An early proponent of Keswick theology once wrote, “Christians need not sin, and if they allow the Holy Spirit to ‘operate invariably’ they will not sin.” There are numerous problems in this one sentence, not least of which is that it represents a fundamental misunderstanding about how sanctification works in a Christian’s life. Another issue is the idea that Christians can reach a point of sinlessness (or near-sinlessness). But a big problem hiding behind the others is one that is repeated in countless Christian sermons, books, social media thoughts, and even songs. It is the notion of “letting God.”
We must “allow the Holy Spirit” to operate, this thinking goes.
I don’t know if you noticed, but this sounds a lot like the Holy Spirit is our servant, a cosmic butler of sorts, rather than—oh, I don’t know—the third Person of the Trinity and thus our God.
I get the heebie-jeebies when I come across language like this, which is a lot more often than I would like. Christians who ought to know better routinely begin statements with phrases like “God can’t” or “God needs.” We are told that we need to “let God” do all manner of things before he can guide us, bless us, reward us, etc.
To all of this we ought to say that any God who needs us to activate him is not much of a god at all.