The first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 12, verses 7-11 ESV reads as follows,
(7) To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
(8) For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
(9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
(10) 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.
(11) All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
We see in the verses I just quoted above that there are several gifts with which God bestows His children, but only one of them enables us to discern whether all the other manifestations sprang from God’s Holy Spirit – or not. John Wesley wrote regarding 1 Cor 12:10,
“[…] The discerning – Whether men be of an upright spirit or no; whether they have natural or supernatural gifts for offices in the church; and whether they who profess to speak by inspiration speak from a divine, a natural, or a diabolical spirit.” [John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible]
Now I want to share with you on here how God helped me realize that there are indeed different kinds of spirits who are working their way through us human beings, from one to another, making us believe it is always God who works in us. I would like to call the following part of my testimony “The Temptation of Spiritual Gurudom” since that’s what it was for me – in the end, at least. Realizing how Satan tried to destroy God’s silent work in my heart through “loud” manifestations of any kind, made me eventually RUN – run back into God’s calming and comforting presence. In order to protect all persons involved, I decided to omit both the location and the year where and when these things really happened, so that only those who were with me will know.
Some years ago when I was abroad, I had some of the most overwhelming experiences with God and, also, some of the most disturbing and horrifying encounters with Satan. It would go beyond the constraints of a blog post if I tried to describe everything that I experienced back then. Here’s an excerpt of an email – which I changed a bit – that I wrote earlier this year when I shared a part of those experiences with someone else. It might show you how my encounters with God (and Satan!) – which were hidden for others – apparently affected other people as well – for better or for worse…only God knows.
It began as a woman, a female doctor, visited me in my hotel room. She told me that she had been swimming in the hotel’s swimming pool and that her foot had been injured severely [Note: It was at the weekend and we were near a small town – and at that moment there were no doctors except for her!]. Oh dear, her foot was so thick! I suggested to apply my homeopathic balm which could at least soothe the pain. She agreed and asked whether I could apply it. I did. “Hope it helps,” was all I said to her.
The very next morning, as I sat alone in the hotel foyer, she approached me quickly with another woman next to her. “Susanne, you healed me! My foot looks as if it had never been injured.” – “I cannot heal,” I replied, “surely, it was the balm.” – “No, I believe you healed me.”
The other woman who had experienced a stroke and also suffered from arthritis asked me whether I could lay my hands on her. I did it after I had doubtingly asked God if I should do it or not. Cautiously I told her, “If you find yourself better afterwards, then it must have been God because I can’t do such things.”
On and on the story goes.
The next woman suffered from multiple sclerosis. In her case I found myself sitting in the midst of some who wanted to witness what happened with her as I was laying my hands on her (shoulders, in that case). We closed our eyes and I realized that now there was so much power all around that others had been sucked into that power as well. A man right next to me said, utterly amazed, “I never thought that such things really happen!!”
Shortly afterwards, a woman stopped me on the stairs and told me that she had heard about my ability to look into others’ hearts and to offer the proper help they would need. I wondered who had told her such stuff and I denied being able to do those things. I can’t remember exactly what I told her then, but I remember that I felt God’s unconditional love and the deepest compassion possible.
Later in the evening, I was sitting with two men and, again, another woman at the dinner table together, as one of those men told us a dream he would dream and which confused and scared him that much. While he was talking, I saw a clear picture in my mind which I described him afterwards. He looked at me – stunned – and burst out, “How wonderful if someone can do what you can! Thank you!!” – “It is not my ability, I only shared what came to me at that very moment,” I answered.
If you are now inclined to think I was humble, you might be wrong. 😉 Actually, I was struggling a lot with the temptation of pride, the temptation to become someone in the center of admiration. I knew instinctively that God cannot use me in any way that was pleasing in His eyes as long as there is a SELF in me that needs something more than God. Therefore I believe it was the Holy Spirit who, finally, nudged me to pray,
“Dear God, if those manifestations have not been from You, please, let them stop.”
And lo and behold, afterwards all spiritual power to do anything was gone – completely. Thank GOD!!!