There is a tenet of Ignatian spirituality*[see note below] that when our hearts are generally inclined towards God [that we are generally consecrated to Him] the desires of our hearts are placed there by Him. If you have prayed a genuine prayer of consecration and your desire is to worship God, then you can trust that your desire to experience the supernatural spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit is clearly His will for you. The Bible makes it clear that we are to experience the power of God operating through us. As well, we are to experience His love, not just as a comforting idea but as an emotional experience. Eph.3

When you are seeking His Kingdom your desires to be used powerfully by Him are the work of the Holy Spirit – they are Godly desires. You are not asking for blessings for yourself but for others. You are not looking to become a wealthy healing evangelist with a jet and an adoring entourage. You want to see God glorified by helping people who are in severe need. Wanting to see God proved powerful and loving is not a selfish motive, it is the best of motives. To be satisfied with a faith without power is to short sell the very nature of God.

To want to experience God’s love is to fulfill His design for you. You were created for a relationship of love with your Father. The love He as for you is not theoretical. His love is experiential. He is an affectionate father. I don’t have time to go through the theology in proof of that statement but I am certain of it.  As they say, the proof is in the pudding. All those I know who have had overwhelming experiences of the Father’s love through the work of the Holy Spirit have found themselves more in love with Him, more passionate about His word and more loving of others. His love is the fuel we were designed to run on. Life in the Holy Spirit is essentially a life of constant receiving of the Father’s love, with the result being a flow of this love out of us to those around us. This is His will for you. To desire it is to be in the center of His will.

The interesting question is, where do you think these desires are coming from? There are only three possible sources: your self, Satan, or God. Do you think you have generated this longing? Why would you? Your theological training has tried to rid you of it. Your intellectual nature certainly finds it difficult to accept. So why would you start longing for something that rationally has been trained out of you? I really doubt that you generated these longings. So how about Satan? Honestly, I doubt that he wants you longing for more of God’s love in your life. Certainly he does not want you coming into the fullness of the Holy Spirit if it is going to lead to more love and more power flowing to you and through you. If this happens then God gets glorified to a much greater degree and this is absolutely not something he wants.

You could argue that Satan wants to deceive you with false theology but the only way you can reach that conclusion is if the cessationist argument is biblically true. In my opinion their argument is a terrible reading of Corinthians. It just doesn’t make sense in the context of the passage.

Finally, there is the evidence of reality. We are seeing healings regularly in the life of our church. I have seen four cases of blindness or partial blindness healed. In every case the healing brought glory to God and resulted in a person more passionate about Him, His word, etc. This is just not the fruit of Satan’s work.

The third alternative is that these longings are coming from God. The best evidence suggests to me He is the source of this growing desire to experience His love and power to a much greater degree.

If you agree, the practical question is; how are you going to pursue Him?




* Ignatius’ Method

It was in 1544 that Ignatius of Loyola developed the classic model for discerning God’s voice and leading in The Spiritual Exercises. His book lays out a practical manual for doing a four-week retreat featuring meditation on Gospel readings that engages the senses, reflection and listening prayer, and spiritual direction. It includes teaching about listening to God’s voice. I’d like to emphasize one part of his teaching that I’ve found especially helpful: becoming, as one Jesuit (a monk who follows Ignatius’ way) said, “passionately indifferent” to all things except loving and honoring the Lord Jesus Christ. Along these lines Ignatius says:

It is necessary to keep as my objective the end for which I am created, to praise God our Lord and save my soul.  Furthermore, I ought to find myself indifferent, that is, without any disordered affection, to such an extent that I am not more inclined or emotionally disposed toward taking the matter proposed rather than relinquishing it…

Instead, I should find myself in the middle, like the pointer of a balance, in order to be ready to follow that which I shall perceive to be more to the glory and praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

I should beg God our Lord to be pleased to move my will and to put into my mind what I ought to do in regard to the matter proposed, so that it will be more to his praise and glory…

Which choice helps me to love God better?  How would I advise another person I have never known?  If I were at the point of death what would I wish I had done?  On Judgment Day how will I wish I had decided?  (The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, p. 77-78).

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