Yielding to the Holy Spirit

Yielding to the Holy Spirit

Robert Wurtz II


“Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”” (Genesis 6:3 NAS95)


You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51 NKJV)


“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 ESV)


“Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'” (Acts 9:5 NKJV)


“Like a whip for a horse and a goad for a donkey, so is the rod for a lawless nation.” (Proverbs 26:3 NETS, LXX)


I have taken the unusual step of presenting five verses as the “golden texts” of this entry. My goal is to introduce a concept that some have never heard and remind those who have. That concept is yielding to the authority of the Holy Spirit, and it is one of the most important subjects we can address as teachers and preachers of God’s word.


Our first text is from Genesis and reads in part, “Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever (…).” The Hebrew word for strive is din (diyn or dun), and it means “to govern.” God’s Spirit seeks to govern humankind individually. When people resist His government, He limits how long He will attempt to establish His governance. That is both sobering and alarming.


Acknowledging God’s Dealings   


It is disturbing to realize that even religious people “resist” the governance of God in their lives. Stephen told the religious leaders that they always resisted the Holy Spirit. This Greek word means “always, ever, continually, and at all times.” So we might say that they perpetually resisted the Holy Spirit. We will look at this concept of resisting later, but generally speaking, people must know and acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is perpetually “striving” with them because they are perpetually resisting. 


God works relentlessly to bring people into subjection to His Holy Spirit until finally, He stops. This is the implication of Genesis 6:3. To “resist the Holy Spirit” is to fight against God’s dealings (Acts 7:51). The Greek word antipipto is translated as “resist” in the KJV, which is too weak. The word means to set against in battle or rush against headlong. Resisting is the opposite of what we are expected to do, which is to submit or surrender


Inward Dealings


Sometimes God deals with us inwardly by convicting us of our sin, while other times, He uses His word like an ox goad to get us back on the right track. Conviction of sin is similar to the conviction we feel from our conscience (John 8:9). When the religious leaders wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery, their conscience rebuked them, and the men left her alone. David spoke of how the hand of the Lord was heavy upon him (Psalm 32:4). It was a way of expressing what old-time preachers called “Holy Ghost conviction.”



“The words of the wise are like goads (…).” (Ecclesiastes 12:11a ESV) 


Jesus told Saul, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Stephen’s words were like goads in Saul’s (Paul’s) side! He had to be convicted by both the word of God and the Spirit of God. “It is hard for you…” Who can relate to these words? It’s hard to sleep. It’s hard to think clearly. It’s hard to find peace. It’s hard to do anything when we are kicking against the goads, that is to say, kicking against every means that God is using to establish His authority in our lives. 


As discussed in previous articles, goading relates to oxen and donkeys needing to be “goaded” to keep them plowing straight (Proverbs 26:3 NETS, LXX). Jesus “goaded” Saul with all kinds of means, but he refused to yield. He refused to submit to God. He was doing what all who resist the Holy Spirit do and have ever done. It’s like we need a generation of preachers to rise up and declare without fear or favor to a lost and dying world, “It is HARD for you to kick against the goads!” It’s HARD to sleep. It’s HARD to find peace. 


“Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard.” (Proverbs 13:15 NKJV)


Resisting the dealings of God is hard now and will be ruinous in the end. Nevertheless, yielding to God’s dealing is the way of peace. For starters, yielding to God when He applies His word means that we acknowledge that His word is true, even if challenged by it. We embrace the word. We respond rightly to it by submitting to what it says. 


“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 ESV)


The trouble too often is that people reverse this passage. Instead, they submit themselves to the devil, resist God, and He eventually flees from them. Unfortunately, it’s easy for unbelievers to submit to the devil and resist the Holy Spirit. They always do it. It’s perpetual. It’s normalized. This is why we must bring it to peoples’ attention.


 Multitudes are carried along by spirits to do the devil’s will (1 Corinthians 12:2). Why? Because they submit to the devil. Some believers live their lives resisting the same Holy Spirit they try to operate in on Sunday. This ought not to be. How can a person change this? Answer; stop fighting the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead you to good and godly things. Make it a habit of submitting to the word of God and the dealings of the Holy Spirit. Simply put, stop resisting and start submitting. Stop running and start following.  

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