Observations On Spontaneity & Planning
There seems to be an unfortunate split among Christians in understanding how God likes best to work in this regard. One camp thinks it best to be unprepared and let God move spontaneously. The other, that God works best through diligent preparation, study, and planning. But why not both? If we are honest, we might find that these polar extremes may be more oriented to our carnal natures than to the life of Christ in us.
These extremes can be made to balance, like iron sharpening iron, in submission and respect to each other, with the result being that God can use both spontaneity and preparation to His glory in our meetings.
Spontaneous In The Flesh?
In the case of the spontaneous, might not being dogmatic about this be a symptom of laziness or a lack of understanding the value God has placed on certain disciplines the spontaneous Christian is deficient in? The "take no thought beforehand" verse (Mk 13:11) often quoted is actually for a specific situation when we have a chance to speak to RULERs--where we are most likely to plan furtively to say the right thing. Get it? This verse is given in particular to thwart our fleshly tendency to over-plan when we are about to be hauled in front of a famous, impressive, or intimidating person. But in general does not God most usually honor preparation and study--as opposed to flippancy and laziness? Is not an excessive emphasis on spontaneity a display of disrespect for what God holds in high regard, or even certain spiritual gifts of others? As a discipline here, those with such proclivities should be encouraged to seek the Lord in the secret place, to stand in His council, and to come prepared with a song or insight or praise (1Cr 14:26), even if in the actual meeting they feel led to go another direction.
Many in the spontaneous camp are merely reacting to the sterility of ritual and brute force of tradition with no regard or reliance on the Holy Spirit. They have rarely seen God use and anoint planning. They have seen it more often lead to dead religion. If they saw real Spirit-led planning in action, they would readily accept it.
Planning In The Flesh?
In the case of the over-preparation types, might not planning to the point of rigidity be a symptom of a lack of trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit? Should we not at the outset be ready to submit to a higher need or greater good that might arise? Is not an excessive emphasis on preparation a display of disrespect for the leadership of the Holy Spirit, or even certain spiritual gifts of others? As a discipline here, the person with a proclivity towards rigid planning should always have the attitude that God may have a different theme, direction, agenda, or order for a meeting, and be consistently sensitive to this. For we do not want to be found pontificating on our "deep studies" of "who the Sons of God are" if someone is contemplating suicide in the group. Let us never make an idol or become defensive about an agenda or plan, but always be ready and submissive to the Holy Spirit's leading.
Many in the preparation camp are merely reacting to the oft experienced "dead air" that can result when God is put to the test for our lack of preparation. They have rarely seen God use and anoint spontaneity. They have seen it more often lead to dumb stares and embarrassment. If they saw real Spirit-led spontaneity in action, they would readily accept it.
1 Cor 14:40 (NIV) Let all things be done decently and in order.
Col 2:5 (NIV) For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are...
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