“We need to be aware of this snare from the enemy, but I’m not saying you shouldn’t be charismatic, in fact I consider myself to be charismatic!” He said.
What in the world does charismatic mean?!
I snatched Checkers’ phone off the table where it was laying in front of us. We were sitting in a DTS lecture and the speaker had just used a word I had never heard before. Checkers looked at me a bit strangely as I rapidly typed charismatic into google search.
“I wanna know what charismatic means!” I whispered.
This is what I learned…
Charismatic Christianity is diverse, and it is not defined by acceptance of any particular doctrines, practices, or denominational structures. Rather, renewalists share a spirituality characterized by a worldview where miracles, signs and wonders, and other supernatural occurrences are expected to be present in the lives of believers. This includes the presence of spiritual gifts, such as prophecy and healing. While similar in many respects, renewalists do differ in important ways. These differences have led to Charismatic Christianity being categorized into three main groups: Pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, and neo-charismatic movements.
This is one of those words that gets used a lot in Lancaster county. We are quick to decide that continuing this or that practice would be religious.
The thing is, this is often true, because religion does run rampant in Lancaster.
Here’s the definition of religion as written by Miriam Webster
noun re·li·gion \ri-ˈli-jən\
* : the belief in a god or in a group of gods
* : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
* : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
However, since religion is a stronghold around here, instead of simply correcting or eliminating the religiousness in our lives, we often tend to react to it. Many of us grew up in religious cultures and since we have seen first hand how damaging it can be, we try to avoid it like it’s a plague!
We are literally afraid of becoming or seeming religious!
I will never forget the time when the speaker up front asked us all to kneel for a closing prayer. Then he laughed a little awkwardly and asked? “Or is that too religious?”
Since when is kneeling considered religious? That was the first time I fully realized just how deeply this anti-religion thing can actually go.
This is the part where we run into a bit of a problem because if we are are so set on making sure we aren’t being religious, we are actually being just that.
Jake Kail (pastor at Threshold) says it best:
“Don’t be religious about being non-religious!”
So we don’t want to follow rules and traditions in our christian walk to the point of becoming religious.
We also don’t want to avoid all ‘old fashioned practices’ to the point of becoming religious.
The New Problem With Religion
The devil wants us to fail. He doesn’t really care how or with what he snares us. His goal is simply to get the job done.
Whatever it takes.
He often takes perfectly good practices and convinces us to twist them, to misunderstand them and to honor them to the point that they are no longer healthy practices but actually take over the place in our life that rightfully belongs to God.
Thinking that your salvation is ensured by the church you attend is a great example of this, because your church will never save you. Only God has the power to save.
We know the devil is trying to lure us into the religious trap, so if he runs into a person who he can’t trap with religious rules or religious non-religion, do you think he’ll just give up?
Probably not. Especially not if there’s another option.
Why not try to get people to become religious about being charismatic.
This is the snare I believe we are currently seeing in the charismatic movement.
We have come to a place where you need to express your worship freely and boldly or you aren’t getting it right.
To me this sounds a whole lot like…
If your clothing aren’t the right length, color or style, you aren’t getting it right.
We have come to a place where you need to understand your spiritual gifts in order to properly fulfill your calling, you need to prophesy, you need to pray in tongues, you need to…
This is all good stuff!! This is all things that are important, its things that will deepen and strengthen your relationship with God. It’s good stuff!!
However, the way we tend to promote and almost force it on people often sounds a whole lot like…
You need to drive a horse and buggy or a certain color vehicle with the antenna taken off, you need to stay away from modern practices, you need to live a quiet and humble life, you need to…
We are missing the point again!!
It’s not about what we are doing!
It’s about JESUS.
It’s always about Jesus.
He told us clearly that the greatest commandment is love. He told us clearly that we are saved by faith alone.
If we believe and we love those around us with a Christlike love, isn’t that enough?
I think there is always more to learn and I believe we should always be striving to know the God who saved us on a deeper more intimate level.
More importantly, I believe we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and live out what he is asking us to do, wether that is praying in tongues, prophesying or whatever.
I believe, we need to teach and share what he has taught us with others as he asks us to do so.
However, I think these are only tools he has given us, for our own personal growth and for ministering to others.
They are not needed to claim salvation.
So the bottom line is…
Let’s stay away from religion.
Let’s stay away from being religious about following rules.
Let’s stay away from being religious about being non-religious.
And let’s stay away from being religious about being charismatic.