When I think of the word overruled, I’m immediately transported into some cheesy courtroom drama, with a lofty judge snapping “overruled!” to a bumbling lawyer. RT Kendall defines overrules as to disallow by exercising one’s superior authority. Like that judge, the Holy Spirit overrules our bumbling defences when we want to do something wrong or sometimes take a particular course of action that isn’t necessarily wrong in itself, but it’s just not his way.
The Holy Spirit says “no” as he knows better and has a better plan. He overrules because he loves us. These days I’m having to overrule my small boy’s actions and curiosity because I know some of the things he wants to do could hurt him or hurt others. He doesn’t know that, so he often gets grumpy when I take him away from what he wants to play with.
God overrules for individuals and for nations. The Holy Spirit overruled Balaam’s attempt to curse Israel (Numbers 22-24), he overruled Peter’s prejudice against gentiles (Acts 10), he overruled Paul’s plans on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-15).
The Holy Spirit has the authority to overrule our decisions, because he is God. But he isn’t a disinterested judge, he is a loving parent who knows what is best for us. So don’t get grumpy, rather look for his better plan (Romans 8:28)