A Look at a Book
BOOK REVIEW: Holy Spirit Possession by Florence Udell
I first read Holy Spirit Possession by Florence Udell when I was wrestling with a choice God had presented to me. I had a decision to make, a serious one, and this book helped me make the right one. Since then He has presented plenty more, as He does with all of us, and the principles in this book have greatly enlightened me about God’s dealing with us, and our response back. For Mrs. Udell probes to the depths the meaning of "Not my will, but Thy will be done," and "… present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God."
Many may have read Norman Grubb’s biography of Rees Howells, the Welsh coal miner in whose life we see the very definition of intercession. Mrs. Udell uses Rees Howell’s life to show the true meaning of being filled or possessed by the Holy Spirit. This is not some sweet speaking in tongues ecstacy for the Christian, but rather a total purging and emptying of everything but the Holy Spirit. God asked to totally control Rees Howells body without reservation. He told him that "what is permissible for ordinary man will not be permissible for you."
In other words, Rees was asked to give up the whole of his life-lock, stock and barrel. The choice for Rees was excruciating, and he wept for days, wishing God had never made him this offer, for he was seeing the cost. The
choice was between all earthly gain and all eternal gain. He could not have both. When Rees finally acquiesced to the Holy Spirit, and became a vessel sealed to His use.
We see then God’s dealing with him, chastening and disciplining him through level after level of obedience, from praying one man into the kingdom, to interceding for a woman he was never to speak to, to being totally available to meet the needs of homeless tramps, and finally to giving up his young son so that he and his wife could answer God’s call to go to Africa. And from Norman Grubb’s biography, we know that he later interceded throughout World War II for the destruction of Nazism so that the world could hear the gospel. Such cost, but such gain!
Thus Mrs. Udell explains that Holy Spirit possession is not just a single spiritual experience. It is rather a lifetime of daily sacrifice. It is a place in Christ where one dies daily, in order that the life of Christ might be manifested through one in practical ways. "You decide to submit to doing whatever He does without question. It means you surrender all claim to ownership-nothing is your own, including your very life." Wisely, Mrs. Udell cautions about working up some selfimposed sacrifice and coming up with a list of things to surrender. She says, "Your surrender to the Holy Spirit is an agreement between you and Him wherein you give your body, soul, spirit, material possessions, your everything to Him for His service, right where you are. Just what the Holy Ghost will demand of you is yet to be worked out through your daily living. Those things are in His hands. He will bring them about as He sees fit and when He sees fit." In other words, God is the boss. He will run the show in you, as you.
But what else can it mean when Christ said "Of myself I do nothing. It is the Father who does the works" and "Take up your cross daily and follow me"? Or Paul when he says "I die daily." "For it is God who worketh in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure." This is not a life for the few, but for all Christians, for Jesus Christ has come totally and unequivocally into each of us, casting out the god of self-centeredness. We are truly bought with a price and are not our own. So the only mistake we might make in reading this book would be to think, "Oh I could never be like that. I could never give up all that for God." Be careful. This goes to the very root of our identity, for Jesus Christ hung on the cross to take that lie of "I"-that me joined to Satan-to the grave. So there really is no such thing as "my" life to surrender, is there? Jesus Christ really does possess us 100% and has no goal except to live a sacrificial saving life through us. Our true obedience and surrender is to believe this fact. As this book makes clear, our part is the believing and God does the rest.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 10 No 2
- Questions & Answers
- To All Believers…It’s As Simple As This
- Editor’s Note
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- No Grey For God
- The Nature of Faith
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Word of Faith
- Just Say the Word
- A Life with a Purpose
- Reflections on the Twelve Steps
- The Mailbox
- Words to Live By
- Christianity’s Lost Chord