That the manifestations of the Holy Spirit displayed through human flesh are called “gifts” has caused some confusion. They are not gifts in the sense of being given to any individual to possess and thereafter use as he or she sees fit. If genuine, the gifts of the Spirit are under the direction and control of God and are provided by His grace exclusively for His purposes and to His glory.
No one can heal, do a miracle, raise the dead, or prophesy anytime he so desires. Not even Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, or any of the other prophets could do so. When Jeremiah desired to prophesy to the people he had to wait upon God: “And it came to pass after ten days that the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah” (Jeremiah:42:7). Clearly, miracles come only by the empowerment and direction of God, and not by human initiative.
Nor can the gifts of the Spirit be taught for a fee and learned in a seminar, as the late John Wimber led people to believe. Peter declared: “For…prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter:1:21). No one can initiate, mandate, or activate the moving of the Holy Spirit!
Whatever the “gift of the Spirit” may be, it is given in specific instances to effect God’s purpose at that time; it does not become a power possessed by an individual which he can wield at his discretion. If someone lays hands upon a sick person and prays, and the person is instantly healed, that is a manifestation of the “gifts of healing” according to God’s will. The person who prayed does not now possess the gifts of healing like some magic wand which he can wave at will. To imagine that to be the case is one of the basic errors in the charismatic movement.
It is a great delusion for anyone to imagine that he possesses any gift of the Spirit in the sense that he can exercise it whenever he so desires. And that includes the gift of tongues—a gift which multitudes imagine they “possess” and can “practice” when they please and, thereby, have been led astray.
Beware of any alleged “gift” that is initiated or possessed by the human spirit! It is a grievous error to promise a “miracle service” at a particular time and location and to purport to do “miracles,” or to offer seminars that teach how to do “signs and wonders.” Whatever purports to be the manifestation of a “gift of the Spirit” and is not initiated by Him, but is under man’s control, is not of God but from the occult.