Read Galatians 5:24-25
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. (NLT)
All Christians have God’s Holy Spirit living in them. It is just that all Christians have a tendency to domesticate or tame the Spirit. We keep him in a safe place rather than let him wreak his holy havoc in our lives. He is like a powerful dog on a leash, straining to be free but kept chained by our own desire to run our own race. And so it is good for us to pray that the Spirit be released in our lives in order to better point us to the way of Jesus.
But this can lead to another sort of challenge. We might mistakenly equate the work of the Spirit with spontaneity. Preachers don’t prepare a sermon because they wish to be led by the Spirit. Ordinary Christians don’t study the Bible because they figure the Spirit will tell them what to say or believe in each and every situation. Worship leaders forgo planning because they want to give room for the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is well able to work through careful preparation and deep study. How ironic and how sad it is that, in our desire to allow the Spirit to work in our churches, we actually end up imposing another restraint on him. We assume he will only work via spontaneity or in some visibly exciting and dramatic way.
His task is to lead us into the way of Jesus. We must not organise him out of our lives by not being open to his surprising interventions. We must not assume that he cannot work in and through our organisation. The chains by which we bind the Spirit of God come in various shapes and types. Some of them sound very spiritual and so are very dangerous.