THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
There are many believers who have fallen into passivity and possession because of their ignorance of the work of the Holy Spirit. There are several very common misunderstandings:-
Waiting for the Holy Spirit
The church today is indeed very ignorant of Holy Spirit in experience! Many will well-intentioned. Believers in many places stress teachings concerning the Holy Spirit. Among these teachings, the most common ones are that one should “wait for the fulfilling of the Holy Spirit,” “wait for descending of the Holy Spirit” and “wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” In practice, some pray through the night in their house and fast for a long time, “wait to receive their personal Pentecost.” Some meetings change to “wait meetings” as soon as the message is over, so that those who want to seek for the Holy Spirit can wait. Consequently, many actually receive unusual experiences and experience supernatural spirits descending upon them that cause them to have unusually wonderful sensations see visions and strange light, hear voice, speaking in tongues, shake, and have other phenomena. After this the Lord Jesus becomes more precious to them, and many obvious sins are cast away. They become more joyful and enthusiastic, thinking that they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These actions are based upon the following verses:
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Luke 24:49
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. Acts 1:4
We should pay attention to a few important points. Truly the Lord Jesus commanded the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to be upon them. After Pentecost, however, we do not find anywhere in Acts or Epistles where the apostles commanded the believers to “wait” to receive the Holy Spirit. After Pentecost, “receive” is used instead of “wait” He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. Acts 19:2
Furthermore, when the disciples were waiting for ten days, the Holy Spirit did not say they were “waiting” passively. Rather, they were praying and petitioning in one accord. The passive and nightlong waiting of today (some even more than ten days) is different from the disciples’ experience.
Further, after Pentecost, whenever we read about the believers being filled with Holy Spirit, they were filled immediately. They did not have to wait like the apostles did in the beginning.
The Holy Spirit cannot be called on directly. Neither does He come through our beseeching, because He is a gift ( If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13) (And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 14:16). Furthermore, He descended at Pentecostal day. In the whole New Testament, no one ever called on the Holy Spirit directly. There is not a case in the bible where men asked for the dissension and baptism of the Holy Spirit directly. Instead, the bible says that the Lord Jesus “will baptize you in the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 3:11).
In addition, as we mentioned before, the Holy Spirit only comes upon the “new man,” that is, the inner man. Expecting the Holy Spirit to come upon the physical body, demanding a feeling and prescribing a certain sensation as the verification of the dissension of the Holy Spirit are the source of deception.
Therefore, today’s practice of “waiting for the Holy Spirit” is not scriptural, because this practice is entirely passive. Much of this kind of waiting occurred e at night when the body is always very tired. In addition, there is unusually a long period of fasting and numerous days of waiting. The mind of the believer naturally becomes very confused.
Moreover, prolonged prayer, sitting or kneeling, “waiting” for the dissension of the Holy Spirit upon the body, puts the will very easily into complete passivity. The believers does not resist, discern of choose anything. He just passivity waits for a spirit to come upon him, knock him down on the floor, or use his tongue and mouth to give him a strange sensation. Such waiting affords a way for evil spirits to come. Kit is no wonder that in this condition the believer receives supernatural experiences. The supernatural ones have to wait for many to become very passive before the can manifest themselves.
The Holy Spirit, however, will not do any work because it would go against the principle of His working. Evil spirits take advantage of the opportunity and become very active. They perform many counterfeit works on the believer. At this time, all the prayers, promises and faith offered to the Holy Spirit are actually offered to evil spirit. Even though a pleasant atmosphere seems to fill the house in this kind of meeting with every one feeling peaceful and happy, and even though there many be many consecrations and work as a result of such a meeting, the natural life still has not been dealt with.
Obeying the Holy Spirit
The believers, in according with the word in Acts 5: 32, “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” Because they do not follow the commandment in the bible to examine and discern the spirit of the truth from the spirit of error, they consider every spirit that comes upon them as the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they passively obey the spirit that is upon them. There entire being merely becomes a machine. Whatever the spirit upon them instructs them to do, they obey according. Whenever they do anything, they first turn to their bodies to wait for a commandment. As time goes on, this passive state gradually worsens, and the spirit as their mouth and their hands. The believers think that this kind of obeying the Holy Spirit is pleasing to God. Little did they realize that this verse never tells us to obey the Holy Spirit, Rather, it says that we should obey God the Father through the Holy Spirit. The apostle told us in a preceding verse (v. 29) that we should “obey God.” If the believer takes the Holy Spirit as his object of obedience and forgets God the Father, he will be led to follow a spirit within him or around him and not obey God the Father in Heaven through the Holy Spirit. This is the beginning of passivity, and this affords evil spirits an opportunity to practice falsehood. Once a person goes a little beyond the bible, he faces many dangers!
The Holy Spirit being the Master
God discipline our spirit through the Holy Spirit and that our spirit governs our body, our entire being, through our soul (i.e., will). A casual glance at this word does not seem to reveal anything of importance, yet the spiritual relationship it implies is very crucial. The Holy Spirit only makes His will known to us by affecting our intuition. When the Holy Spirit fills, He fills only our spirit. He does not directly govern our soul or our body. Neither does He directly fill our soul or our body. This point must be well noted. We cannot expect the Holy Spirit to think through our mind, feel through our emotions and propose through our will. Rather, the Holy Spirit manifests His will in the intuition so that the believer himself thinks, feels and proposes according to His will. Many believers assume that they have to offer their mind (their head) to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to think from within them. Little do they know that this is the biggest mistake. The Holy Spirit never directly replaces man or uses man’s mind in this way. The Holy Spirit never requires man to consecrate passively. He wants man to work with Him. He will not work for man. The believer has the power to quench His move. He does not force the believer to do anything.
