Batteries Charging Batteries

Last November my family and I went to Disney World. It was one of those trips that you save and plan for so that the memories can last a lifetime. Part of the planning was to bring external battery packs that could recharge our phones in the middle of the day. We knew that we would be taking so many pictures that our phones would need recharging by the middle of the afternoon. We were right.

Since there weren’t really places to stop and charge our phones (and there really wasn’t time to waste) we would just plug our phones into the battery packs as we walked through the parks. It was so nice to have a fully charged phone without having to stop. At the end of each day we would have to remember not only to charge our phones but also the battery packs. The battery packs weren’t a source of power; they were simply a storage place and conduit of power that was generated somewhere else.

It is an interesting idea, though, when you really think about it–using one battery to charge another. The Lord brought this concept to mind this morning in the shower when I was reflecting on the spiritual reality of impartation.

What is impartation?

In basic terms, impartation is any time something is imparted from one person to another. In theological/spiritual terms, it is one Christian being a conduit of God’s power and anointing in order to transfer it to another believer. Impartation is a transference of the anointing of the Holy Spirit from one believer to another (and sometimes the transference of particular gifts of the Spirit). Impartation is one battery pack charging another. We see impartation in the Bible first with Moses and the elders.

The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.”

So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.

Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25

We see it again between Moses and Joshua with the laying on of hands/prayer.

Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.

Deuteronomy 34:9

We see it in the New Testament between Paul and the believers in Ephesus.

they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and when Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. 

Acts 19:5-6

And we see it again between Paul and Timothy.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

1 Timothy 4:14 & 2 Timothy 1:6

When impartation is released from one believer to another–when there is a transference of the power, anointing, and/or gifting of the Holy Spirit–amazing things can happen in the life of the person receiving the impartation. I have been on the receiving end of impartation and my life was radically transformed by the experience. I was flooded with the power and presence of the Spirit in a way that I had never experienced before. I was given new gifts of the Spirit, some in seedling form and some more fully formed.

I believe impartation is available for everyone. Our role in receiving it is to make sure the soil of our heart and our lives are ready to receive all that God has for us. We prepare the soil; God plants the seed. But that seed often comes through a conduit, a person commissioned to spread the seed that belongs to the Farmer. In other words, one battery pack is used to recharge another battery, but everyone knows that the Source of the power is not the battery pack. The battery pack is just a conduit of electricity that they themselves have first received.

This is what Jesus was telling His disciples when He sent them out to do ministry and miracles. He reminded them, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Freely you have been charged up and empowered by the Holy Spirit, now freely release that power, that anointing, and those gifts to others.

If you are interested in learning more about impartation, I recommend the book There Is More by Dr. Randy Clark.

Into Flame

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 

2 Timothy 1:6

This one sentence from Paul to Timothy is packed with so much truth.

Timothy has a gift, a charisma, of God. We know from 1 Corinthians 12:11 that it is the Holy Spirit who distributes the gifts to His people, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines”(1 Cor 12:11).

Yet, while we know the gift came from the Spirit of God, we learn here that it came through Paul. Apparently, Paul laid his hands on Timothy and prayed for the Spirit to release gifting to Timothy. And what is even more striking is that the Holy Spirit did it. This ability to release an increase of the power of the Spirit or an increase of the gifts of the Spirit is called impartation. Impartation started in the Old Testament with Moses and Joshua:

Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.

Deuteronomy 34:9

We also see impartation between Moses and the elders who were to help Moses lead in the desert. God told Moses He would take some of the power of the Spirit that was on Moses and give it to the elders:

I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

Numbers 11:17

Yet, even with Paul imparting gifts to Timothy through the laying on of hands, Timothy still had a responsibility. Timothy was required to “fan into flame” the gift of God. In the Greek, that phrase is one compound word. The Greek word combines the prefix that means “again” and the words meaning “living thing” and “fire.” Literally, this compound Greek word means “to make the fire alive again.”

Fire is often a prophetic symbol of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Though Timothy was given a gift, he couldn’t remain complacent. He had to fan it into flame. He had to use his gift, grow in his gift, and tend to it as a priest would tend to the fire on the altar of the Temple.

The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

Leviticus 6:12-13

Our lives are the living sacrifices on the altar and we must keep the fire burning. We must fan into flame the gifts of the Spirit in our lives so that our gifts are a continual offering to the Lord.

Fruits and Gifts of the Kingdom

Every fruit of the Kingdom of God can either be cultivated as a fruit or it can be imparted, given as a gift. When it is cultivated, it lasts. When it is imparted, it is experienced right in the moment but doesn’t always last. Let me explain.

Paul writes to the Ephesians:

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 

Ephesians 5:8-11

So the “fruit of light” is “goodness, righteousness and truth.” We know from Galatians 5:22-23 that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” And we know from Romans 14:17 that, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” In other words, things of the Kingdom of God (like peace, joy, truth, goodness and righteousness) are things that grow in us by the Spirit as they are cultivated. They increase gradually over time as we walk in the Spirit and in obedience.

Yet, there is another side to each of these fruits. Take “righteousness” for example. We know that not only is it a fruit that grows in us but that it was also a gift given to us. Theologians say that the righteousness of Christ was “imputed” to us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” There was an exchange on the cross. We received the righteousness of Christ as a gift and He became our sin. Romans 5:17 calls what Jesus did for us by forgiving us and making us holy “the gift of righteousness.”

So righteousness first came to us, imparted to us, as a gift when we received salvation. Now, because of the Holy Spirit, righteousness grows in us as a fruit. And I believe all the fruits of the Kingdom can do this. They can both grow in us as a fruit and be imparted to us as a gift.

Take “peace,” for example. Peace is listed as a fruit of the Spirit, a fruit of the Kingdom. Yet we also see Jesus release it, impart it, as a gift. In John 14:27, Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” Then again when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room after the resurrection, He imparts His peace to them (John 20:19-21).

I have firsthand experience being in situations where I was praying with someone, and either I or the person I was praying with released, through the Holy Spirit, something to the person we were praying for. I’ve seen peace released to a person and watched them physically feel peace fill their body. I’ve seen joy released to a person who was depressed and watched them erupt in laughter for the next 10 minutes, only to tell us later that they haven’t laughed like that in years. I’ve seen love released to a person and watched them break down in tears as they got overwhelmed with the love of the Father.

I can’t say that I know how it all works; but I’ve seen it enough to believe that, somehow, each fruit can grow in us as we cultivate it or can be imparted to us as a gift. As is the case of any gift, it doesn’t seem to last as long as a cultivated fruit tree that continues to produce good fruit year after year. Or maybe a better way of saying it is that when these fruits come as imparted gifts, they come as seeds that must be cultivated if we want them to stay long-term.

Another way of saying it is that when these fruits come as imparted gifts, they give us just a taste of the Kingdom, revealing who we really are and what we really have in Christ–what’s available to us if we’d be willing to cultivate it.