Sunday, 15 February 2015
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 1 Corinthians 14:32
To understand this verse properly, it should be considered with the instructions Paul has just given. Taken together, they read –
“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”
Those who have a word to impart should not start speaking at the same time as others who are speaking. But Paul has shown that they must remain silent as others are speaking. He then explained why by saying that in speaking one at a time “all may learn and all may be encouraged.” However, someone may claim that the power of the Holy Spirit has taken them over like a rushing tide and they simply couldn’t control themselves. In this ecstatic state, they claim they lost control, yielding to the greater power which was present.
This sounds pretty great, yes… “Look at me, I’m filled with the Spirit, even to overflowing! Why I simply couldn’t control myself!” Paul says that this is not the case and it will never be the case because, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” The Holy Spirit will not usurp the spirit of the man. Instead, He will work harmoniously with the man to accomplish His purposes. As Paul’s words are guided by the Holy Spirit, they are true and they precede any such display found in churches today. Therefore, any event in a church which violates Paul’s prescriptions cannot be of the Holy Spirit.
Now consider this more fully. If this is true with prophecy, a greater gift, then it must be true with tongues, a lesser gift. As this is so, then “ecstatic tongues” and other violent reactions to “Holy Spirit power” such as being “slain in the spirit” are shown to be false. The Holy Spirit will not violate a precept in the word of God, ever. If someone is “slain in the spirit” it is because they have willingly allowed themselves to be duped by a charlatan, not the Holy Spirit. It may be a form of hypnosis, or it may be a form of self-induced delusion, but such an event is not of God.
Paul is clear concerning the spirit of the man; it is subject to the man.
Life application: Don’t be duped by those who would make you feel you have less of the Holy Spirit than they do. The Holy Spirit is given upon belief. A believer will never get more of the Spirit than at that moment, but the Spirit can get more of the believer, just as a person can never get more married once they are married. Instead, a person can continually get more of their spouse (love, respect, bonding, etc) as the spouse yields to them.
Lord God, Your word shows me that the moment I believed in Christ as Lord, I was sealed with Your Holy Spirit and that I belong to You. Help me to yield myself to You as I walk in this life, and to yield to Your presence from moment to moment. Keep me from putting up barriers to this wonderful relationship, but rather help me to keep my heart receptive to You always. I never want to head back in the direction I was saved from! Thank You. Amen.