What do people mean when they refer to “the moving of the Spirit?” The so-called “moving” often occurs during singing, altar activity, or demonstrative preaching. It manifests as powerfully stimulated emotions. People weep, dance, shout, wave their hands excitedly, run, faint, and in Pentecostal or Charismatic meetings glossolalia may occur. It is not common anymore to say the “Spirit moved” when people become convicted and pray for a long period in an altar
In Seeker-sensitive and similar church meetings the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) only “moves” when the “worship band” is playing. As people become excited during fast music the Holy Spirit is thought to be moving. It is very similar to what one might witness at a secular music concert or some other emotionally provocative event. The Holy Spirit is also deemed to be moving during slow music as people sway trancelike with raised hands. In most cases, the Holy Spirit is believed to have arrived and departed with the ebb and surge of people’s emotions.
Thus, the Holy Spirit appears to manifest at the beck and call and of people’s emotional systems. Savvy pastors, evangelists, and “worship leaders” skilled in manipulating people’s emotions are thought to have a special anointing that brings on a “move of the Spirit.” Certain “worship bands” are regarded likewise. As such they are in high demand.
But what is truly happening has nothing to do with the moving of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, in some church meetings, primarily before the present great apostasy in Christianity, the Holy Spirit worked on people’s spirits with conviction, healing, deliverance, and other miraculous works. However, He did not decide to do those things because people became excited and thereby stirred Him to “move.”
We should understand what compels the Holy Spirit to work on someone’s spirit. God’s word declares that the Holy Spirit responds to true worship, which is worship in sincerity and truth. He also is active in people who pray and wholeheartedly seek to be sensitive to Him.
What the Holy Spirit does not do is respond because He is impressed by a band’s talent or He is susceptible to skillful emotional manipulation by a “worship leader.” The Holy Spirit is sovereign and is not subject to our manipulation.
Mistaking emotional manifestations as the “moving of the Holy Spirit” provides an opportunity for Satan to by sensual and devilish ways. Leaders who believe emotional manipulation provokes the Holy Spirit to respond have resorted to focusing on what generates emotion. Many if not most of them have no clue as to the person, nature, or working of the Holy Spirit. They make crass, and in my opinion, near blasphemous, statements such as, “God showed up and showed out.” They do not seem to realize how insulting that is to the image of God and the Holy Spirit. That ignorance may spare them the charge of blasphemy, but it indicts them as shallow and frivolous. It is more likely that people showed up and showed out.
God’s word does not support the heresy that emotion stimulates the Holy Spirit to “move.” What actually occurs when the Holy Spirit works in people’s lives is that some people become excited to varying degrees. But no matter how talented the band, rowdy the worship, demonstrative the preaching, et cetera, none of that compels Him to work. Anything worthwhile and lasting occurs because of the Holy Spirit and not because we exercise manipulative power over Him.
These facts may help to understand:
1. Nothing in this world amazes the Holy Spirit.
2. He responds to sincere and true worship by spiritually hungry and thirsty souls.
3. He does not occupy and leave a building. Genuine Believers have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. When they assemble, He is there.
4. He does not have to be coerced into “showing up” and He certainly does not “show out.”
The Holy Spirit major purpose is to draw people to God. He does not work signs and wonders so that one person appears more spiritual than everyone else. While it may be the case that someone has prayed, fasted, and lives in a deeper relationship with God, that is not a special gift or anointing. A Believer who more deeply seeks to worship God in sincerity and truth is more responsive to the Holy Spirit. His or her faith avails much, but you will never witness such a person hawking their abilities for wealth fame.
What is actually occurring in most church meetings today is emotionalism, which is fleeting and does not provide a lasting result. Anointed preaching, teaching, and perhaps singing—regardless of the presence or absence of great emotion—are used by the Holy Spirit to make people sensitive to Him. There is no viable substitute for the anointing—not singing a particular song, singing it repeatedly, singing fast, or slow and trancelike, or the enticing words of man’s wisdom. The anointing is by His prerogative and we will never have control of it.
In conclusion, the Holy Spirit works in His own climate—not one that we create to “feel” spiritual or to motivate Him to respond. He is not a substance or a servant to mankind, but He is God. Anyone that treats Him less should be avoided.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24