On Monday I began a series on the top ten spiritual truths I’ve learned over the years. We’re discussing them in chronological order, from the first lesson I learned to the latest.
Here’s #6: I must submit daily to the Holy Spirit.
I became a Christian during the height of the “charismatic” movement. “Speaking in tongues,” a “divine language” that is directly inspired by the Holy Spirit, was becoming very controversial in Baptist churches. Some pastors taught that “tongues” and other “sign gifts” such as miracles and healings disappeared when the New Testament was completed; others preached that they are essential to genuine salvation and Christian faith. Most of us didn’t know what to believe.
I grew up in a very self-reliant culture. Texans value the “self-made” person, the rugged individualist who “pulled himself up by his boot straps.” I knew that the Holy Spirit was the third Person of the Trinity and that my body was now his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), but I had no idea why or how to rely on his power in my life.
After Janet and I were married in 1980, we moved to Arlington, Texas so I could attend Southwestern Seminary. During my second year, I was assigned a book by R. A. Torrey titled, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. For the first time, I came to understand what Paul meant by his command, “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). I learned the literal translation of the Apostle’s phrase: “be continually being controlled by the Spirit.” Every day I need to submit myself to the power and leading of God’s Spirit. He honors the freedom God has given me, and can use me fully if I first surrender to his use. He can lead me only if I will follow.
As a power drill is not much use unless we connect it to the power source it is intended to utilize, so our lives are not much use to the Father unless we are connected to the power of his Spirit. Human words cannot change human hearts. We cannot convict anyone of sin, save anyone’s soul, or change anyone’s life. Scripture is clear: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).
Now I begin each morning by submitting that day to the Holy Spirit. I pray through my day, asking him to be in charge of all I will experience. On my good days, I stay connected to him all day. I ask for his leadership when facing decisions, strength when facing temptations, and cleansing when I sin. On my bad days, I fall back into the self-reliance that hinders him from working through me for God’s glory and my good.
Are you having a bad day or a good day?