Spirit Meets Flesh


Contents

Appetizer

Meat

Bread

Wine

Dessert



Appetizer

It is often said that, in the battleground of life, we are our own worst enemies. It seems our human, physical, nature does everything it can to thwart Godís influence in our spiritual lives. Some of this may be intentional, as when we actually want to sin or donít want to be bothered with Godís wishes for our lives. But even more importantly, too often we get in Godís way out of simple ignorance concerning how God fulfills His purpose through our lives.

We have to have faith that God is preparing us for His purpose. We may not be able to see it, or "prove it out" to ourselves, but God never stops working in our lives. There is always preparation being made for both the present and the future. We can't sit back and leave it all to God to pave the way. Yet, we must be able to experience the joy of the Spirit, not allowing an overwhelming sense of "what can I do" to permeate our beings to the point that we become useless to God.

Victory does not come by our obsessively trying to get our ducks in a row, or by trying to prepare for every eventuality possible. Victory comes about through our willingness and our openness to be used by God. We must be willing to be used, to be molded, and to follow our instructions, based on the lead of the Holy Spirit. We sometimes may think we have to run our spiritual lives as a secular business. Nothing could be further than the truth. Yes, God does give us the intelligence to plan, to think things through, to match Biblical principles to situations. But all the preparation in the physical world is no match for an unbridled passion to be used in the spiritual realm.

It isn't a matter of what you can do for God. Or even what God can do for you. God has a destiny for the human race and for Christians. There is a picture larger than us. There is a picture larger than our church. There is a picture larger than any of these things. That picture shows how God intends to carry out His will. He has plans for creation, how to deal with its downfall, and how to bring about the defeat of evil; completing the restoration of what is pure and holy.

So, while we may think it is important for us to "feel God's presence" as we commune with Him, and for us to feel like we are a vital part of the body of Christ, and even to play an important role in bringing the lost to Christ -- there are underlying currents, there are unseen battles and forces in dimensions beyond our human perceptions and comprehension.

We may not be able to see the battle plan, the battleground, or the battle progress. But that in no way lessens our role and ability to exert our spiritual presence beyond the boundaries that we too quickly assume cannot be crossed. Letís review some basic passages on Godís Spirit, and then move on to discuss some more in-depth passages.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26 KJV)

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26 KJV)

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you foreveró the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:12-17 NIV)


Meat

I will list the text of a passage on spiritual matters below. Then I will comment on individual verses from that text.

1 Corinthians 2 NIV

2:1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. 6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"ó 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

Verse 7 is the first time I recall seeing the phrase ďour gloryĒ. I remember only ďglory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy GhostĒ. Glory has a holy connotation, associated only with divine nature. It seems sacrilegious to even imply you might be a recipient of Godís glory -- at least on this side of Heaven. As the previous verses tell us, we have not earned nor do we deserve His (the) glory. God is freely granting, sharing and bestowing His glory upon us. He is revealing His glory and wisdom through us. He is making the power of His Spirit known through us to other people. So we are not taking glory away from God. Through Godís Spirit, we have actually taken on the divine nature of God.


Bread

Now I will comment on individual verses from the text above.

9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"ó

Verse 9 has usually been used as a reference to Heaven, and how unimaginably great it will be.

Connecting verse 9 with Isaiah 64:4 NIV

4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

See how Isaiah says that only the one and true God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him -- His followers and children. Not only did our God have in store a wealth of secret spiritual revelations, He is the ONLY one Who can and will offer these treasures to us.

10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

Verse 10 now makes it clear that God is NOT saving all the goodies until we get to Heaven. They are here and now to partake of. They had been hidden, but now they have been disclosed to us. The Spirit has all things. Not just knowledge. But an understanding in every sense of the word beyond what our senses can absorb and communicate. And He has an ownership of everything, even beyond that.

11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Verse 11 says that the thoughts of each individual person can be understood only by that one personís own spirit, and by no one else. Only Godís Spirit can know God. We canít comprehend another and we cannot comprehend God. This is comparing man to man, than man to God, to help explain how closed off we are from others, and then accordingly from God. If we cannot know the mind of another human, how can we know the mind of God, of our own capacity?

12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Verse 12 takes us beyond verse 11. We are no longer limited to our own understanding. We are no longer a closed unit. God has opened Himself up. And He has opened Himself to give to us that which He could not give before, when we were still a closed unit.

13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

God is spiritual. Our physical rendition of reality is flawed, inadequate, and downright useless to convey Godís message of love, hope, and forgivenness. Those who have not received Godís Spirit are still relying on their physical senses to interpret and explain the world. It just doesnít work. They cannot understand God. And with no understanding of Godís Spirit, they certainly cannot have any basis with which to judge another person. Yet, mature Christians CAN judge because they know what judgment God would make in any situation.