The Holy Spirit will not directly rule man’s body either. In order for a man to speak, he himself has to use his mouth. In order for a man to move, he himself has to lift his fact. In order to for a man to work, he himself has to use his hands. God’s Holy Spirit never infringes on man’s freedom. Besides working in man’s spirit, that is, in God’s new creation, He will not move any part of man’s body independent of man’s own will. Even if man is willing, He will not substitute for man and move part of his body because has a free will. Man must be the master of himself; he must use his own body. This is God’s law. God Himself will not transgress HIS law.
We often say that “the Holy Spirit control man.” If we mean that the Holy Spirit works within us, making us obey God, this expression is correct. If wee mean that the Holy Spirit directly controls our entire being, this is absolutely wrong. Based on this we can distinguish between the work of evil spirits and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in our spirit in order to show that we belong to God; evil spirits cleave to our bodies for the purpose of driving us like a machine. The Holy Spirit asks for our cooperation, while evil spirit seeks complete and direct control. Our union with God is in the spirit, not in the body or in the soul. If we mistakenly think that our mind, emotion, body, and will should all be directly “moved” by God, evil spirits will bring in their counterfeit work. It is true that the believers should not act according to his own thoughts, emotions and will. But when he receives revelation in the spirit, he should use his mind, emotion and will to carry out the order of the Holy Spirit. Forsaking one’s soul and body and expecting the Holy Spirit to directly use them is the initial stop to demon-possession.
In this world, in addition to man’s will, two other wills are entirely to each other. God not only wants us to obey Him; He also wants us to withstand satan. Hence, God puts these tow matters together two times in the bible. James 4:7a says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” And James 4:7b says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
First Peter 5:6-9 says, Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. This is balance in the truth. A believer should submit himself to God in everything he encounters. He should confess that God’s ordering for him is the best. Though he suffers, he willingly obeys because this is the will of God. This is what we have spoken of apostles knew that we are in danger of being biased, so they immediately said that we have t withstand the devil after we submit. The reason for this is that in addition to God’s will, there is also the devil’s will. Many times he counterfeits God’s will particularly in our circumstances. If we are misled to think that there is only God’s will in this world, we and, at the same time, withstand the devil. To withstand is a work of the will. To withstand is for the will to oppose, to be unwilling, to decline and to disagree. God want us to use our will. This is why He says, “withstand.” God will not withstand on our behalf; we ourselves have to withstand. We still have a will, and we still should use our will to obey God’s word. This is the teaching of the bible.
But the believer misunderstands and supposes that God’s will is manifested in His arrangement of the environment. To him, everything that comes upon him is fully God’s will. Consequently, there is no need for his will to have any further selection, consideration, determination, resistance, or any thing else. He merely accepts everything in silence. This sound good and right. But unavoidably, there can be misunderstanding. It is that we acknowledge God’s hand belied everything. We also know that we should under God’s hand. But this is more a matter of attitude than a matter of conduct. If whatever befalls us is God’s commanded will do we have anything to say? This is a matter of attitude. When we become willing to obey God, we can further examine and ask: are these matters from evil spirit? Or are they permitted by God? If they are ordained by God, we have nothing to say. But if they are not, we should work with God to withstand them. We should not submit to every circumstance without daily examining and testing it. Our attitude should be the same all the time, but our practice should be carried out only after we understand the circumstance otherwise we may be obeying the devil’s will.
Believers should not be people without a mind. They should not be entirely passive and controlled by the circumstance. Rather, whenever they encounter anything, they should always vigorously, actively and consciously examine its source, test its nature, understand its content and then decide on a course of action. Being submissive to God is important, but this does not mean that we can disobey God in our circumstance. Rather, it means that we have the intention to submit to God, but we want to know if it is God that we are submitting to. Today few believers are submissive in their attitude. These mean that even if they know something is of God, few will submit. Yet when they have been broken by God, they still do not discern if a matter is from God; as long as something comes to them, they accept it without any question. The balance truth is to be submissive in attitude yet, at the same time, to accept something only after one is clear about its source.
Many fully consecrated believers do not understand this difference. They just passively submit to the circumstance, assuming that everything is God’s arrangement. This gives evil spirits the opportunity to utilize and afflict them. Evil spirits prepare the circumstances as traps in order to cause the believers to accomplish their will. They may stir up storms and may cause the believers to be afflicted by them. In this way, they make believers suffer the sin of others, while considering this to be example of not resisting “him who is evil” (Matt. 5:39). Little do they realize that God also wants them to be “struggling against sin” (Heb. 12:4), to overcome the spirit of this age through overcoming the circumstances. The results of such a practice are: (1) they no longer use their will to choose and decide. (2) God will not pressure them through their environment; and (3) evil spirits will utilize the circumstance to take over passive will. Then the believers will be submitting to evil spirits and think that they are submitting to God.