Submission to the Holy Spirit
By Ruth Davis
Surrender to manifest spirit
Nowhere in the Bible do we read any exhortation to submit to the Holy Spirit, or to surrender to the Holy Spirit. These words simply cannot be found in God’s Word.
But Charismatics, Christian mystics, and many in the emerging Church use these terms in connection with practices such as contemplative prayer, being slain in the spirit, and soaking in the Spirit. “Submit to the Holy Spirit,” they say. “Just open up.” “Just trust.” They encourage us to “let the Spirit have His way” with us, to surrender and receive, to soak in the river, etc. They expect a spirit, which they believe to be the Holy Spirit, will manifest in response to their prayer, meditations, or invocations. And it is true that a sense of spiritual sweetness, love and peace often manifests, sometimes powerfully.
But, what spirit is this? What experience is this?
Those who claim to be Christian must turn to the Bible for guidance. They must ask, Is submission to the Holy Spirit a Biblical concept? The answer is a resounding No! It sounds good, but in fact the concept is occult. It is a deceptive, occult counterfeit of genuine, biblical submission.
What does the Bible say about submission and surrender?
When I was involved with Charismatics I began asking questions about their practices and turned to the Bible for help. Prayerfully, and using the old-fashioned method, the King James Version with Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, I discovered that Scripture never — not once, not ever — speaks about opening up to or surrendering to the Holy Spirit. Although the Bible speaks of opening blind eyes to see, deaf ears to hear, barren wombs, etc., there is not one single exhortation to “open” yourself to God or to the Holy Spirit.
Neither is the word “submission” ever used in the sense of submission to spiritual presence or power. In fact, the range of use of the word submission is quite limited in Scripture. We can do a complete review here. This should satisfy careful readers that the entire concept of submission to a manifest spirit is unbiblical. References to submission in the Bible occur in certain limited senses, as set out below:
(1) Abasing or afflicting the self. For example, the Lord urged Hagar to submit to ill treatment at the hands of Sarai (Genesis 16:9);
(2) Humbling the self to honor another: The psalmist asked God to command kings to submit to Him by bringing gifts in tribute (Psalm 68:30);
(3) Unwilling obedience; that is, forced submission to the authority of another as in:
–submission to persons in authority by obeying them (2 Samuel 22:45, also Psalm 18:44)
–through the greatness of God’s power enemies of the Jews would submit. (Psalm 66:3)
-God said He would cause Israel’s enemies to submit if only Israel would walk in His ways (Psalm 81:15); and
(4) Willing obedience or submission to the authority of another as in the following Scriptures:
-all the princes and mighty men willingly submitted to Solomon as king (1 Chronicles 29:24)
-we are exhorted to submit as follows:
-believers to godly elders(1 Corinthians 16:16, I Peter 5:5, Hebrews 13:17)
-wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18)
-believers to God (James 4:7)
-believers to human institutions and authorities (1 Peter 2:13)
-believers to fellow believers (Ephesians 5:21)
Lastly, Paul noted in Romans 10:3 that there are many who have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; these people fail to submit to the righteousness of God.
We see from the above, which are the complete results of my search, that there are no exhortations to submit to a spirit, a spiritual force, spiritual energy or manifest spirit. NEVER. In fact, the entire idea of submitting passively to manifest spirit is occult, as is more fully explained in the book sold on this Website, True to His Ways: Purity & Safety in Christian Spiritual Practice.
Submitting to spirits is Satan’s counterfeit of godly submission, which is obedience to the word of God and to His moral commands. Occult submission to spirits in fact involves communion with devils and is therefore incredibly defiling and dangerous.
Needless to say, occult communion with demonic spirits is forbidden to believers.
Biblical Submission: passive or active?
Occult submission is essentially passive and mindless. It involves stilling the mind and opening oneself up to receive from the hidden, that is, from the occult, spirit world..
Biblical submission is never passive or mindless. It is active and mindful. It means using our minds to learn God’s will. It means using our wills to obey. It is a reasoning, deliberate response born out of a love for God’s law that has been written upon our hearts. It is all about obedience to that law and submission to the will of God as given in His law, in particular, the Ten Commandments as expounded on the Mount. This is not legalism, this is how we prove that we love God, for Jesus Himself said that whoever does — that is, actively performs — the will of God, is part of His family (Mark 3:35). The writer to the Hebrews said, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). Scripture is clear that obedience is precious to God. For Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
Godly submission is the practice of obedience. It’s that simple.
(Still not convinced? Please purchase a copy of my book and I think it will be perfectly clear.)
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© Ruth Davis, Baruch House Publishing. Posted 2008.