There is a terrible deception that leads us to believe that since God is Spirit, we are separated from Him, stating that since we are physical, God cannot work through us in spiritual matters. But this is totally unfounded. Man is physical, but he is also spiritual. We think the physical and the spiritual cannot coexist. But, yes, they can.

Consider Genesis 1:1-3.

1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Godís Spirit was there at the creation. Spiritual created physical. They interact and coexist. The spiritual has reached out and caused an effect in the physical world. It actually spoke it into being.

Consider Luke 1:35 said to Mary.

35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Letís not get into a technical discussion of this, but once again the spiritual has reached out and caused an effect in the physical world.

1 Corinthians 12 lists spiritual gifts. Isnít amazing how those gifts are of a spiritual origin? Yet, they somehow affect things in the physical realm. Even the depiction of the Church as ďone bodyĒ illustrates the Church, which is Christís bride, as being physical. The physical certainly has been corrupted and leads the spiritual into corruption. However, the spiritual obviously has immense interaction with and influence upon the physical. They can work together as God intended. Or they can tear each other apart. As Satan intended.

Now back to the original passage.


Wine

"Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?"(Palms 24:3).

16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

Intertwined through this message is the comparison of man to man, man to God, and then God back to man. Of course we, as students, cannot teach the teacher. At one time, we knew nothing about the Lord. But Christís death, burial, and resurrection changed all that. Then God sent His Spirit.

What does ďwe have the mind of ChristĒ mean? We cannot bring things up to Godís level for His enlightenment. But He CAN bring us up to HIS level for our enlightenment. This happens through His Spirit living in us. The spiritual meets the physical once again.

Christ was at one time beyond our grasp. He was everything. We were nothing. We had nothing. But Christ Has graciously placed into our hands all that He has available to Him. Which is everything. Which is spiritual. Now we have the mind of Christ.

ĎHe (Jesus) said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.í (Luke 24:44-45 NIV)

The remainder of this lists some more passages. Paraphrasing, Jesus said, ďIím leaving to go to the Father. But I will send you Godís Spirit and you will inherit the power and wisdom of Godís Spirit to do His work. I have not left you unequipped. The Spirit will give you all you need for victory in the battle to bring the flesh into submission to the spiritual. I have said these things. And they will come to pass.Ē

Jesus continued, ďAs an added bonus, you will do even greater things than the miracles I have performed. Ask in faith, and it is yours. God has a perfect plan. You are an integral part of that plan. You are the instruments to carrying out the work to be done. God is truth. He has laid His plans in place, so they must be. All things are at your disposal to bring glory to God and claim victory for His Kingdom over the realm of darkness.ď

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen"(Ephesians 3:20-21).

I canít stress this enough. There is a task at hand. OF COURSE GOD IS GOING TO GIVE US THAT WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE! God isnít a loser! He is the winner. And He expects us to take up our spiritual arms and slug it out with the enemy. God is providing the ammunition, the strategy, and the manpower to blow the enemy away! Physically and Spiritually.

Hey, this sounds like I am trying to rile you up to jump into a conflict and fight. I am. But even in the midst of the conflict of battle, you will experience the greatest peace you have ever known.


Dessert

How do we begin to make the transition from thinking ďphysicalĒ to thinking ďspiritualĒ? Are you tired of all the working? Are you tired of all the thinking, trying to figure things out? Are you tired of trying to make things happen?

If you answered ďyesĒ to any of these questions, you are trying to operate under your own physical power, not through the power of Godís Spirit. What does it mean to be led of the Spirit? To follow God's will? To die with Christ? To be dead to sin?

Where is the relationship between God and us if we are doing all the work ourselves? Somewhat under His direction, but still more or less on our own, plodding away at it.

We must start leaving ourselves open to explore different spiritual gifts, with which to serve. As we do, the work is more or less taken from us, we take a step back, the Holy Spirit will do whatever it is He decides to do, and then the work is done. We do nothing other than to allow ourselves to be plugged into something, as a conduit from one thing to another. We will know when the work started. We will know when the work ended. We will know what happened. But we wonít know HOW anything took place in between. It just did. We do not have to boss the work around. It bosses itself around. Actually, the Holy Spirit is in charge and doing all the work.

God has certain things He wants us involved in, in all the warfare and in day-to-day things going on. That is the manner in which He chooses to operate. But He can stick us here today and stick us there tomorrow. It doesn't matter where we are, as long as we fall within God's will. All we need to do our part is to have an extreme willingness to be used, and to trust in all things.

Led of the Spirit
God's will
Die with Christ
Dead to sin


What do these all mean?

Just get out of the way and let God do His thing!

Step aside and Christ will reign in your life!

Turn it all over to God and He will turn it all over for you!

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