This month, January 2008, marks the fourteenth year since the Holy Spirit broke out in Toronto pouring out a liberal dose of Himself in what has become known as the Toronto Blessing. I’m looking back in awe on fourteen years of life-changing blessings that have altered my destiny and that of everyone in my family and in my church. As we step into another new year of living in this dimension of the Spirit, it is time to take our spiritual pulse to see if we have kept the deposit of God’s presence that He entrusted to millions of us during the last decade.
Answer the following questions with a TRUE or FALSE.
1. Soaking in God’s presence is now a regular part of my Christian life.
2. I am more eager to share my faith than I was before the Blessing.
3. I love Jesus today more than ever.
4. God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ is uppermost in my thinking.
5. The congregation of believers with whom I fellowship is in awe of God’s presence today more than it was before the Blessing came.
6. I am hungry to read the Bible more than ever.
7. I continue to enjoy fellowship with the new friends I met when we experienced the Toronto Blessing together.
8. I eagerly expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit when I pray, “More, Lord!” or “Come, Holy Spirit.”
9. I regularly see the Holy Spirit working in my life to conform me to the image of Christ and to bless others.
10. The people closest to me know that I am “in love” with Jesus and that I love them sacrificially.
If you answered “true” to these questions, you are running well; but if your honest answer was “false” to any of these, it is time to ask yourself if you have grown cold and have left your “first love.”
Notice that I did not ask you whether or not you still experience any outward “manifestations.” In fact, it is far too easy for these to become habitual responses that occur when we feel the emotional effects of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives rather than true signs of spiritual awakening.
I didn’t ask you if you were seeing more visions, dreaming more dreams or having angelic visitations. Nor did I ask you if you were seeing “signs and wonders.” In fact, these can actually distract you from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ rather than draw you closer to Him.
Let them happen, but whether they are there or not, know that your love for God and loving your neighbor as yourself were the “look” God was going for when He started this move in 1994. What God intended to happen to you is what He always intends in a move of the Holy Spirit: transforming you into the image of Jesus, the greatest sign and wonder. If you find, after taking this simple test, that your passion for Jesus is on the wane, it is time to take action before you go “code blue” and “flat line” altogether. I don’t ever want to return to those terrible days when I could not feel the presence of God.
If you are in spiritual trouble, it is time to ask the Lord to forgive you for drifting away from Him, for putting the “current” in between you and His love. Then lie down on the floor, pray, “Come, Holy Spirit,” and surrender your will to Him. Go back to Jesus, your first love.
Originally Published January/February 2008 Editor Melinda Fish