The Spirit's Control
By Billie Marie Zal
When the Holy Spirit of God controls us, then we reign. And when we reign as members of Christ’s Body, then He reigns on earth as well as in heaven. But something has gone amiss and the Church Today does not maintain a heavenly position. And so the Church is living a defeated life and the world is lying in darkness.
It is one thing to throw up our hands and give in to defeat, and quite another to do something about it. Why can we not, then, seek out the causes for our failure to live an overcoming life in the heavenlies and then set about to correct these failures?
Perhaps the one main reason that the Church is defeated is because Her members are ignorant of their inheritance. I once read that when Christ died for our sins we were set free from the penalty of sin. When He arose we were set free from the guilt of sin. And when He ascended we were set free from the POWER of sin. It is as we realize that our position is not down here on earth, but in the heavens with Christ, that we become overcomers and the Church is set free from her bondage.
There is so much emphasis on getting the baptism of the Holy Spirit today that believers are erroneously led to believe that there can be no power in their lives until such an experience happens. But if we are not already seated together with Christ in heavenly places, then where are we? We are earthborn. We are defeated. And the Spirit does not control us as He should.
First of all, if we are to be set free from error and get to know what it is to reign from heavenly places, we should realize that we have something of our very own, even after we are born again. We have a will, and this will can be used for or against our Creator. If we use it for God, then the Holy Spirit gains control of our will and we are guided and led by Him. If we use it against God, then we leave ourselves wide open for satan to use our will, even though we may not be aware of the fact that he has taken over!
Secondly, we should know that our wills can be influenced by several things, namely, our emotions, outside stimuli, by persons with forceful and aggressive personalities, and by religious spirits who infiltrate our lives while appearing to be from God, yet in actuality being from satan. Therefore, it is dangerous to live in error and risk the chance of being deceived,
thus ruining God’s plan for His Church. Not only do we miss out on the joy of reigning with Christ even now, but also on the joy of living in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Let us take each category, then, where our wills can be influenced, and study them asking God’s blessing as we ask His wisdom in seeking out our error.
In the realm of the emotions we know that all of us differ. I have always been thankful that God made us with different emotional patterns, for how dull it would be if we all reacted exactly alike. When we are born again our emotions are the same as they were before our salvation. We ourselves have died in Christ and have risen in Him, but we are like babes, unaware of all the great riches that are ours as we grow into a maturity that would enable us to use the riches wisely.
The glorious truth is that our emotions can be controlled by God’s Holy Spirit and it is then that we live peaceably with ourselves as well as with others. There are countless emotional illnesses in the Church today simply because Her members are not aware of the fact that we need not be overcome by our emotions. It is not at all uncommon for me to begin to feel “under.” I check it out and if it is not physically related then I begin to ask God why I am “under.” If there is a cloud between Him and me then it is quickly dispelled by my confession of sin and His forgiveness. But if it is brought upon me by outside forces then I quickly make a decision of the will not to give in to the depression but rather to overcome. This gives God’s Holy Spirit the opportunity to take over and rout satan. Sometimes the cause of depression can be because of a most ordinary thing. When our old cat died I made a mental note to guard against depression, for my emotions were such that I knew I would deeply grieve for his going. Sure enough, after he left me, I found myself wandering dejectedly through the house, pausing to look at the things he left behind - his brush, his old pillow, his hide-and-seek places. While it is a healthy thing to love and to mourn the loss of something we love, still it is downright sinful to let that mourning become an obsession. We can actually wallow in our grief, and it is then that the Spirit loses control of our will (for He cannot tolerate disobedience to God’s Word), and if the Spirit loses control then we, too, lose control. Immediately satan rushes in and every kind of emotion takes over. Grief, anger at having lost what we believed to be ours, guilt that we may not have done all we could while the loved one was alive . . . all these thoughts explode in our minds and we are adrift, helplessly adrift in a sea of bewildering circumstances.
When I discovered that I was grieving for my Tom, I decided to set certain limits for my grief. I would grieve this long, and no longer. I would remind myself of his love this much and no more. And with this decision of my will, the Spirit of God had access and I was not carried
off to depths of emotional conflicts which I could not handle. I could enjoy life even though I had lost my wonderful old cat, and I am sure that this type of grief is much the same in the loss of a loved one. Though it would be ever so much more difficult to lose a person, still the emotional pain can be the same. The Holy Spirit - when He gains control of our will by our own obedience and permission - gives us that comfort that sustains us through every grief.
