Flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit is as individualized as there are different people. In explaining the variety of applications and expressions of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Paul said, There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. (1 Cor. 12:4-6, NLT) There are different gifts applied and ministered in various ways but they are all of God!
The church, as is its tendency, only has a limited religious model of moving in the spirit! It is a mystical model with a very limited scope of application. So limited, in fact, that it is nearly impossible to imagine how they could flow outside of church. So, as with all that God has freely given to the world, we have reduced these expressions of God’s love to something that excludes those who need it most and have regrettably limited those available for use to the religiously pious!
But God is God of variety. Creation itself screams God’s capacity and desire for creativity and variety. “Why all the variety?” one might ask. Simple! God works with, through, and for the benefit of people. He uses many different people in many various ways so the most people can benefit! Specific types of expression are more effective at reaching certain types of people. Variety maximizes the potential to do good for all!
Everything God does through you always maintains your fingerprint. It is always expressed through your personality, your communication style, and to some degree within the framework of your comfort zone. It is this variety that makes it possible for anyone to be used and for everyone to be helped.
In ministering to others I have always been very comfortable with what we have come to call word of knowledge. Word of knowledge for me is where I experience knowledge about someone that I would have no way of knowing other than by divine revelation. In sharing words of knowledge it is important that you don’t add, embellish, or take away from what you sense. Share what you have and let God work with the person from there!
Words of knowledge can come to you in several ways. Sometimes I feel something in a part of my body and I realize someone is dealing with an issue in that same part of their body. At times I have a quick “mental glimpse” of something. At other times I internally hear a word. It is never a sentence, rarely a phrase, usually just a word: back pain, kidneys, right eye, or something like that. I don’t try to understand it or expand it; I simply share the part of the body the person is dealing with and lead them in prayer.
Since there are many ways to administer these gifts there is no right or wrong way. The right way is the way that is effective for you. I seldom call people forward to lay hands on them; I usually pray for them where they are, but occasionally God will impress me to call someone forward.
My use of the gifts was developed in street ministry. I shared words of knowledge on a street corner before I ever shared them at an altar. They look very different when expressed in the real world than they do in a church setting. I believe it’s the mystical expression of the gifts in church that has kept them isolated from the world. Let’s face it: it’s hard to prophesy in Wal-Mart the same way it’s usually done in church. It would probably get you a trip to your local mental ward!
One of the greatest differences when applied in the real world is the necessity to do so with humility. In the world we submit these impressions to those we seek to serve. We never do it in arrogance or showmanship. The gifts are manifestations of God’s love and character. It is God expressing Himself through us. Every aspect of that expression must demonstrate the character of God.
There is no truly safe way to launch out in the gifts. All you can do is begin to humbly submit the impression you have. So many times I begin a conversation with something like, “Is there something going on with your back today?” That can immediately blossom into a ministry opportunity. Sometimes God gives me something very clear and definitive. When He does I share accordingly. As you allow God to move through you, you will become more confident in His ability to use you and more absolute in your awareness of His love for everyone!