Suddenly, my spiritual eyes were opened. In a vision, I saw a group of angels moving to the front and taking position in a line across the front of the church.
Shortly after this, I stood up to preach. My message that night was on ‘Kingdom Investment.’ As I concluded with an impassioned call to ‘live a life that counts for eternity’ an unusual thing happened. While I was still speaking, and with no altar call, a large number of youth and young adults spontaneously rushed to the front to commit their lives to God for His service.
They were standing—in a line—in the very area I had seen the angels take their place.
8 Things I Have Learned About Supernatural Experiences
We live in a time when there is an increasing interest in the supernatural and angelic encounters, both inside and outside of the church.
Today I am considering two questions:
- ‘How can we know for sure that our supernatural experiences are of God?’
- ‘Should we share our experiences with others? And if so, what is the best way to communicate what God is doing?’
During more than 35 years as a Christian with prophetic gifts, I have experienced a number of unusual spiritual occurrences. Some of them were of God—and some weren’t.
Here are some of the lessons that I have learned along the way:
1. The Bible is our Guide for the Supernatural
If we are going to live empowered Christian lives, then we can expect supernatural events and signs, including angelic visitation.
For example, in the New Testament we read of visions (Acts 10:9-16); supernatural travel (Acts 8:39-40, 2 Cor 12:2-4); angels appearing for the purpose of guidance (Acts 11:13), strengthening (Luke 22:43, Acts 27:23-24), protection (Matt 2:13) and deliverance (Acts 5:19).
I am learning to stay open to the many means that God uses to communicate with His children—and to use us. I am also realising that my discomfort with my own or another person’s supernatural experience does not mean that it is not of God.
The Bible is our primary guide in understanding and navigating supernatural encounters. (2 Tim 3:16)
2. Keep the Focus on God, not Angels or Experiences
Our focus should always be on God, worshipping Him and fulfilling His purposes. I have learned to be wary of anything that distracts me from this. (Luke 4:8, Rev 19:10)
If Satan can’t hold us back, he will try and push us too far, into extremes. (Col 2:18)
For example, whilst communication from angels is scriptural, seeking contact with them and initiating conversation with them is not. 
3. It is Vital to be in a Church Community
In the New Testament, spiritual gifts are to be expressed and nurtured in community. (1 Cor 12-14)
Isolation is not only lonely and unbiblical – it is also a dangerous place to be.
I have also learned that it is possible to be isolated even in the midst of church life. It takes choice, humility and perseverance to be open about angelic encounters and supernatural experiences, and to submit our spiritual gifts to leadership.
4. Be Accountable in Your Gifts and Supernatural Encounters
I learned the hard way that leadership is a vital means of staying on track in my spiritual gifts and supernatural experiences. (Heb 13:17) It is also necessary to staying in a place of humility. (1 Peter 5:5)
As well as encouraging us in what God is doing, a mentor or leader can also help us weigh up and test both the encounter and any revelation we receive through it. (1 Cor 14:29)
I have also learned that guidelines or protocols in church life are not there to control people, but are there for the protection of everyone—and to honour them and my leaders.
5. All Prophetic Insights are Subject to being Weighed up.
Just because revelation is given in a powerful experience or angelic encounter, does not mean that it is above being weighed up. (1 Thess 5:21, Gal 1:8)
We must beware of blindly putting our trust in an experience. Remember ‘Satan masquerades as an angel of light’ (2 Cor 11:14) and can counterfeit the things of God. 
In this regard, I have also learned not to solely rely on my gift of discernment—again, this is a spiritual gift designed by God to be lived out in community and under leadership.
6. Use Wisdom When Sharing with Others:
a. Focus on the Fruit
I have learned when sharing about a prophetic experience, to focus on the fruit, not just share about the experience itself. (John 15:8, Luke 6:43-44) What was the outcome that gave glory to God? Was it a change in my life? An answer to prayer? Myself or another brought closer to Jesus? Someone healed?
If we have not seen fruit (an outcome that gives glory to God), perhaps it is not the right time to share.
Remember, a genuine supernatural experience is a signpost, pointing the way to God—the experience itself is not the destination.
b. Take care how you share about your experiences with others.
I have learned to be sensitive to how others will perceive and respond to my supernatural experiences, and to use wisdom accordingly.
There are critics—people who are seeking ways to discredit the things of God. We do not want to give them fuel. On the other hand, there are going to be sensationalists. These people are drawn to the emotional excitement of supernatural things and will make them a focus. (Col 2:18)
It is human to be drawn to the ‘wow’ factor. But in the New Testament, Divine supernatural interventions did not produce ‘WOW’ but ‘AWE.’ (Matt 9:8, Acts 2:43)
This is all the more reason to exercise wisdom in communicating our experiences.
c. There will be times to hold back from public sharing of an experience
Mary kept the supernatural events surrounding Jesus’ birth in her heart and treasured them. (Luke 2:19)
I have discovered that there are times when, after communicating with my leadership about something I have experienced—to simply keep it to myself. (2 Cor 12:1-4)
7. Revelation Received in a Supernatural Experience is not Superior to Other Types of Revelation
The revelation (insight from God) that one believer receives through the gentle nudge of the Spirit is just as powerful as that received through a vision or angelic encounter. (John 16:3)
Both are of God.
Both are subject to being weighed up.
I have learned that supernatural encounters can make me vulnerable to pride. (2 Cor 12:7) But humility comes through submitting to godly leadership, remaining transparent and staying in community.
8. Be Naturally Supernatural
Something is wrong if people feel uncomfortable around us or perceive us as ‘spooky.’ I have learned that the anointing of God is not dependent upon a physical manifestation or formularised prayer—but on intimacy with God.
God has called us to live out our Christian faith—including our spiritual gifts and ministries—in a natural way.
This is the lifestyle that Jesus expressed, able to speak with and relate to common people—and ordinary people felt comfortable around Him. (Mark 2:15b)
 From a theological perspective, Wayne Grudem says, ‘Though angels did appear to people at various times in scripture, the people apparently never sought those appearances. Our role is rather to talk to the Lord, who is himself the commander of all angelic forces.’ Grudem W. Systematic Theology 1994 IVP:Nottingham p407
 We do not need to fear. We can trust our Father to give us good gifts (spiritual experiences) when we are seeking Him (Matt 7:9-11), however we must also use His wisdom in testing the purpose of a spiritual encounter and whether it is in fact from Him.
 People who are in deception do not know that they are in deception. This is why accountability within community is so important.
 An example of this is when Joseph enthusiastically but unwisely shared his prophetic dreams with his brothers, who then persecuted him for it. (Gen 37:5)
I would like to thank Steve McCracken and Malcolm Calder for contributions to this article.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching