more-than-a-piece asked: I’ve seen people about my age talking about these experiences they have where they could not control their laughter “from the Spirit” and they were blessed by something and felt waves of the Spirit radiating off of them as they continue in this laughter. I haven’t really heard of this. What’s your view of this?
Unka Glen answered: This so called “holy laughter” movement has been around awhile, and I can give you a way of understanding not just this type of situation, but any kind of “sign or wonder” you might encounter.
Your Handy-Dandy Guide to Signs and Wonders!
1) God is God, and He can do what He wants. God is bound to do all kinds of wild things with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. He is not bound or limited in any way, and we should have no doubt that God does all kinds of out-of-the-ordinary things with people every day. BUT… if you want ME to believe in it, that’s another thing.
2) Is it Biblical? If you want me to believe in what’s happening to you, I’m going to look at scripture carefully for some kind of example of it. In the case of holy laughter, some would point to Acts 2:13, where the Holy Spirit came upon the early church, and others observing this thought they were “drunk on wine”. To go from there to “holy laughter” is a bit of a stretch. Is it stretching things too far? Eh. I think so, but I suppose it could be in the ballpark.
3) When, Where, and How. I’ve certainly laughed in prayer, often when I hear something from the Lord that gives me a sense of relief, where that wisdom comes in and breaks down my own foolishness. And I’ve laughed in church when I’ve experienced that same kind of breakthrough in a good sermon, and I think that this kind of laughter is fantastic, and if you dig it, I think that this breakthrough moment is a holy moment, in it’s way.
But let me say, as someone who has presided over more worship services than any pastor I know, if you want to disrupt a service, by giggling loud enough so that we all take our focus off of the Lord, and put it all on you, then you and I are going to immediately have a very serious conversation, and it’s really not going to go your way.
4) Signs and wonders do not point to a special status. If you read Numbers 22, you’ll hear the story of Balaam and his donkey. In that story, you’ll discover that the Lord chose to speak through a donkey (not a super-holy donkey either, as far as we know), and it wasn’t Balaam’s great status or faith that brought this about either. In fact, the Lord was quite angry with Balaam.
It’s nice if you have a mystical experience, but God doesn’t reserve His signs and wonders for the super-spiritual. Indeed, if one wants to “take it the the extreme”, remember that Paul told us to eagerly pursue gifts that “edify the church” (1 Cor. 14:4). You giggling away is nice for you, but it doesn’t do squat for the rest of us, so don’t assume that we’ll see you as the holiest one in the room all of a sudden.
5) Discern and pray. Here’s the real bottom line: does God say it’s okay to be skeptical about these things? Paul himself was put to the test in a place called Berea, and unlike the people in Thessalonica, the Bereans took everything that Paul said and examined the Old Testament to see if it fit. So what does the book of Acts say about the Bereans?
“The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11). They loved hearing it, they loved checking the Old Testament on it, and they loved finding out that it was all true. Putting things to the test made them more solid in their belief, and they were praised for it.
As for the Thessalonians, Paul ends his first letter to those same Thessalonians with this instruction: “Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thes. 5:20-22). Paul is telling them to put everything to the test, even him. Discerning true from false is not only okay, it’s good, and using prayer to test the signs and wonders you see, is something the Bible directly instructs you to do.
Discerning dem signs =)
I actually find this more in HK, maybe I just go to conservative churches in Australia xD