There is a Spiritual renewal in our day. Beginning around the turn of this last century and most recently in the 1970’s there has been an awakening to the Holy Spirit’s leadership, presence, and power. In Israel and America Messianic Jews have been gathering to exalt and proclaim Yeshua Messiah and Lord. Traditional evangelical churches are turning to spiritual expressions of prayer, worship and guidance. I saw a quote from from an Episcopal rector regarding how far the church has yet to go in surrender to the Spirit. On a radio broadcast he said, “If the Holy Spirit were totally withdrawn from the church today, ninety percent of the work of the church would go on as if nothing had happened.” It makes one think and consider whether the traditions and precepts of men have usurped the Spirit’s role in the Church. I’m sure it is true regarding the liberal churches that have embraced homosexuality, abortion, and so-called social justice. There have always been frauds and rebels in the congregation of believers, Nadab and Abaihu acted in their own will and Korah rebelled against the Spirit’s leadership in the Exodus from Egypt. (Lev. 10:1-3; Exod. 16: 19-27). Judah was in the inner circle of Yeshua’s disciples and he was a thief and betrayer. In the early church several men rose up teaching heresies such as that Believers must obey the old covenant laws to be saved, Yeshua did not come to earth in the flesh, and Yeshua was not fully God. Men have frequently usurped the Spirit’s role in the church, even unwittingly. It is common for us to either run ahead or fail to move with the Spirit in our own presumption. Israel refused to go in and possess the promised land, then decided to go in on their own volition which resulted in a great defeat.
The scripture clearly describes the essential necessity of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, leadership, and presence. In fact, the Believer’s life must be grounded in the Spirit, rather than our nature self, human reasoning, or other men. This is so fundamental in scripture that denial is utter blindness. Yeshua said, “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.’ ” (Acts 1: 4-8). No mature believer should question the preeminence of Spiritual transformation.
I had been thinking about this bigger picture and our flawed human nature when this morning I opened the Word and began to read, “He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.’ And he continued, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!’ Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.’ Later in private, His disciples asked for a further explanation to which He replied, ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean). He went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.’ ” (Mark 7: 6-9, 14-15, 18-23). We must yield ourselves to the Spirit, for inside each of us comes forth defilement, wrong thinking, rebellion, and evil.
The Spirit is imparted to each Believer without limit. In surrender, submission, faith, and utter reliance on God alone is our hope and strength. Let each of us turn away from our own understanding and rely on Holy Spirit guidance.