There are two laws from whence we can walk; one brings spiritual death the other life. Life has many unseen spiritual characteristics, where the evidence of its reality is only found in the hidden most inner place of the believer, e.g. peace and grace to mention just two. Life is a word that is synonymous with the kingdom as seen in the gospel of John. Opposed to the synoptic gospels use of kingdom, John only mentions kingdom three times, but he mentions life numerous times. Life, as John mentions is representative of the kingdoms atmosphere or inner presence in ones life, in other words, that eternal life which proceeds from the activities of the Spirit, from the Father, to the believer, in Christ. Our inheritance of the unseen invisible uncreated kingdom of God begins here and continues on into the next life.
We move from the page to the experience of the kingdom or life when we walk after the dictates of the Spirit, and no longer after the flesh… to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Recognize that before one begins to walk after either the dictates of the flesh or the Spirit he or she has already spent much time either setting their minds upon the thoughts, impulses, inclinations, or desires of the flesh or Spirit. We learn to walk by the Spirit from the Spirit. The Spirit takes our confessions of the word of Christ and makes them real and true in us. We can confess that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength yet when you attempt to walk this word out on your own, in your daily life, you always come up short. The work of sanctification is the inner work of the Spirit. Also the discovery of both our true sinful nature is the also the work of the Spirit. Until we completely see and realize what the scripture says about our fallen nature is true about us, we cannot set aside our futile attempts to a righteous life and rely upon the Spirit of Christ to do His work in our hearts. Until what the bible says about us, that is our redeemed self, is written upon our hearts can we truly walk upright before out God. Our only source for good is Christ who is seated at the right hand of God in His kingdom.
Note it is not until we begin to recognize that which is communicated from Gods kingdom, that is, His eternal life do we begin understand our source for goodness. Goodness is not of our selves but any goodness proceeds from the Father via the Son. Jesus explained… A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Your mouth reveals what your heart and mind has already been set upon and what your the treasure of your heart is. Setting your mind on the things of the Spirit are those things taught and communicated by the Spirit, i.e. His instruction given and received. On a daily basis, setting our minds upon the things of the Spirit results in a receiving both old and new instructions, i.e. the renewing of both mind and spirit with those things gathered in Christ, both old and new covenants.
As mentioned a prerequisite to knowing life is setting our minds upon the things of the Spirit, notice in Romans Pauls says “things of the Spirit” and not just Spirit. Jesus also spoke of those “things” the Spirit would reveal when He explains the various activities of the Spirit in each of us…and He (Holy Spirit) shall take the things of mine and show them unto you. Following after the Spirits dictates, in our daily life, will put us on solid spiritual ground to receive and know the newness of life; the eternal life of God in Christ. However, if we persist in following the dictates of the flesh, we will find ourselves at odds with our heavenly Fathers Will and His means of imparting righteousness, where it has always been His purpose to gather to Himself a holy nation.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Not only had the Father imputed Christ righteousness but also wants to impart it to us. To remain in the former assures us of our right standing with Him however to walk in the latter assures us of our means of possessing a God given capability to walk differently in this world. A means not as an extension of our self efforts, but according to the Fathers gathering all things into His Son, our source to walk upright before the Father. The more we get to know our own weakness the greater our dependence upon the Spirit in us by faith. However, upon our neglect or not understanding the Fathers purpose in giving us His Spirit, our means of our walking upright, in His Son. Inner weakness is a consequence of an absence of the manifestation of Christ life, in our spirit, where in its absence, we are truly spiritually dead inwardly with no Spirit given abilities. The experience of the majority of Christians is this life is barely recognizable, and if it is, certainly ebbs quickly. I’m not talking about hell, but the evidence of the life of Christ in our daily life that equipped us to walk upright and holy before the Father.
