[1 Corinthians 12:8-10]
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
I don’t remember when it was that someone told me “faith” was a spiritual gift, but I remember feeling really cool that I had it, and that I finally had an answer as why it appeared like other people doubted God more often than I seemed to.
I also don’t remember when I got attached to the idea that I could predict the future if I prayed hard enough, but somehow I did. I was determined to “exercise that prayer muscle” so I could be in deep communion with Him and He could speak to me in that way. [Since then I’ve learned prophecy is much different than I thought, but that’s how I got hooked]
I love spiritual gifts. And I love the fact that 1 Corinthians repeats multiple times that each gift comes from the same Spirit. Which means, we all have access to these miraculous gifts.
God has recently been revealing to me how important it is to honor these pieces of Himself He created within me, and if I dampen this part of myself then I am dampening my communion with Him.
Over the past few years my relationship with the Lord has been deepened because of these gifts He has given me. And I believe that’s what they’re meant for when He gives them to us. God provides the Spirit within each of us so we can be in deeper communion with Him. And when we are in deep communion with Him, the gifts of His spirit are more noticeable within us. And as He provides visions & dreams & words & deep faith & healing, He brings us into an even closer relationship with Him.
However, the past few months I have been “off.” Something happened and it shattered my trust of myself when it came to hearing God’s voice. Which ultimately damaged my ability to draw nearer to Him since I didn’t trust myself anymore.
And because I haven’t trusted myself to practice any of my spiritual gifts, I have been distant from God for months. What used to be confident boisterous prayers standing firm in the promises of God, are now meek & helpless prayers of help & healing.
And yet, He never desires to leave us there. Lately, He has slowly been returning His strength and confidence within my soul in small doses. The other week my bible study did Listening Prayer and He gave me a vivid vision to show me: “I’m still here, and you still have these gifts I’ve given you.”
Then the other day when someone asked me: “What bible story or verse are you thankful for,” the only thing that popped into my head was The Prodigal Son. I had no reason and no backing as to why… until God revealed the reason to me the following day.
I was invited to attend a different church in the morning that I had a feeling would be charismatic, Spirit led, and very similar to the worship I experienced while on the World Race.
I feel close to God when I worship… and worship on the Race was the closest I’ve ever felt to Him. Filled with the Spirit, visions, no structure, lasts hours, repeated verses over and over and over again for longer than you need to just so that each time you sing the words they are more intense than the last… I’ve been craving that kind of worship since being back in America.
And then, God provided.
The women dancing with worship flags was the first thing to make me cry. The colors of the flags and the women’s garb were bright and beautiful. They danced, smiled, and sang as they worshipped God in a unique way. It was so beautiful to see their unashamed joy in worshipping God that way. [Especially the 96 year old woman still jamming out for her Lord.]
My second month on the World Race, one of our ministry contacts in Swaziland, Rachel, had worship flags she let the orphans use during worship. She told us stories of how demons feared certain flags when waved overtop of them. So although I myself never worshipped with flags… this was the first time I’d seen them in three years.
It felt like home.
The next thing that made me cry was when we sang the song “The Days of Elijah.”
What a song of celebration and pure joy. It was while singing this song, hearing the joyful voices belting around me, that God gave me a beautiful vision of Him saying, “Welcome home.”
I am walking into a huge banquet hall; the whole room alight with golden light and filled with brightness. It is completely radiant as it glitters.
On either side are long tables filled with an endless feast, and rows of people on either side that I don’t even know, clapping and cheering with huge smiles on their faces. They are welcoming me home.
As I walk down the hall, before me is the Heavenly Father on His throne, with Jesus seated on His right side and the Holy Spirit with them in all their glory. They are beaming at me, welcoming me home.
And in that moment, I realize that this feast is just for me. This celebration is being thrown just for me. There are no malicious hearts, no selfish motives from the other guests, no jealousy. Only pure happiness and joy that I, the daughter of a King, Ariane, am returning home to the Father. A feast and celebration thrown purely because He loves me.
It is the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 without the other brother questioning, “Why don’t I get a feast.” Because this feast is for all of us, individually, when we return home to Him. No matter how far away we’ve been, no matter how long, He throws a celebration feast when we return. And He does it every.single.time.
But the father said to his servants –
“Quick! Bring the best robe & put it on him. Put a ring on his finger & sandals on his feet. Bring the fatted calf & kill it. Let’s have a feast to celebrate. For this child of mine was dead & is alive again; he was lost & is found.”
So they began to celebrate.