But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
By definition, the term dysfunction denotes the condition of having poor and unhealthy behaviours and attitudes within a group of people. It also refers to the state of being unable to function in a normal way. The Bible reveals many causes of spiritual dysfunction. One such cause relates to what can be termed a disruption of the Person-Power-Purpose principle of Acts 1:8.
Authentically receiving the Holy Spirit’s baptism necessarily results in one’s empowerment in order to be Christ’s witness (Acts 1:8). A Christian who is Spirit-filled but doesn’t share his faith is living a spiritually unhealthy or spiritually abnormal life. In short, such a believer is spiritually dysfunctional. Well, that just means spiritually sick! How many of us must check ourselves into a spiritual “hospital” this week on account of this dysfunction?
At root this spiritual dysfunction stems from a violation of the Lord’s clearly stated sequence: Holy Spirit baptism > Empowerment > Witness. For instance, a careless emphasis on “power” regardless of authentic source risks demonic substitution! The devil is only too glad to deceive gullible believers. Rather, we must seek the Person (the Holy Spirit) ahead of the power of God. Then we will rightly fulfil our purpose (being witnesses of Christ).
Likewise, seeking an encounter with the Holy Spirit without an awareness of the purpose of Spirit-baptism can result in myopic emotionalism, confusion and frustration. It is very easy for us to enjoy the awesome “presence” of God within the four walls of our churches, totally oblivious to the plight of a dying world. We then emotionally celebrate how “the anointing” is mightily present and selfishly congratulate ourselves for being spiritually deep. God forbid!
How does confusion also set in? Believers’ competing for the spiritual limelight can cause confusion. Such a “Corinthian” attitude pits one Christian’s spiritual gift versus another believer’s. The goal of edifying the church and reaching seekers is then lost (see 1 Corinthians 14: 20-25). However, our God is not the author of confusion! I believe much of the confusion and conflicts in our churches stem from a lack of awareness of the real purpose of the anointing in our lives.
We must acknowledge our spiritual disease and dysfunction and earnestly seek healing. Without admitting our shortcomings, we will be stuck in the status quo. Our light will remain hidden, our testimony unknown and His glory unheralded. God forbid!