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What does it mean to have a spiritual encounter?

For most people, a spiritual encounter means having a vision, perhaps coming face to face with a ghost, or experiencing the supernatural. The truth is that we all have spiritual encounters every day and at every moment of our lives. Some are more severe than others because of the strength and depth that they can signify. Below are some examples of spiritual encounters and why a spiritual encounter is relevant to us.

1. Spiritual encounters in the physical realm

a) Disclosure

When we communicate with each other, we use words and gestures that convey our message to others. However, below the surface is our intention behind these words and the spirit of what we want the result to be. We may wish it to be in favor of our needs or the needs of others, but the fact is that our spirits desire something of the outcome. In the same way, the person with whom we communicate also wants something from us or for himself. The expressions we display, whether it’s a frown or a smile, can define our behavior, yet God looks into our hearts to find out what spirit we carry within us at that moment. This type of spiritual encounter can be very subtle and go unnoticed if we were to have a passive discussion.

Example: A simple example is asking for directions. We start by being as polite as we can because we seek help. This is the spirit of humility. If the one we ask is unhelpful and rude, then we are dealing with a spirit or arrogance. We can react negatively and respond in kind. This has changed our spirit of humility to one of arrogance. In the end we have been tempted and we have failed. On the other hand, we can ignore them. This is the spirit of forgiveness.

In the Bible, a good example to use as a reference here is the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this he demonstrated a spirit of kindness.

b) Thoughts

Another type of spiritual encounter is when we deliberate about things. You could be preparing for an interview, recovering from a relationship, mending a relationship, or celebrating success. In these different scenarios our thoughts are transpired to our actions and we can recognize the type of spirit that is within us.

Example: Suppose we have received a positive response from a job interview. This would give us the spirit of joy. We start to imagine scenarios of what we will do with the money we earn. Our joy needs to be celebrated and that’s why we call friends. Maybe you even decide to thank God. This is a spirit of joy and gratitude for the mercy that God has shown us.

In the Bible, a good example to use as a reference is the bad thoughts that King Saul had of David. In this example, although Saul had once been anointed when he hated David for his courage, he was possessed by the spirit of evil and jealousy.

2. Spiritual encounters in the spiritual realm

a) Visions

These spiritual encounters are obvious because we exist in spirit and what we experience is spiritual. This is a gift from God to those whom He wants to reach in this way. Some examples of this in the bible is the experience of the prophets, Ezekiel, Isaiah and John in the book of Revelation.

b) Dreams

This too is spiritual, almost similar to a vision and once again the experience is shared in the spiritual realm. Examples of this in the bible are the dreams experienced by Daniel and Joseph and many more.

3. Importance of spiritual encounters

Why it is important to understand what a spiritual encounter means is to teach us at all times where our spirit is and how we can remain in faith to the word of God. In the physical realm we need to be in control of what we do and what we say and the intention behind these actions. Knowing what a spiritual encounter is guides us through this. In the spiritual realm we learn that things are now beyond our control and instead of living in fear we allow God to take control of the situation.

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