If we want to know life, and know it daily, the one thing we must pay close attention to is what it is to follow the dictates of the Spirit. Primarily, these Spirit given dictates have everything to do with our internal and external behaviors and little to do with personal directions, i.e. … that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Many have difficulties in following the dictates of the Spirit simply because their thinking is out of synch with the Holy Spirit. The Spirits major emphasis is personal righteousness and holiness in Christ, and certainly is not religion, personal success, nor material things; for if the Father is holy so should His offspring be, i.e. those whom were born of Him. Therefore to be in-synch with the Father is to be in-synch with His Will, and to be in-synch with His Will is to be in-synch with the dictates of the Holy Spirit regarding personal holiness and righteousness of behaviors. Walter Marshall, Sanctification or The Highway of Holiness explains,
The effectual causes of those four principal endowments (Christ incarnation, death, resurrection, and our personal sanctification in Him), which, in the foregoing direction, were asserted as necessary to furnish us for the immediate practice of holiness, are comprehended in the fulness of Christ, and treasured up for us in Him; and the endowments themselves, together with their causes, are attained richly by union and fellowship with Christ. If we be joined to Christ, our hearts will be no longer left under the power of sinful inclinations,, or in a mere indifferency of inclination to good or evil; but they will be powerfully endued with a power, bent, and propensity to the practice of holiness, by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, and inclining us to mind spiritual things, and not to lust after the flesh.
The Spirit gives us “things”, or things of the Spirit, e.g. wisdom and understanding on how we should daily walk upright before our holy God, i.e. He gives insight into what is flesh, body, and what is spirit, and specifically what His, the Spirit, dictates are in accord with the progressive unveiling of the knowledge of the Sons life (spirit and Spirit); the Sons ways, heart, and passions, passions for His Fathers Will to be done. In addition, the Spirit is the administrator of those many spiritual blessings in Christ, our resource for living. We have in Christ those things that we might daily partake of so as to walk righteously i.e. upright in thought, intentions, and behaviors. Living after the Spirits dictates, or the flesh is a daily occurrence and attending to one or the other has consequences. As we learn to walk, according to the Spirit, we will begin to experience kingdom actualities (e.g. joy, peace, grace, strength etc.).
Another way of considering following the dictates of the Spirit is as Paul describes in several verses, in four different letters, to the various assemblies. Paul explains… be transformed by the renewing of your mind… the inward man is being renewed day by day… renewed in the spirit of your mind… renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him… Specifically, Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says this… And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness (Amplified). Again, as noted above these are the “things of the Spirit”, where renewing of the mind is in accordance to what the Spirit seeks to give all us, and give on a daily basis (His things) all which contribute to the renewal of both mind and spirit.
Daily, and constantly, we need to be renewed in our minds, and spirit, i.e. possessing a fresh mental and spiritual posture and approach in terms of living and walking worthy of the Lord, and it is the Holy Spirit who is our help and our means to this daily renewal according to the truth that is in Christ; recognizing that the Spirit resides in our spirit and not our mind therefore the Spirit provides insight, illumination, enlightening of our spiritual eyes where the mind simply assist in capturing what resides in our spirit. Our minds do not have the capability to receive those things higher than it is; it is our spirit that has this capacity. The problem of solely being dependent upon our mind is it changes often, there are both external and internal stimuli that distract it, and it certainly is not very efficient in that it can only hold a small percentage of the information it takes in either audioably or visually, and over time, memory begins to decay and we forget a lot of what had been previously stored; so how ineffective is this mind if we are dependent upon it to sustain us and especially if the mind is the dominant force in our life.
Therefore, depending upon what is bidding for the minds attention at the moment usually is what controls it; nevertheless, the mind was never meant to govern all aspects of how we live but the spirit is. Why the spirit, because it is the Holy Spirit, in our spirit, who is our constant, and as Paul explains, we have the mind of Christ, i.e. we have access to it through the Spirit and His mind is not subject to change, nor decay, and does not suffer any memory loss and cannot be swayed by various interpretation of His given words; recognizing that the words that He gave us are from the Father and according to His Will for all of us.
Therefore, we can be renewed by the Spirit daily in terms of having the mind of Christ for us personally and corporately. It is the Spirit who methodically and sovereignly teaches us, according to the Father Wills, thus taking from the Son, and giving to us, where it is not like other means of teaching and learning, but as Paul explains, that of the enlightening of our eyes of our heart (most inner places), giving wisdom and understanding, where these things proceed from Christ, from above, and are not physical in terms of one’s normal means of learning that is both audio and visual.
