If you’ve read my blog for any period of time, you know that it’s almost a journal of my journey with God. I document, process, and proliferate what the Holy Spirit is teaching me. Today is no different, and I would like to submit a thought to you that I am still processing through and applying to my doctrine, but that is taking me deeper in my relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Often the Holy Spirit will drop a thought in my spirit that shakes up how I previously viewed some aspect of my relationship with Him. And in step with Proverbs 25:2—which says, “It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter; and the glory of kings to search it out”—instead of giving me the full understanding of how what He has just told me actually works, He just leaves it there to draw me into the pursuit of revelation. Before I present the thought I’ll say this: if you have questions or don't understand something, don't get discouraged… get excited! Questions are the gateway to revelation. If you don't have questions, how can you expect to uncover revelation?
So, in light of that, here is the thought (and feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments): We are called into absolute, surrendered obedience to Jesus as our Lord and King. His commands are not suggestions, they are mandates. But in the midst of our total laid down submission, He allows us to walk in partnership with Him. He allows us to have a voice and a say in what happens in the earth and in what He does.
To expound on this thought let me give some Scriptural context. I don't think any of us disagree with the part about obedience and surrender. John chapters 14 and 15 couldn't be any clearer that those who are truly lovers of God are the ones who obey His commands (see my blog post on Obedience). Joshua 1:8 says, “Let not this book of the law depart from your mouth, but meditate in it day and night that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” I could go on and on with verses about obedience. The entire book of James could be a reference for this.
We are additionally called to walk according the leading of the Holy Spirit moment-by-moment (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16). One of my mentors said something so good recently regarding the word Paraclete, which is used to describe the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. He said, “A Paraclete is not someone that is there to assist you in whatever it is that you decide you want to do. A Paraclete is someone whom—without them—it would be impossible to do what you have to do. It’s like you’re stranded in the wilderness and your friend is going into cardiac arrest so you call 911 and get on the phone with a heart surgeon. That heart surgeon is a Paraclete—he’s not there to give you some advice here and there, you are there to do exactly what he says so that your friend stays alive.” We are to be led by the Holy Spirit… the Bible says that being led by the Holy Spirit is the very key sonship (Romans 8:14).
But here is the paradox… God also gives us the mind-blowing privilege of having a say in how He does things. I don't fully understand it, I just know that the Word tells us it’s true. Let me give some examples.
I first began to notice this at the very beginning of the biblical narrative in Genesis. Genesis 2:4-6says, “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” The Bible says that plants had not grown on the earth because there “was no man to till the ground.” This begs the question: was God unable to till the ground Himself? We know that’s not the answer, God can do whatever He wants whenever He wants however He wants. So what’s the answer? God longs for partnership.
The second place I noticed this same thing was just a few verses later in Genesis 2. Verse 19 says, “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” What caught my attention was that God didn’t bring the animals to Adam, tell Adam what to name them, and then simply give Adam the task of applying the name to each animal. God actually let Adam do something that only God had previously had the ability to do—create. God brought them to Adam to “see what he would call them.” Are you tracking with me?
If we are reading this section of Scripture through the filter of the revelation that God’s very nature is that of a Father, this makes perfect sense. I almost get a picture of God being almost giddy with excitement as He brings the animals to Adam “to see what He would name them.” It’s like God was almost full of curiosity to see what Adam would come up with. How can a God who knows everything be curious? I don't know. It’s like asking how can a God who knows everything forget our sins? I don't know. The Bible just tells that He can choose to forget. I just laughingly and joyfully say “Yes and amen.” So I suppose He can also choose to be curious.
It’s like a Father who can’t wait to give His child a gift to see what they will do with it or how much they will enjoy it. 1 Timothy 6:17 says that “God gives us all things liberally to enjoy.” I believe some of The Father’s greatest joy comes from seeing the joy we get from the perfect gifts that He gives (I could write an entirely other blog post on this… maybe next week).
The last place I want to mention—although there are other places in Scripture where we see this—is Acts 15. In Acts 15, they call together a council of the Apostles to talk about doctrine concerning the Gentiles. These are massive doctrinal decision they are making. And in Acts 15 the Apostles write a letter in which they make an interesting statement. They say, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well” (verse 15). It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us… This is a really interesting statement.
Some people read this passage and make it seem like the Apostles weren't very clear on what the Holy Spirit was directing them to do. Almost like they were saying, “We think this is what the Holy Spirit could be saying, and it seems like a good idea to us, so that’s what we’re going to do.” I don't think that’s the case at all. I think the Apostles were crystal clear on what the Holy Spirit was saying and were hearing his voice with perfect clarity. What this verse is pointing out is that, once again, God desires partnership. My natural inclination when reading this (especially in light of the hunger for obedience that I attempt to maintain) is to say, “Who cares what seems good to us! If it seems good to the Holy Spirit shouldn't that be the end of the discussion?” But in answer to the question “who cares what seems good to us?”… apparently God does…
In conclusion, what we see from all of this is the truth that God never wanted (or will ever want) us to be robots. Am I a full believer in absolute obedience and surrender? More than you know. And I will continue to be. But God longs for partners—He longs for sons. He wants to give us the freedom to create and to be imaginative like He is. I love the way David Yonggi Cho described the Holy Spirit. He called Him his, “Senior Partner.” This is such great way to view Him. We have the privilege of collaborating with the God of the universe, yet His Word still holds the final say. What a God we serve!
I hope this post helped you see the Lord in a new way. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments!