Holy Spirit: Manifestations of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

What are some of the manifestations of the Spirit? These are just more gifts of the Spirit.

Why are they given?

In this list we read of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. They are given for the common good. We are given blessings to bless others.

Wisdom is understanding that comes from God, and it’s different from the wisdom of this world. You might know from God what’s going on in a situation or how to deal with a situation.

Knowledge is God telling you some information that you couldn’t have gotten elsewhere. God once showed me in prayer where someone was sitting and their birthday. When the person heard that, they gave themselves to Christ. They were blown away by God’s personal attention.

Faith is being sure of God! It’s knowing with all assurance that He is going to come through. Our biggest story about faith is that God asked us to leave all our sources of income and trust Him to provide (no job, no support raising, no asking for prayer for our needs, none of that). I knew God would come through as our provider, and He did.

Healing and miracles are pretty obvious. I do have stories of healings and miracles, but this isn’t the place for those. We’ve talked about prophecy already. Discerning spirits is God showing you when there is a demon at work. We seldom had experience with that in America, but overseas, all that was very much part of their world.

At Pentecost the people heard the disciples glorifying God in each of their own languages. This list is talking about gifts for the body, so it’s talking about speaking in tongues out loud at church, which is only to be done if it can be understood, either because it’s their language or because someone is there who has the gift to interpret what you are saying. Remember, there are “various kinds of tongues.” I believe the ministry gift of tongues is not what we see most people receiving in the book of Acts when they start speaking in another language.

Remember, you can ask God for gifts to build up His church.

There are manifestations of spirits that are not of the Holy Spirit. Someone shaking in large violent ways uncontrollably is not from the Holy Spirit. How do I know? Because we know one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control. That’s a good thing to remember. Anyone who is acting without self-control is not acting in the Holy Spirit. God’s not making people act drunk or making them laugh so hard they can’t read the Bible! God’s also not putting people in pain. God is a healer! God is not pouring out gold or any other weird thing people say. God’s gifts build up the body of Christ. They aren’t for personal experiences. They produce holiness and righteousness. This is one of the reasons we need to get to know God through the Bible, so we can recognize Him and spot the counterfeit. We are warned that there will be false signs and wonders, so we need to know the real deal. Jesus said, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

Lesson Point: God’s gifts include ways the Spirit can manifest God through us.

Challenge Question: Have you ever experienced one of these manifestations? If you have ever been confused about whether something is from God or not, take it to God in prayer and read the Bible. He has shown us who He is. If it doesn’t line up with who the Bible tells us God is, then it’s not Him behind it. Supernatural doesn’t automatically mean God. I would beg you to not seek after experiences. Seek after God Himself!

Some verses:

1 Corinthians 12:30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? Note: The context is talking about the ministry gifts. Not everyone is given the ministry gift of speaking in tongues at a church service.

Acts 19:5-6 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.