The Clash Of “Mindsets”: Structural Versus Relational
The more I think about it, the bottom line of this structural vs. relational issue is “control”. Who is in control and the fear of what happens if the situation gets “out of control” is what holds us, believers in Jesus Christ, the Church, back from the freedom of allowing the Holy Spirit to flow freely to lead us. Peter’s experience at the House of Cornelius is an example where everything seemed to go “out of control” while the Holy Spirit was in total control. Peter felt the Holy Spirit was only for the House of Israel. Wrong! It was falling on the Gentiles. Pentecost is another example. Church officials at that time, the Sanhedrin, thought the situation of Jews speaking non-Jewish languages that people understood was absurd at an early morning hour thinking they were drunk, yet thousands came into the kingdom of God that day. The Holy Spirit knew exactly what he was doing and was in control.
I only have three words about control: “Give It Up”!
The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to bring glory to Jesus. Jesus, when on earth, always gave glory to his Father. In essence, God the Father is in control and manifests it through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Cross always looks like an “out of control” experience until one realizes that it is a moment of “total control” because of a person “totally surrendering”, unconditionally, to the Father, Jesus, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. Total unconditional surrender is “giving up all control.”
I recently viewed on PBS’s Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War’s episode on Lee’s surrender to Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse ending America’s bloody Civil War. It must have been very painful and difficult for Lee, realizing that winning the war was “out of his control”, to lay down “everything” unconditionally at Grant’s feet in total surrender. I am impressed with Grant’s terms of allowing the Rebs to keep their guns for hunting, not imprisoning them, letting them go home to reconstruct their lives, for “they are our brothers again.” The North’s whole purpose for fighting the war was “to preserve the union.” Brotherhood had been broken; brotherhood had to again be established.
On the spiritual side, those inside the institutional church have been at war with each other for centuries, fighting over differences, trying to get “control” over other Christian sects, pointing out “their” faults and errors in doctrine while defending “ours” as being truth. Can their ever be “union” in the body of Christ as Jesus in his priestly prayer recorded in John 17 prayed? Yes, but only through total, unconditional surrender to the Holy Spirit. The church hierarchy has to willing relinquish control, diminish it, so the Holy Spirit can increase in control.
But what happens if the Holy Spirit does things differently than the established church who is in control? That is the chance the church has to take in an effort to unconditionally surrendered itself to God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the leading of His Holy Spirit. As the pyramidal, hierarchal, institutionalized church allows itself to surrender to the Holy Spirit, flat lining, the creating of I John 3:16 will occur: You know love by this, that you will lay down your life for your “brethren”. “Laying down” means total, unconditional surrender. That is what I believe the Holy Spirit is leading the Church towards during this next revival: unconditional surrender, laying down one’s life, and total trust in Him.
Are we, are you and I, willing to “let go”, give up our control and “trust” the Holy Spirit’s control? As a Church we so often talk about “total surrender” to Jesus; well, are we really willing to “totally surrender” to the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Until we can not only say “yes”, but practice that surrender to God vertically as well to our brethren in Christ vertically, we will not experience true revival. At the Cross, the vertical relationship “was finished”, but the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is working on the horizontal relationship during this next season of revival. The Price: total, unconditional surrender to the Holy Spirit. Can you trust that?