The second category where our wills can be influenced is in the category of outside stimuli. We can be suddenly upset by a subconscious memory when we hear a certain tune or see a certain sunset. Again, our emotions take over and we react adversely, unlike children of the living God who have access to His very Throne. A hidden rebellion often causes these outside stimuli to take their toll upon our lives. For example, if we hate any one person anywhere in this world for any reason then we can be influenced by outside stimuli. The Holy Spirit cannot have the control of our will if we hate and we will find ourselves resenting anyone who bears a likeness to the person whom we have never forgiven.
Even though we may realize that our unkindness is unjust we cannot bring ourselves to be kind and we are miserably defeated. There is such a quick and simple way out of such a situation but it is a costly way out and often we do not wish to pay the price. Our pride always stands in the way of our forgiving someone, and we must lay that pride down if we are to receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing. If we do this, the Holy Spirit comes in, has access to our will and thus to our life, and satan is once again routed.
Sometimes the hatred is so deeply hidden that we have never even known it was there until God graciously creates circumstances that make us confront this sin of the disposition face to face. If we love Him we make a decision of the will to quit hating. He forgives us, and cleanses us, and we are free. Our will is free to serve Him whom we adore and this gives us an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit control all the areas where hatred affects our emotions. We find a wonderful new life void of hatred which gives us an inner calm that amazes not only others, but ourselves! One more thing becomes very clear to us as we gain this new victory. Once we forgive, we forget. We do not hold grudges, for if there is no forgetting there is no forgiveness. Remembered offences are forgotten and burdens are lifted and we reign.
Another category where we may be influenced is in the category of forceful personalities. Just as we do not all possess the same emotional patterns, neither do we follow the same personality types. I am often amazed by the many differences that I find in our small body of believers here. There is not one of us anything like the other. We are totally different. Again, this pleases me, for it makes for some interesting living as personality clashes with personality and a solution is sought and found from God. It is like the storm that comes and
clears the air and afterwards the lovely and peaceful calm. As a minister over this small flock whom God has given me, I cannot but be careful about my children in the faith for in order to help them I must make sure that there is no forcing of one’s personality upon another. So many times I have seen this happen in an assembly and it can cause the defeat of the Church. Once I attended a small prayer group which was led by a very forceful man who claimed he was filled with the Spirit. Taking him at his word, I tried to learn from him but I always got a bad headache when I was in his presence. He was stern, uncompromising, but also rude and critical. In his meetings everyone groaned when they prayed and so I thought I had better groan, too, or he would be displeased and think me carnal. That was the last time I have ever groaned at a meeting or elsewhere because I distinctly heard the Lord laugh. You see, I am just not the personality type to groan. Perhaps others are, and that is okay, but not me. This man’s forceful personality caused me to do something contrary to my own personality and so by confessing my fault to God I was free and the Spirit’s control was reestablished. And I never got anymore headaches around him.
If the Church is to gain Her place of power then it would be good for us to find out if we have been erroneously overwhelmed by some forceful personality. There are ways that give us away, so to speak. If we discover that we are using an “unnatural voice” when we pray, or when we speak to other Christians, then we are being overcome by some force other than God. If we fix our faces in a “beatific smile” while speaking of the Lord, then we are being overcome by some force other than God. If we begin to spout little religious phrases that belong to some specific group, and we cannot speak without using these phrases, then we are being overcome by some force other than God.
God is not looking for assemblies where every member prays in the same manner, smiles in the same manner, shouts in the same manner . . . no, God looks for people who can be themselves and worship Him in accordance with the personality that He Himself gave them. For this reason we can have a meeting where one person may indeed shout, while the next can sit quietly by. One may groan and the next may not. But both are worshipping God, and that is the important thing. If we find ourselves wanting to please some individual whom we feel is “important” then we will most certainly sooner or later be overcome by that person’s personality, and we will not know who we really are.
Perhaps the greatest threat to the Church today is the invasion of religious spirits (who are demons) into our lives and homes and meeting places. They come as angels of light and are accepted without so much as an effort of the church to “test these spirits.” There are people today preaching all over the nation in the name of Jesus Christ who have been deceived and misled by these spirits, and to tell them that they are deceived would bring only cold, negative
reactions. We are all vulnerable to these religious demons and the only way that we can steer clear of them is to let God’s Holy spirit control us, thus showing us the way in which we should go.
In letting God’s Spirit have control we learn to leave off our high ambitions, and our own natural desires, and let Christ reign. We can, then, either be controlled by the Holy Spirit, or by other forces. This is the participation of the sufferings of Christ, and it is in this laying down of ourselves that we rise with Him to the heavenlies where all power is ours, in Christ. Let us begin to assert ourselves as children of the living God and experience the reality of His loving, continual control. This life is ours for the accepting.
- from the August, 1975 Wingspread
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Well, its time for a few news notes from our mountain. So far it’s been a lovely summer. The temperatures have been staying in the 80’s and it has been much cooler at nights. It has also rained several times. So our cucumbers and tomatoes have thrived, and we had plenty to share with everyone.
Brian and Gail got a new computer. Brian is so “stingy” with himself. It took a lot of encouragement from the rest of us to get him to buy one. They need it for the ministry.
Anyway, Brian gave the old computer to Ed and Shirley, with a desk and everything else that’s needed. Eddie was one happy man. He doesn’t know a lot about computers, but he does know how to tune in on Dr. Scott’s programming, and that is what he really wanted it for. Since the university network (http://www.drgenescott.org/) has streaming video 24 hours a day, its perfect for them.
Shirley fixed up a little spare room, but there was nothing comfortable to sit on in that room. So one evening they came home with a lovely blue sofa. I was afraid from the start that it wouldn’t fit through the door. But Brian and Rodney said they would get it in there somehow. First the door came down, then the molding around the door, then the legs of the sofa. Rodney pulled and Brian shoved, and it looked hopeless. Ed said he was praying. After much huffing and puffing it popped through the door opening and we sighed with relief.
Eddie has finally decided to retire from his job at the post office. And it’s about time. At the age of 83 he can now sit back and relax a little.
Jay, without asking anyone for advice, went out and bought himself a brand new Chevy truck. It came with brand new payments of course, 6 years of them. The other truck was in good shape and had been paid off. It had new tires, etc. But boys will be boys, so it seems now that Jay will have to tighten his belt a little. But
I will say that Jay is a dependable worker. He is always on time to work, and never misses a day. And that says a lot about a person these days.
Not much is new with me and Rodney. We stay busy. Most days he is writing letters and I’m sewing, or he is weed eating for hours and I’m pulling weeds.
We read your letters out loud to each other, and we are thankful for all of you who correspond so faithfully with us. We like to hear that you received the newsletter and read it. So often when we don’t hear we wonder if we should just take you off the mailing list. Think on that the next time you get a newsletter and fail to drop us a note.
Some of your letters make me wonder, and it gives me some concern as to whether or not you have experienced the new birth or not. It is not enough to believe that there is a God. The Bible says that even the devil believes and trembles. It is also not enough to say the “Sinner’s Prayer” like the churches make you do. Jesus said you must be born again (John 3:3). In other places He says to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). The word repent means that you turn from the path you were walking and you go in the opposite direction. Romans 2:4 says: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” God has given you this opportunity to get your life in order before its too late. And that change has to be a lot deeper than just staying clean from drugs and alcohol. It has to be a change of the heart.
We are always here to answer questions, if you have any. And our hope and prayer is that in some way our lives may be used to show the way. The way is not through empty traditions and ceremonies, but coming to a real, full, personal relationship with the One who gave His all for you and me.
Lazy days of summer for Clyde and Harry
Prayer Requests for August, 2007
For Willie Harper at Menard, Illinois, for his family, and for his friend, Ella Watson.
For Robert Heffernan, Brickeys, Arkansas, for clemency from the governor, and for his health.
For Clay Huff, Angola, Louisiana, who is having ear surgery to remove a growth blocking the canal. Also Clay asks that we pray for positive results on his pardon application.
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who recently had prostate surgery, that he recovers quickly and stays “cancer free.”
For Robert Ross at Helena, Oklahoma, for favor with the courts; and for his wife, Karen Griffin, who has cancer.
For Willie Hoffman’s two sons who live in a bad environment; that God will keep them safe until they can be moved.
For Nolan Holland at Tucker, Arkansas, for “strength to finish to course.”
For Willie Clark, Abilene, Texas, that he will be transferred closer to Houston.
For Mickey Miller at McAlester, Oklahoma, that God will keep him safe.
For Marlin Resinger at McAlester, Oklahoma, for an interstate transfer to Arkansas.
For Johnnie Dunnum, Lexington, Oklahoma, who is having a lot of pain in his upper left arm and shoulder.
For James Devers, Cushing, Oklahoma, for health problems.
For Ed & Shirley’s friend, Linda Porter, who has breast cancer.
For Margaret’s son, Mark in Cypress, California, for a quick recovery from kidney surgery. He is having kidney stones removed.
For Judy Oakley, Prairie Grove, Arkansas, to recover completely and not need anymore surgery.
For Jay’s back. He has problems periodically.
For Pastor Scott and her ministry in Los Angeles.
For Sister Ann & the Nuns in Little Rock.
For Tommy Hayes and everyone at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
For all of us at Wingspread.
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