In addition, not only does the Spirit take from Christ wisdom giving understanding but also takes from His heart and communicates His mercies, grace, peace, and also takes from His resurrection power giving strength and our means to minister. As we engage the Spirit, and He engages us, it is in this manner that we can daily be renewed, renewed by the Spirit and renewed with heavenly blessings from Christ from above. Therefore, our mind is not that helpful when it comes to walking in a manner that pleases the Lord, and certainly the mind has no available wisdom, godly affections, or power, especially power to assist us in resisting sin or its power over us. Also, in terms of our believing God, the mind falls short every time, and if the mind is not constantly stimulated or educated regarding biblical things it sorely falls short of what God requires. Therefore, God has given us faith, where faith resides in our spirit. As we receive heavenly stimulus faith responds and grows and becomes strong. Because God is Spirit and resides in us, in our spirit, through the Holy Spirit, in Christ, He sees faith at the heart of our spirit, and as our faith is toward God so goes our walk with Him.
It is the Holy Spirit, in our spirit, that is meant to be the dominant force when it comes to how we order our life, and without daily renewal were left to our own corruptible devices, and as Paul warns the Ephesians…. we should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.Paul indicates what level of activity the Spirit is to have in our daily life, that is, if we are to keep on tract with walking as we should, when he speaks, not only of a daily renewal but of being filled with the Spirit.
Renewal of the mind is usually thought of as a means to more education, where the Pastor says and believes that if he can only teach and educate his assembly enough they will live differently, change, and have faith. Yes, teaching and education from a human perspective has its place however renewal, as Paul speaks of it, is accomplished by the Holy Spirit and is much more desirable, useful, and fruitful in abiding in Christ and walking as He walked. The Apostle John explains to us that if we say we abide in Him, as proof of our abiding, we should walk as He walked where we recognize that in the natural man there is no ability to walk as Christ walked and if we walk in the natural, we can only make miserable claims to imitating Him falling sorely short. However, we have the Spirit of God, who dwells in us, and assist us daily administrating and communicating those things in Christ, as we abide in Him.
Therefore, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit we can constantly be renewed in our minds, daily, in accordance with the way and manner each of us walks. It is the Spirit who would engage us daily, providing to us the truth that is in Christ from many and various perspectives and insights, and certainly applies to our individual and personal lives, i.e. He personalizes our understanding to address and order our daily individual lives according to Gods Will. This given truth is from above and primarily applies to approaching every situation in a righteous and holy manner that those external and internal things we do would be acceptable to the Son of man. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is faithful in abetting each of us with the things of Christ and His life, e.g. His strength, grace, peace, resurrection power, wisdom, understanding and truth.
Why is it that we need the Spirit, which is a question that really should not be asked, for without the Spirit in our life we remain blind, spiritually dull, self-centered, self-righteous, and weak to mention just a few, however, Paul presents us with some of what the Spirit is doing in our lives when he says,
Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them(those things He has prepared for us in Christ) by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny].
For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.
Recognize that when Jesus walked this earth He was bound by space and time in that if anyone were to approach Him they did so physically, however in His resurrected body, He is available to all of us, at the same time in different places, His availability to all of us is not bounded but unbounded where now He fills all things. Jesus can respond not only to our request but to our spiritual weaknesses in that His resurrected glorified life, can be communicated to all of us, where the whole church, as His body, seated with Him in heavenly places has His resurrection power. In all that the Father blessed Jesus with, we can know, each of us.
Even as Jesus walked and spoke to individuals, the crowds or the disciples they heard His words, however remained dull in their understanding, and wrestled with the interpretations of what He was communicating to them, and certainly they could not fully understand His heart in each instructions He gave. However in His resurrected state we now have access to a knowledge of Him that is not bound by physical boundaries, but we can know His mind and heart via His Spirit who communicates to us on a much more deeper level than what is physical, mental, or emotional; thus through His Spirit He penetrates our spirit, and our spirit, our soul. Our knowledge of Jesus is not in terms of how we normally think of knowledge, this knowledge is higher than what is physical and comes to us in our spirit, through the Holy Spirit, where Jesus words are communicated with much light, life, strength, and insight etc. i.e. according to His glory which certainly are not physical, nor bound by this physical world.
