving place to the enemy and his evil tactics.
Barbara Yoder is the senior leader of Shekinah Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can find out more about Barbara here.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.