“Getting caught up in the Spirit” is a term we don’t often hear about among modern-day Christians. It’s a term that makes little sense to most believers. In the Old Testament, there are many references to prophets, kings, and military leaders having the Spirit of God fall upon them to fulfill a specific task for the Lord. Some even fell into a trance with their eyes wide open (See Numbers 24:2-5). Most of us are acquainted with the many times throughout biblical history where the Spirit of God came upon certain men and women to prophesy the Word of the Lord. The most striking, however, were those being caught up in the Spirit and translated to another place and time (See Ezekiel 8:1-3; Acts 8:39-40; II Corinthians 12:1-5, Revelation 1:9-20). Throughout New Testament history many godly men and women have also been caught up in the Spirit through deep prayer and meditation. Sadly, to say, most Christians today spend far less than an hour of uninterrupted prayer, with almost no one practicing the discipline of meditation. Furthermore, almost all these prayers are one-way communication telling God what is needed. Unfortunately, they have not mastered the art of listening to God through many hours of deep meditation. Yet, we live in a day where almost everyone is claiming to speak for God creating a tremendous amount of confusion and even causing weaker Christians to stumble. So, my question is: “How can so many speak for God, when almost no one is listening?”
Although we live in a day when discernment is essential, we as God’s elect children also need to master the art of listening to God in our prayers. This is the gateway of being caught up in the Spirit where we lose track of all time or where time seems to stop. So, let’s start at the beginning with the precious words of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who said, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6). Unfortunately, this is a very difficult saying for the people of our day. You might protest and say, “my door is always shut, and locked!” Yes, your physical door is shut because most of humanity is shut-in these days, separating us further and further away from one another, almost to the point of isolation. (We will save that for a future article.) On the other hand, to shut our door means God wants our undivided attention. We must stop all interactions with other people while we pray. We must stop interactions with all of the devices that always pull us in one direction and then another. This would include cellphones, TV, radio, and the computer. All these devices can and should be silenced if we are serious about listening to God in prayer. Silencing all these devices for more than just a brief time will prove to be most difficult for most.
Now we must enter the proverbial closet for two reasons. First, we enter our prayer closet to be completely alone with God. We don’t need an audience of those wanting to congratulate us for our splendid spirituality. We are not performers rehearsing our prayers before others. To do so would pridefully direct our attention to self rather than to God. (For the record: my written daily prayers were directed only to God long before they were ever released to the public for mutual encouragement.) Secondly, we enter our proverbial prayer closet so that we will not be interrupted. This is also why it’s so imperative to silence all of our devices because we don’t want any interruptions while we are conducting business with our God. Dear children, we are only discussing the first steps. We have much more to discuss. Remember that God is waiting. We were created for such a relationship, and every relationship must have a two-way conversation. If you are doing all the talking, then it’s not much of a relationship. As a pastor and a marriage counselor for many years, I can tell you that’s always the biggest problem; people are talking but no one is listening. If we really want to get caught up in the Spirit so that we can hear the still small voice of God, then we will need to learn how to listen. So, if you are ready let’s go to the next step.
When we enter our prayer closet, we should always praise God first for His many wonderful accomplishments, then humbly ask Him to provide for our needs. Now we must stop and listen for the still small voice of God before concluding our prayers. So, let’s briefly discuss the art of listening, which can be used for listening to God and for listening to others. We must empty our minds of every other thought. The mind can think of multiple things at the same time. You simply cannot listen to God or others when your mind is occupied with other thoughts. Oftentimes, people are thinking about their next response rather than listening to others. This takes discipline. Are you listening? With God, it’s a bit different in that we intersperse our time of listening by quietly quoting Scripture (best from memory) and praising Him for all His wonderful works as the Spirit leads. Furthermore, when you humbly ask a question, wait patiently for His response. We will either hear God’s still small voice or the indwelling Spirit will put it miraculously into our minds. I say miraculously because you know immediately that this thought did not originate from you; simply put, it’s nothing you would have ever thought of bringing great conviction to your soul. This takes a measure of discernment to make sure the thought came from God and not from you. It’s very dangerous to tell others that you got something from God when you didn’t, so please be careful. If you are sure, then happily share it with others always being careful to give God all the glory.
As Christians, we should all be filled with the Spirit which opens the door to being caught up in the Spirit. So, let’s digress a bit and discuss briefly what it means to be filled with the Spirit. Every believer who surrenders his life to follow Jesus Christ as his master will receive the Spirit to help us put off the old life and to put on the new life in Christ. Step by step as you grow up in Christ you allow the Spirit into every area of your life. Once the Spirit gains total control of your entire life leading you and directing you along life’s narrow path then you can consider yourself as being filled with the Spirit. Admittedly there will be times when we become less than full of the Spirit if we grieve the Spirit by ignoring His lead (See Ephesians 4:30). I hope and pray that these times will become less and less because it is essential to be filled with the Spirit if we truly want to get caught up in the Spirit. I will tell you plainly that the Spirit’s job is to prepare you for getting caught up in the Spirit by leading you to desire the Spirits’ company more and more. His job is to make you into a new creation and a faithful servant of God. Our job is to be a good pupil every moment of every day.
Finally, let’s discuss the absolute wonder of being caught up in the Spirit. I call it an absolute wonder because it is beyond the physical limitations of this world. I have already mentioned that it feels as though time stops when we are caught up in the spiritual realm. It’s like experiencing the perfect moment in time where the surroundings of the physical world are no longer relevant or even thought of because every thought is cast upon that perfect moment where you feel the presence of God. This is where all your questions cease, as you bask in His unfathomable glory. This is where you are just happy to be in God’s presence where every fiber of your body comes alive! Yes, God’s beautiful words do come but, in His time, and not yours. God stands outside of time; therefore, time is irrelevant. God’s words rarely come when you expect them, nor are they the words that you expect. Remember, that God’s ways are much higher than our ways (See Isaiah 55:8). Our finite minds cannot comprehend the infinite mind of God. So, when they do come, as they have in this article, then we are gloriously excited to touch the mind of God. So, don’t ever give up trying to hear God’s beautiful words, the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17), and remember to always take time to listen.
In conclusion, why is it necessary to be caught up in the Spirit? Simply put, God desires a relationship with His new creations in Christ (See II Corinthians 5:17). God wants to give you direction and encouragement to come together as one. A large portion of the New Testament, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us direction on how to love one another through self-giving love and unlimited forgiveness (See Matthew 18:21-22). God does not want His beautiful creation destroyed through willful neglect and the ravages of sin. No, God wants us to care for the whole creation, which includes the planet, all its wildlife, and every person made in the image of God – all of humanity. In the beginning, God created a paradise and wants to restore it by leading all of humanity to repentance, death to self, and following the way of Christ (Read the Great Commission – Matthew 28:16-20). However, until the world repents, they will continue to reap the full consequences of their sins, which must be on the lips of every true believer. When we get caught up in the Spirit it will completely change our Worldview. We will find ourselves working even harder to care for the planet, all its amazing wildlife, and reaching out to every nationality in their distress. We eagerly share the good news of salvation with everyone and the wonders of our transformation in Christ. We soon discover that we are our brother’s keeper, as we are being “caught up in the Spirit” to have fellowship with our Creator.
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