Therefore you can see that if these many God given blessing in Christ are to be realized in each of our lives it requires the varied and constant activities of the Spirit in our daily lives, that we might be filled with the daily renewal of the Lords mind and heart not to mention His grace, peace, strength, wisdom, and spiritual understanding necessary that we might know Him, or have a knowledge of Him as we ought, or as Paul explains, to be found in Him and in His righteousness.
Therefore, below I mention those daily dictates of both the flesh and the Spirit, both opposing each other, that have to be seen and addressed if we are to experience life and walk uprightly. In addition, I present daily Spirit given “things” and when given we are to set our minds upon daily where these Spirit giving things contribute to the renewal of our minds. I have recorded those bits of wisdom and spiritual understanding given that the Holy Spirit has instructed me in (His dictates, His renewal), so as to continue in righteousness. I have included specific one word headings to facilitate sorting through various topics:
Childlike: Charles Spurgeon quotes Jesus words and provides us with a short commentary regarding those words, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,” is an iron rule which shuts out all but the poor in spirit; but, at the same time, it is a gate of pearl which admits all who are of that character.
Jesus word does not say except you be converted, and become literate, educated, and a theological giant ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Nor does Jesus statement say, except ye be converted and go out and do many works in my name, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The question we have to ask ourselves is do we believe Jesus, and if we believe Him, do we understand what He is saying to us, and if we understand what He is saying do we seek to enter His kingdom by no other means than as Jesus explained, as little children. A child is one who does not believe they know it all, therefore they can be taught, mentored, and instructed in righteousness. A child is dependent upon their parents for their basic needs of life, especially emotional and spiritual. If you explain to a child that there is a wonderful, majestic, and glorious kingdom that they can know they would not go out on their own and seek to enter it, but would continue to be inquisitive, desiring to know more about this kingdom and would enquire from their parents to hear more and in what way and manner they might know and enter this most majestic place.
As a child we come to the king of the kingdom solely dependent upon Him who resides there, inquiring in what manner we might know more of our kings’ kingdom. If Jesus is the king of this kingdom it behooves us to come as He bids us, that is as a child, seeking to know more of a place that is much higher than our human capability to know, and certainly there is little in us, apart from the Spirit, that can know this kingdom, and all our religious activities or studies cannot aid us to enter. If we believe Jesus that our method to enter is as a child we should seek Him to know what had been His intent regarding how He characterizes what it is to be childlike.
The Beatitudes: I believe the “beatitudes” is a misnomer in that poverty of spirit, mourning, or meekness is not an attitude that we can simply have, i.e. something that we can take upon ourselves, make a couple of changes and possess, but is a work of God’s grace in the hearts of men. Those who have an inner poverty are those who recognize that they have no spiritual substance apart from God. Those who mourn are those who know their true emptiness, feel its pain, and like someone who is starving and has deep hunger pains are those who have an inner pain and longing for what only can come from heaven. Their spiritual poverty and mourning equip them to posture their inner life toward their God, to receive from Him kingdom resources, in Christ, i.e. they are sad and hurt in recognition of their total spiritual bankruptcy.
Those who are meek and shall inherit the earth are those whom by God’s grace are finally given an entrance to this kingdom and rather than possessing feeling of superiority because they both see and know this kingdom, they maintain a meek composure toward those who do not know. There are many in the church that preach thy kingdom come yet seek to impose and force the kingdom upon this earth via their abilities, resources and organizational skills.
Jesus said it is the meek that will inherit the earth, and as God reveals His kingdom, and gives understanding into its entrance, it will be the meek who can influence and reveal the kingdom to this earth, i.e. those walking about this earth in their daily lives can influence those whom they come in contact with. If someone truly has entered their manner will be one of meekness toward others and not assertive or self-assured because what they have has been given, and is not something that human energy has found, understands, and accomplished. In other words the meek and lowly toward God and man know from whom the kingdom has come.
