A Spontaneous Faith


A lot of people think structure and spontaneity are incompatible, but I disagree. Let me make a confession that will explain what I mean: For over three years I have been using the same Bible reading schedule. Each morning I read the assigned chapters and dutifully check off that day on the schedule. Trust me, I need the structure, and it’s a good thing for ADD guys like me. However, the Bible says “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17) and structure, if allowed, can easily become a cage that limits our spiritual freedom.

So how do you know when your structure has restricted the work of the Holy Spirit in your life? For me, I think it began to manifest in my prayer time. Did I get everybody in? Did I spend enough time? The spiritually liberated soul never worries about such things. For me, I felt nothing in terms of the Spirit’s movement and just went through my internal list. I’m embarrassed to admit how mechanical it all was. I even began to think it was even more spiritual to keep on with the structure when it seemed dull and dry. I thought; I’ll get through this dry spell, my faith is just being tested. Yet, in reality, my structure was silencing the voice of the Spirit within me.

I think we make a mistake when we begin to think our spiritual lives can be organized. A.W. Tozer once wrote: “The essence of true religion is spontaneity, the sovereign movement of the Holy Spirit upon and in the free spirit of men….When religion loses it sovereign character and becomes mere form, this spontaneity is lost, and in its place come precedent, propriety, system—and a creeping death always follows.”

The Spirit of God is not the author of confusion but he does reserve the right to upset our spiritual apple carts. He is sovereign and his work in our lives often breaks our little structures and systems. When He does we must follow his leading; especially when he takes us out of our comfort zones. We need to ask ourselves if our church services, our personal lives, our family time have organized the Spirit right out of them. Or is our spirit so in tune with Him that we have the freedom to move beyond structure to greater power and blessing?

Again, structure’s not a bad thing. In its rightful place it can foster true devotion. It is only when we begin to depend on the structure or the program; or focus on the time, the system, and the schedule that the cage begins to descend upon us. True spirituality, a life that pleases God, is one in which we are free to follow the Spirit wherever he leads. Listen for that still small voice that bids you step out of your own organized kingdom. Follow him and see what he will do, and you will discover the glorious freedom of the children of God.

True spirituality is when we're free to follow the Spirit wherever he leads, even in prayers.