I need to get something off my chest.
I have heard prayers from the pulpit that say, “Holy Spirit, we give you permission to work in our lives” and I have also heard some testify to God working in their lives, “even without permission.”
Whenever I hear that, my mind says “WHAT?!” [Insert sound of tires screeching here]
Perhaps we confuse permission with submission.
Permission is something that is granted. Permission is the exercise of one’s authority to allow something to take place. Is our authority greater than God’s? I don’t think so. God is the one who grants; throughout the Scriptures he grants favor, life, blessings, mercy, wisdom and ultimately, repentance and salvation. (Go ahead, do a word search on the word “grant” and its variations in the Scriptures).
Submission is yielding to an authority greater than our own. We submit to God (James 4.7); the church submits to Christ (Eph. 5.24); Jesus submitted to the Father (Luke 22.42). God does not submit to us.
I’ll leave you with Daniel 4.35 from the Contemporary English Version:
“God controls the stars in the sky
and everyone on this earth.
When God does something,
we cannot change it
or even ask why.”
Going forward, let’s make sure that we submit to God, for He surely does not need our permission to work in us.