My Grace is Sufficient: if you think about your life and the life of other Christians where all of us have various difficulties and some more than others you might be asking yourself where is my God in all these troubles I find myself in? Paul, upon encountering a harassing spirit in his life asked God to remove it, but God did not, and responded with “My grace is sufficient for you”. I believe that though all of us are living our distinctive lives, with all its many ups and downs, God would be saying the same to us when we might be blaming others or even God for these difficulties and asking Him to remove them, and that is, My grace is sufficient. No matter what we might encounter, whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, working or not etc. it is God’s grace communicated to us daily that is meant to be sufficient for each of us to live out our life as we should before God.
Foolish and False Teachings: because believers continue to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine due to their spiritual ignorance they continue to follow after every false or foolish thing that comes along basically because they have little to no experience with the life of Christ within. Empty of realities of true life in their daily lives they continue chasing after every and anything that someone might point them to that hints to a greater understanding of the realities of Christ life and His kingdom, yet without bearing any fruit. Therefore, as this tossing continues in our day the movement toward Mosaic traditions and Jewish seasons will gain a greater foot hold in the Church thus usurping and displacing various aspects of the gospel message, placing more emphasis upon those Jewish traditions as a means to and access to the life of Christ. Now this is my opinion, and as these Jewish trends escalate we will see more and more other facets of the law, services, and Jewish tradition take over how we do church. Not unlike the Apostles difficulties with those Christian Jews of their time the contemporary church will meet with the same difficulties.
Righteousness: Jesus explains…For I say to you, that if your righteousness may not abound above that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye may not enter to the reign of the heavens (Young’s literal translation). What should be evident in a Christian’s life is the fact that if they continue to strive to walk upright in all their behaviors is proof that they have not entered the kingdom of God as they should. Christ life within each believer, and our faith to abide in Him, affords us access to His righteousness. Why had Jesus demanded a higher life, it is because He trusted in His own life, recognizing that through the new birth and the coming of the Holy Spirit, through faith, many would have access to Him and His righteousness; for salvation and for living. Paul writes…and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness…speaks to the fact of our daily access to walk upright and holy before God in Christ.
Strength: Normally the state of our spirit is weak and feeble and is barely recognizable in us, therefore in this waned state condition how can it possibly exert any influence over the flesh or soul? We are told to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might subsequently, it is the Lords strength, communicated to us, that our spirit is recognizably strong, and in this strengthened capacity it can rein over flesh and soul. It is from a place of inner strength, in our spirit, that enables us to reign over body and soul. It is Gods power working in our spirit to the end that we might be holy and blameless.
Complaining: what we say we believe and what we really believe becomes evident in how much we complain, or don’t complain. When faced with adverse circumstances we say we believe that God has oversight over our life and we trust Him in all aspects of it; however, when something negative arises and we begin to complain what does this say about what we truly believe regarding in whom we say we trust? If God has oversight and we trust Him why are we complaining against what has come into our circumstances; in doing so we are complaining against God and what He has allowed for His purposes. “Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did—and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death).
Forgiveness: Love overlooks a multiple of sins mounted against it. We speak against those who do and say things we had formerly participated in and practices due to our spiritual ignorance that is, in our days of immaturity, yet now that we see more clearly, we soon forget that at one time we did the same. Maturity, on our part, that is if it is true maturity, affords us to cover those sins in others we once knew and offended God with.
Spirit & Flesh: What has to become self-evident in each of us is what is Spirit and what is flesh; for without differentiating one from the other results in death not life.
Power: Those things internal in us that are not according to Gods Will, those powerful influences that dictate our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, can only be put it their place by that inner power the Spirit graciously gives.
Teaching: I would have rather been taught by someone who has walked but a short time in Romans 8 than someone who has studied it all their life yet never walked in it.
