Monday, February 28, 2011

Holy Spirit Control

Confession time: I am sort of a control-freak. I don't have to work at it; rather it comes quite naturally. I'm generally pleased in any situation as long as I think I know what is going to happen, when it will happen, and how it will happen.

I've realized that I have been thinking this way even during our church family gatherings. Yesterday as we came together, we began by singing some songs, reading scripture, and praying.  I was comfortable because I could have predicted this. Then something happened that was unexpected (at least for me).

A woman who was visiting with us - she is a family member of some in our church family - began singing a song. She gave no introduction, but just began singing a solo. It was loud and full of vigor. Wow. First I was sort of stunned. Then I began to worry that she might (gasp!) sing something that I didn't find theologically accurate. My control-freakishness was coming to the forefront.

At that point God intervened by giving me a sort of smack to the spiritual face.  It was as if God said to me something like, "Don't you think my Holy Spirit can control this gathering?  Why do you have to determine exactly what is acceptable and what is not?  Just who do you think you are?"

The great part about God doing this was that it showed me my faults and at the same time caused me to relax and enjoy the remainder of the song. It was beautiful. When this lady finished singing, she gave us a word of thanks and exhortation to continue following after Christ. What a blessing! And to think that I could have missed out due to my control issues.

The reality is that God is far bigger than we are. The Holy Spirit does just fine controlling the gatherings of His church. My little preferences and areas of comfort are not that important.

As a matter of faith and selflessness, I need to actively give up trying to control our gatherings.  If I do try to control them, this will do more harm than good.  Not only is the Holy Spirit far more powerful than I am, He's also much wiser and infinitely better (no surprise there).

I thank the Lord for showing me very clearly that He is in control and doesn't need me. I look forward to future gatherings not thinking that I need to somehow make sure everything is "O.K." It's God's gathering. He can and will do what He wants to with it.

To use a bit of a weak analogy: I'm going along for the ride, but I'm no longer going to try to drive the bus.


Dakota Brown said...

I am sad I had to miss this!

Eric said...


We missed you brother. The great thing is that God is faithful no matter when we get together. He'll do something else great the next time. Hope to see you then.

Alan Knox said...


Most Christians who meet according to a schedule or plan would also say that the Holy Spirit controls their meetings (worship services). How would you respond to that?


Eric said...


That's a good question and one that I imagine we have both thought about quite a bit.

I believe that the Holy Spirit controls even the preparation for church meetings. If people pray about what to bring, and are led to certain hymns, passages, teachings, etc., then this follows the I Cor. 14 model.

What I would like to ask those in favor of a planned/scheduled meeting is how they handle it if someone in the church family feels led by the Holy Spirit to speak during the gathering. Are people allowed by the pastor(s) to do this? Better yet, are they encouraged to do so?

The Holy Spirit probably is involved in the preparation. However, if most of the body is stifled during the gathering, then I have to believe that the Holy Spirit is limited in what He can do.

Alan Knox said...


I think you explained that very well, and I agree.