Posted by: whereintheworldismike | December 26, 2014

The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Formation, Pt 6

I’m going to preface this installment of my article with this statement: “If I am not like Jesus yet, then I am still in need of transformation.”

The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Formation, Pt 6

Henry Blackaby, a Southern Baptist minister, states that “when Christians begin to experience God and join him in his work, outside observers no longer see what a group of dedicated people can do but they see what only Almighty God can do.”[1] As long as a servant of the Most High God has a solid base of scripture knowledge for an interpretive grid, spiritual experience is nothing to fear, but rather something to welcome and be alert to, when God graciously intervenes. This is an important principle in spiritual formation.

I come from a genetic line of at least two generations of alcoholics. By God’s serendipitous grace at just the right time at several points in my life, I have encountered two different streams of interactive prayer in addition to RPM.

Theophostic prayer has helped not only me, but also missionaries working in several different countries. In addition many of the people attending the training for this type of prayer were licensed counselors or pastors in the United States. It is particularly helpful for people who have been deeply traumatized at some point in their life. Another inner healing-type of prayer is Restoring the Foundations developed by Chester and Betsy Kylstra.[2] This prayer approach has also gone viral around the world. This systematic approach is especially helpful for breaking generational curses (e.g. occult involvement in previous generations, etc.).[3]

Though they “fly under the radar” in North America, demons are real and still involved in human affairs. We have had to deal with them directly in Northeast Japan since the March 11, 2011 triple disaster. Earlier I worked with a pastor in Okinawa and saw direct encounters with demons more than once.

The Kylstras in Biblical Healing and Deliverance show that Jesus followers have the potential to have to deal with four factors in their spiritual formation:

  • Generational curses (Ex 20:5): The sins of our parents still affecting us and our offspring up to the third and fourth generations.

I had a chance to talk with a local church planter recently. As the trust between us grew, he shared that he had been born out of wedlock, some of his kids had been born out of wedlock, and now his oldest daughter had just given birth to her first child—out of wedlock. This is an example of the recurring pattern of heartbreak that often comes from generational curses still in partial effect. This is an example of the stain of sin that can remain operational even in those who have been freed from the penalty of sin by faith in Christ.

  • Ungodly beliefs (John 8:31-36): This is the mixture of truth and lies every believer wrestles with internally as we “work out (our) salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12 ESV adapted).

For example, many of us who sincerely follow Christ experience too much stress about finances in spite of God’s promise to his followers to provide for our needs (Matt 6:33). We hold erroneous beliefs in our heart that compete with the Truth of God’s Word that sometimes goes no further than our head.

  • Wounds of the heart that lead to unforgiveness (Matt. 18:32-35 NKJV): Who has never been betrayed or deeply wounded by someone? Have you ever wondered how you can forgive someone who hurt you grievously? It can be so difficult that only a supernatural touch—or recurring touches—from the Great Physician can make it possible. However, scripture makes it clear that we have no right to hold onto bitterness. In addition such bitterness has the potential to pollute a body of believers (Eph. 4:31-32; Heb. 12:15). How can churches help members lay to rest grievous wounds of the heart that can fester into a root of bitterness that can “defile many?”
  • Demonic oppression (Kreider, 1999, Greer): This is what awaits anyone who cannot successfully come to forgive from the heart, along with those who hold onto unrighteous vows or illicit soul ties.[4] The latter create trouble for us when we engage in sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage, or habitually view pornography.

We can either cooperate with Christ in our deliverance (John 14 and 15) and give him increasing influence in our life, or we can self-destructively cooperate with the enemy of our souls—and give the evil one increasing control in our lives as we bend ourselves to his will (Matt. 16:19; 18:18; 2 Cor. 10:3-5).

Any plan of cooperation with the Holy Spirit in spiritual formation that does not take into account and make provision for the previous four “environmental factors” is insufficient from the start and will encounter significant roadblocks and other obstacles to spiritual formation that goes deep.

[1] Blackaby, Henry, Richard Blackaby, and Claude King. Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God. Pp. 163, 218. (2008)

[2] http://www.restoringyourlife.org/

[3] Kylstra, Chester and Betsy. Restoring the Foundations: An Integrated Approach to Healing Prayer. (2007)

[4] Chester & Betsy Kylstra. Biblical Healing and Deliverance. p.12.


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