In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch

I'll let you in on a truth of which my kids are very
much aware - I'm old.

I can still remember how excited we were at my school when I was in 6th grade; the administration had let us bring a turn table out beside the building at recess a couple of days a week and play records. We thought we were so cool out there grooving to the music. Some of the stuff we listened to was really cheesy. One such group was the Osmund Brothers. They had a hit song entitled One bad apple. The basic premise of this song was that one bad experience in a situation (in the case of the song the situation was being "in love") does not mean that the entire situation is bad.

I was reminded of that song this week as I was thinking about the second chapter of Chan's book Forgotten God. He points to the passage in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 that commands Believers to not quench the Spirit and to not treat prophecies with contempt. The questions and thoughts that he brought up in that second chapter have been bouncing around in the back of my mind for the past week.

One experience that Chan relates in his book is similar to my own; he talks about how, when he read those words in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, he basically assumed he wasn't quenching the Spirit and moved on. That's been me; since I love God and want to live for Him I kind of assumed that of course I wasn't quenching the Spirit. Yet I've been extremely closed off toward most prophecies.

You see the problem is experience. When you have good experiences that sets you up toward something favorably, but when you have bad experiences it has the opposite effect. I spent 3 years in a charismatic church where I observed and experienced many abuses of prophesy and the supposed power of the Holy Spirit. Initially attending that church had been fun and exciting. Every week we believed we'd hear from God. There was always something fresh and new. Unfortunately as I got more involved, and because I was privy to many behind the scenes happenings, I began to realize that much of what was going on had nothing to do with God. Things ranged from well meaning Believers who, simply because of that charismatic culture, made "power of the Spirit" things happen, to downright misuse of situations to manipulate people.

So I took that one "bad apple"/bad experience and let it make me, to quite an extent, give up on participating with other Believers in settings where they practiced all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

What about you, have you ever let one bad experience sour you on experiencing all God has for you?


Mike said...

The same passage of the book struck me, too...except mine was audio book format. To hear Chan read his own words about quenching the Spirit was riveting.

I must agree with him and with an author of another book I recently reviewed on the Holy Spirit, that we settle for being comfortable in the church and don't want to deal with potentially messy spirit we simply squash it instead. How often have I sided with the church in the past on this, but I see that it is devastating to what God wants to do. So instead of doing it here, He seems pretty interested in doing it in Africa, the Middle East, etc.

John Cowart said...

Hi Tracy,

I need to balance my own personal experience with the truth of Scripture, and sometimes that really hard to do.

Notice, I said my OWN experience; I view the experiences of other Christians as suspect. I want to see the holes in His hands myself.

When my experience conflicts with Scripture-- I come down on the side of experience because I understand less about Scripture than I do about what happened to me.

When neither Scripture nor experience makes sense in my life, I try to just blindly trust Jesus to sort it all out at the harvest, like in the field of wheat and tares.

John Cowart

RCUBEs said...

I see those when one would claim the "Spirit" told me or "something was anointed..." but we have to be careful as to whether what was said or done really came from the Spirit. It could be deceiving us rather than helping us.

When I hurt my neck from the hospital, I thought that was the end of my career as a nurse. But I didn't know, years later, that it was only the beginning of Him showing me how true and faithful His promises are! Now that I'm going through this huge battle at work, that "one bad apple" actually became my advantage. I know where I stand and because of Him, I know I have nothing to fear. After all, I used to be a bad apple but He never looked at me that way. God bless.

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