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WHAT IS THE ROLE OF EXPERIENCE THEN?

MAR 17

2 Peter 1:19
Memorise 2 Corinthians 13:5
“there is a way that seemeth right …but the end …the ways of death.”

The emphasis of the Charismatic movement is one of experience, over the truth of God’s Word. They believe that God speaks to us not only from the Bible but also by speaking “new” truths to the believer directly. The believer may see visions, or claim he heard God spoke to him or may even simply have a “feeling” that he has been imparted with some special truth. Hence, it is not uncommon to see individuals standing up unexpectedly in the middle of a Charismatic worship service declaring, “God spoke to me!” If asked why he did that, he would profess that he had a “feeling” that that was to be said and often attributed the action to the Holy Spirit.


While we may not share the beliefs of the Charismatics, we may sometimes wonder if we should act on a feeling within us that we sometimes experience. Perhaps it is a sudden feeling of passion, or excitement and we think that it may be Holy Spirit’s prompting. Some of us call it a “gut feel”. Or, it may be a sickening feeling of distaste and think perhaps that too is a prompting from God to avoid something.


Feelings or experiences can sometimes be used by God. In Acts 2:37, when Peter preached, the listeners were pricked to the heart and were converted. It describes a feeling of pain that cannot be ignored and it was used by the Holy Spirit to move them into conversion. Hence, it is possible for God to cause an experience in the hearts of man. It is also possible for the Holy Ghost to impart a sense of uneasiness when we are confronted with sin, so that we may be discerning to avoid committing it. However, certain feelings can also be very wrong and do not originate from God but instead from a desperately wicked heart (Jeremiah 17:9). We should not always trust it and instead must always counter-check an experience or feeling with the more sure word of prophecy that we have in our hands - the Word of God (2 Peter 1:19).


Only if God’s Word confirms what we feel is from God can we give it credit. Hence, we have to humbly check ourselves and perhaps, possess a healthy scepticism about our experiences. Any experience must definitely be within the confines of the Bible.

Thought: Can a wonderful feeling be completely sinful?
Prayer: Lord, please help me to trust You more than myself.