“But when He the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all truth”. ~ (John 16:13 NIV)
Most of us struggle with surrender because spiritually we sense something is lacking, but we refuse to surrender to the empty feeling, to find out what it is. Many fill that empty space with worldly pride, religious practices, and denominational loyalty, when what we really need is to have it filled with the Holy Spirit.
Even in church, pride, religious tradition, and fear of what others think stop us from surrender. Many sit silently laid back with a keep cool attitude, when they need to shout “Hallelujah,” or to say, “Praise The Lord,” or at least say “Amen.”
Pride, tradition and fear are some of the things that keep many Christians from surrendering to the Holy Spirit and that block us from experiencing the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit.
It is commonly known that many struggle with surrender. which means, “to agree to stop fighting, hiding and resisting.” Surrender happens when one quits doing something because they know they will not win or succeed.
Other times it happens when we give over control to someone else. Allowing somebody or something (such as a habit) to influence us or control us.
Truth be told most of us are unwilling to admit we are control freaks. We don’t want to surrender control to others, and we don’t want to be told to do things by others. I must admit, I, too, am a bit of a control freak: I don’t like riding in a car while another person drives.
So how do we surrender to the Holy Spirit? We stop needing to control and we listen to the advice of Holy Spirit, that inner voice of God. We pray about what we hear, and ask direction from the counselor (the Holy Spirit). Then we surrender and let go of what we first thought, or what our pride told us we should do.
In John 16:8 Jesus said, “When He (the Holy Spirit) comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin.
Jesus went on to say, “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. (John16:12-13 MSG)
It is the common fault and folly of melancholy Christians to look only on the dark side of the cloud, and to turn a deaf ear to the voice of joy and gladness found in the Holy Spirit. That which filled the disciples’ hearts with sorrow was too great of an affection for their present life.
Nothing hinders our joy, or blocks the Holy Spirit more than our love of worldly things, and worry over the sorrows of the world.
Jesus’ going away expanded His bodily presence. When physically alive He could be only in one place at one time. But in His risen state, His Holy Spirit is and can be everywhere in all places, at all times.
The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to convince the world, of its sin; not merely tell the world about it, but to do something about it. The Holy Spirit convicts us of the fact; the fault; and the folly of sin; and that by it we become aware of what is hateful to God. It is the methodology of the Holy Spirit, first to convince, and then to comfort.
It behooves each of us to ask whether the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in our heart. Without this clear discovery of our own guilt and imminent danger, we will never understand the value of Christ’s salvation.
To be led into a truth is more than barely to know it; it is to not only have the notion of it in our heads, but the relish it, and savor the power of it in our hearts. Oh but when we are brought to surrender, we come to know ourselves, it is then we begin to see the value of Christ the Redeemer.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org