Friday, October 28, 2005

Take Control

Ok, so I've been thinking a lot latey about letting the Holy Spirit take control of me.

Wha? What is he talking about? Is he a crazy, holy-rolling, charismatic?

Well, no I'm not. Let me explain. If you flip over to 1 Corinthians 14 we'll start there.

In verse 14 Paul says, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful."

Um, ok . . . ?

The point is that Paul is not consciously in control of his tounge speaking. It's a spirit (or the Spirit) thing. The NIV has chosen to translate this as my spirit, but it could just as easily be the Spirit. The Spirit can be in control of the body without the mind knowing what's going on.

Sure . . . I guess.

Ok, so later Paul says:
26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of
these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If anyone speaks in a
tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must
interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the
church and speak to himself and God.

If someone is speaking in a tounge (Spirit in control of the body), the tounge speaker can choose to be quiet.

Good for you, you can choose when to be quiet. Why should I care now?

I'm glad you asked (does it make me crazy . . . nevermind I don't want to know).

The body can be under the control of the Spirit, but only if the mind allows it. The Spirit will not take over without permission and will release control on demand.

So, if you can tell the Spirit to stop controling you, you can ask the Spirit to take control of you.

Yay, just what I've always wanted: to be a mindless automaton!

Not quite. Asking the Spirit to take control of you is basically what Paul is talking about in Romans 6.

20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?
Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and
have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the
result is eternal life.

Go ahead and read it again. Yup, it says "the control of righteousness" and "slaves to God." What are you going to do with that?

Ok, so I have been under the control of the Holy Spirit. I wish I would do it more. The first time I really noticed it was when I would pray for God's words before preaching a sermon. Then words would come out of my mouth that I hadn't prepared or thought of before. It's a surreal experience.

I left things at that for a while, just letting the Spirit take control when it came time to preach/teach, but then it occured to me that the Spirit could control me at any time. Now when I'm tempted, I pray: "Holy Spirit take control." It's amazing. When I tried to resist on my own in the past I had spotty success at best, but when I'm not the one resisting the results are much better. God is a lot better at resisting sin than I am.

The more I think about being under the control of the Spirit the more it makes sense to me. Jesus lived as the image of God and conquered sin so that we could recover our purpose to be God's image bearers. We can only be the image of God if God is calling the shots.

So what do you think? Am I crazy?


Not you . . . oh, forget it.


KMiV said...

Good exegesis James. I think when people talk about quenching (1 Thess 5) or grieving (Eph. 4) the Spirit they use it in a context of stopping the worship service short. Yet Paul uses this in reference to moral issues.

The Spirit does work on us morally to bash sin our of our life. To yield means to let the Spirit purify us.

One point you brought up that we use in our domestic violence stuff. The Spirit is submissive to the prophet (human) 1 Cor. 14. Submission does not mean anything about status but means two people (husband and wife included = Eph. 5) working as a team. As you pointed out in a way God/Spirit works with us.

Very good--you got me thinking about a lot of things.

emilykaypeters said...

It is always a good thing to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of your daily activities. I have also learned the hard way of trying to take control of things and not allowing God to handle them. They never seem to go the way that I wanted them to. I will have to read that scripture passage again to remind me of what I should be doing everyday.

Justin said...

James - thank you for your good words. I miss getting to have these conversations with you on a regular basis.

James T Wood said...

Thanks for the comments (no, really, I'm suprised that you read all of that. I didn't realize how long it was until I came to look at the comments).

So, am I missing anything? How would you teach this in a church?

Anonymous said...

Hey James! So, I totally misread the first sentence of your post and I thought you said you were trying to figure out how to get the Holy Spirit out of you. I had to read your post twice before I could figure out what was going on. Yep, I need to learn to read. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. They're great! :)