This series of thoughts will take several blogs to unpack. So I encourage one to be patient as this make take a while. There is a song of the same name out there by Katy Perry. The song glorifies the aspect of how they got sooo drunk that there behavior was detrimental to the ability to make sound judgment. But it was sooo much fun she cant wait to do it again. Many a Charismatic/Pentecostal has sung that tune, but only changed the words. This practice is known as getting “drunk in the Spirit.”
Skillet’s lead singer, John L. Cooper in 2019 said: “We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.”
Christianity Today in July 1999 also wrote: “evangelicals have been is what we have sung”
So consider the beautifully crafted chorus helped to be made famous by Jesus Culture:
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
There is an unspoken theology that intimacy with God is the highest goal of Christianity, and the highest end of intimacy is to be overwhelmed by God. Yet God already as our Creator has the most in depth knowledge of who we are. We are the ones who look through the glass dimly. But does scripture teach we get to know God by being overcome by him?
Being overcome is considered by the Holy Spirit as a negative event in scripture:
- Romans 12:21 NASB – 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- 1 John 2:13 NASB – 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.
- 1 John 4:4 NASB – 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Being overwhelmed is considered by the Holy Spirit to be a negative event:
- Psalm 55:5 NASB – 5 Fear and trembling come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me.
- Psalm 142:3 NASB – 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me.
- Psalm 143:4 NASB – 4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart is appalled within me.
- 2 Corinthians 2:7 NASB – 7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort [him,] otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
Everything I read in scripture tends to point out that God wants to walk with us, not overcome us:
Matthew 1:23 NASB – 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”
Isaiah 1:18 NASB – 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
James 4:7 NASB – 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
1 Peter 2:13 NASB – 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
Even consider the Garden of Eden, even though Adam and Eve had not sinned and their relationship with God had not been tainted God would come down and walk in the Garden with them:
- Genesis 3:8 NASB – 8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Even Moses had a face to face relationship with God:
- Exodus 33:11 NASB – 11 Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.
At no point ever does scripture ever portray Jesus as laying his hands on disciples and having them fall to the ground as a practice to be emulated in order to know God. Instead he said I know you are my friends when:
John 15:14 NASB – 14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you.
Jesus goes on to say:
- John 15:15-17 NASB – 15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 “This I command you, that you love one another.
Loving one another is the highest form of knowing God. Jesus clearly lays out choosing to be obedient to love one another as the highest reflection of loving him; not laying prostrated, half passed out on the floor, shaking and trembling. It is through obedience we are transformed. Yes in the Old Testament when we lacked the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that was how man reacted to the presence of God, but in the New Testament we have been bestowed with the Holy Spirit dwelling within in us, and the highest compliment is to obey the command to love one another.
I will openly admit at one time I defended the practiced, but no longer. I would rather be called a friend of God by loving one another than by falling on the floor and being mistaken for being drunk. And that I will deal with in my next post on the subject.
So as always, love much my friends . . .