One of the strange things that happen to you is to discover how people are affected when you walk into a room or a situation. It’s when you hear in the background, “there he is”. At first, you wonder what’s wrong with them. Then you begin to understand there is something happening at that moment.
In law enforcement, one of their strongest advantages is to strategically place their officers or police cars. They may not do anything except “be there”. In some cases, the car might even be empty. But the desired effect is there, hundreds of speeding cars slow down; until they get out of sight of the Presence of Power.
The popular word for this is Charisma – an unexplainable, indefinable characteristic that you just have. It comes in various quantities. Some have tons of it, others just a few pounds (for lack of being able to better quantify). It, nonetheless, exists and evangelists are most often prone to have ‘it’. In my mind, it’s one of those neutral things. It can be used for either good or evil.
I’ve Watched for 60 years the Tactics of Evangelists Developing the Sensation
Being 70 has its advantages;I’ve seen so many of the ‘great’ evangelists of my time. William Branham, Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, Jimmy Swaggart, Billy Graham, Jim Bakker and on and on. I’ve also seen the impact they make in their arrival on stage. Their presence electrifies the crowd. From Roberts jumping through a back curtain, to Kuhlman’s sweeping across the stage in a Hollywood-style dress and gown designed to give the impression of an angel etc., the common vernacular is ‘working the crowd’. They had learned the Power of Presence!
Shift from the Presence of Christ to the Power of your Presence
The inherent danger in all of this is when, looked at from my brief (maybe cynical) description above, and is that in spite of our declared desire to exalt Christ, we are attracting people to ourselves. This becomes an occupational (Evangelist) hazard.
The Development of the ‘cult of personality’
As we look at the Charismatic/ Pentecostal/ Evangelical Christian world of Ministers, Evangelists, Ministries, and Churches, we see the evolution of good men and women in ministry, becoming, dare I say it, idols? Here I am, look how big I have become! I am very, very special! Bow and Worship! Oh no, we don’t say it – just subtly encourage it!
Taking and receiving the ‘Glory’, while even faking a want to ascribe it to Him
In most of my writings to you, I assume you know the Scriptures. I shouldn’t. But the one about God not sharing His Glory with mortal man is very important here. It is one of the Foundational Principles of the word of God. It is not to be violated. We must not even mistakenly fail here. It will be at our ultimate peril.
How do we use the God given characteristic of Charisma, without destroying ourselves?
Let me suggest a few ways:
Acknowledge you have it
When something comes from God, we must acknowledge its source and give thanks. Charisma is just that. Knowing I have it and using it for His Glory, will and can bring honour to Him. Rejoice in the gifting and blessings of God on your life. But beware!
Be ever vigilant! Be aware of its dangers
– It causes people to center their attention on you. You don’t even have to “work it” like the person with the big, perpetual smile, kissing babies. Christians are looking for role models, men and women of God to show them Christ in a real living, walking, breathing body. At our best as “imitators of Christ” as Paul put it, we fall far short.
– It causes you to think you are something when you are not. The age old sin of pride. Believing your own promotions and advertisements. Not recognizing when the spot light fades, the 400- mega watt power system is turned off, the crowds go home; you are just you; and without the Holy Spirit you are empty and dull
– People’s adulation is addictive. You can hardly wait to be back on the platform. I can’t live without being up there speaking. They need me. I love it when they touch me and virtue flows out of me. Wow, did you see them swoon?
– It can be toxic. Poisonous. Deadly. To the evangelist, it can be the beginning of the end. You may not even be aware of your dying and demise. It is so subtle like taking small amounts of cyanide.
Practice the Presence of Christ.
Here’s the solution (constantly) for a life time, practice the presence of Christ. In moments of highs and lows, He stole away (usually alone), sometimes with His favorite disciples, into a quiet place of reflection, meditation, prayer and seeking God. It’s like entering the Holy of Holies once in awhile.
You can’t stand, you must bow down, kneel, prostrate yourself in the face of your Creator; the one who called you, out of darkness into marvelous light, to be a Servant, a Reconciler, a preacher of righteousness, to a lost, hopeless, dying generation.
Know the Power of Your Presence, but let it be transferred into the Power of His Presence!
Note: Read a message for the hour “5 Reminders to Finish Well“
Have you come across these instances in real life? Share your thoughts below.