But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task…and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 6:3,5) In our book Power Points, Kevin Springer and I tried to clarify the different ways Luke uses the concept of “ filling,” “ filled,” and “being full.” Luke employs three Greek words for filling, and they all give a slightly different twist to its meaning. Acts 6:5 describes filling more like a character quality or disposition in which a person is habitually controlled by God’s Spirit. Stephen was full (pleres) of faith and the Holy Spirit (see also Luke 4:1; 11:24). In the Acts 6 passage above, the “full of the Holy Spirit” is synonymous with possessing mature character. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.
Isn’t it sad?
So much of what we see being done by well-meaning Christians now-a-days is not “full of the Spirit,” but full of ____ ! Well, you know. Something else. You fill in the blank. Now, please, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been around the church for thirty plus years. I love the people of God and would not want to be associated with anyone else or hang out anywhere else. I pastor God’s people and will always defend the church to the bitter end. But as one who loves the bride of Christ, may I quickly add that it sure seems as though we don’t know jack when it comes to being “full of the Spirit.”
Wimber had it right back in the day when Kevin Springer and he wrote their classic book called Power Points. A man or woman who believes that he or she is “full of the Spirit” must realize that Jesus is looking for so much more from that person than just being a charismatic worker of signs and wonders or a dynamic speaker who woos the masses.
Certainly, one who claims to be “full of the Spirit” will be able to accomplish amazing things in life, because indeed, the power that raised Christ from the dead is now dwelling inside us. But sadly, so many Christians today forget that being “full of the Spirit,” as Wimber points out here in the Scriptures, is referring to issues of mature character as much as it is referencing prowess in the Spirit.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into men and women, both Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal, over the years who operate in great power of the Spirit, but absolutely stink when it comes to operating out of the basic fruit and gifts of the Spirit of God: fruit like humility, gentleness, kindness, compassion, and gifts like faith, hope, and love.
As I see it, this is the exact reason Paul had to write his famous love chapter (First Corinthians 13) to the folks “full of the Spirit” in Corinth. Sure, they were going around their city blasting out evil spirits, curing sicknesses, and delivering people from demons. They were proclaiming clearly, the victory of Christ to the lost and bringing salvation to many households. But alas, if I read Paul clearly, his friends in Corinth were doing these powerful things in ways that betrayed the very essence of the Spirit of Christ, which was dwelling within them!
And so Paul, ever so gently, but yet in no uncertain words, warned his brothers and sisters like in First Corinthians 13: 1-3:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love (The Message).
Wimber, as a person who operated in great power with the Holy Spirit, equally reminded us back in the day that to be a man or woman who was truly “full of the Spirit” meant that we needed to address issues of character, making certain that we were operating in gifts of faith, hope, and love as much as the gifts of power. To Wimber, a man of God who went around healing the sick by day, but then went home and was abusive to his wife and kids, was not a man “full of the Spirit.” Nor was the preacher who, by the Spirit of God, rants and raves at his congregation about the sinful condition of the church while being one who later went home and secretly viewed porn on his computer.
John used to pray it for himself and others this way: “Father, help us to grow up in the ways of God before we grow old.”
Probably not a bad prayer for us “full of the Spirit” folks to be praying here in the twenty-first century? Don’t you think?
God, I’m so very sorry that I, for one, can go off “full of the Spirit” and do some pretty amazing things in your name, but then in the same breath, be cold-hearted, hot-tempered, and self-centered, defying the very definition the Scriptures give us on being a man “full of the Spirit.” Father, search me and cleanse me inside and out, making my character and integrity “full of the Spirit.” For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- How have I focused exclusively on the power of the Spirit while forgetting to pray the life-giving prayer of Wimber…“God, grow me up before I grow old?”
- Is my inner character and integrity “full of the Spirit” or am I just seeking those external power gifts of the Spirit that Paul addressed in his letter to the Corinthians?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
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