Mind: Because the mind and its many and varied thoughts, obsessions, and prejudges continue to have a powerful influence upon our inner life, it is only in that God works in us, according to the riches of His glory, strengthening us in our inner man, according to His Spirit, that Christ may dwell in your hearts that we can overcome its adverse pressures.
Heart: Christians explain that God loves them even as a sinner. Yes He does and God has extended His love and grace to us in spite of and in the face of the fact we are sinners and have accepted His grace and believe Him are we saved. However, God’s grace and love continues to be extended to us, yet saved, but still struggling that He might win our hearts to the point that we might love Him, and in doing so, we will walk away from our sins.
Conscience: An evil conscience is to be avoided at all cost. It is not the large sins that violate the conscience, that most need to worry about, but it is the little things in our daily life that prick our conscience that go unanswered. It is these minor violations of conscience that plague most of us to the point that we find ourselves aloof from God. A conscience, no matter how small the offense against it, when in the state of being “evil” turns us away from God and causes us to stand off from Him. Therefore, we need to keep short accounts by confessing our sins so as not to put up barriers between us and God’s grace.
Treasures: One of most important but neglected insight that all of us need to know and attend to is what the treasure of the heart is. I say insight because it takes the light of heaven to shine in our inner most hidden places so that we might see what it is that we treasure. Why the heart, because it is the place that we commune with our holy heavenly Father. The heart is the inner sanctuary in each of us that is not only capable of fellowship with God but is the place we meditate upon those things of primary interest in our life, whether good or evil. Because God is Spirit He speaks His heart, will, and life into our spirit, at its heart. The treasures of men’s hearts are diverse and in terms of each individual are numerous ranging from what is secular, worldly, and the religious. Yes, there are many things in our religion that can displace God as the true focus and desire of the heart.
In like manner that our mind needs to be set upon the Spirit our hearts single focus needs to be set upon our God in Christ. What is meant by focus is a posturing or acquiescence in a childlike manner to hear, learn, and willingness to obey. The heart is not like any other facility in us; for the mind will seek to obey out from it abilities to pragmatically reason, the emotion from fleeting burst of high and low feelings, however the heart, from a deep sense of love and appreciation to God will seek to obey and worship Him who has won it over, i.e. it is relational.
Recognize that it is God’s communicated grace, mercy, love, and goodness that win over the affections of our heart. Our harden heart is no match for God’s goodness and grace; it certainly becomes amicable and affectionate in response to the grace of God and responds to those good things He does in our lives. The greater the focus, the more we will know those many and varied attributes of the Father thus expanding the borders of our heart and love for Him; and of course with this increasing love precedes much praise, gratefulness, and thankfulness because of His divine graciousness; in this manner God becomes the center piece of our hearts and its true treasure.
Spirit and spirit: To not understand that we have a spirit and it is in our spirit that God converses with is a grave error. If we are to know God we can only know Him in our spirit as Christ reveals Him to us… and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. All knowledge of God is abstract and held in the mind; the mind is only the container of information and has no capacity to experience or know eternal life.
Faith: Faith is the substance of things hope for and the evidence of things not seen, i.e. to know Gods eternal life in our most inner parts is both substance and evidence and in its entrance our faith is nourished and is alive. Faith home is our spirit enabling and is directed and attentive toward God.
Worship: We worship God in our spirit; responding to His grace and goodness we praise and give Him thanksgiving for His goodness, mercies, and grace that have already been communicated.
Truth: We understand truth in our spirit, if we have wisdom or understanding it is given by His Spirit, to our spirit, and in this manner is His law written upon our hearts. If we are strong we are strengthen by God via His Spirit in our inner man in order that Christ may dwell by faith in our hearts. It is in our spirit that we mediate upon the truth, truth that has been revealed in our spirit. All these things transpire in our spirit, the mind profits only in that it gets involve after the fact, only assisting us in comprehending what has already taken place in our spirit.
Life: If we are alive to God it is because He is alive in us. We recognize eternal life as something existing through Christ, alive, and animated in us, we recognize death as inanimate, lifeless, no movement in us. We recognize Gods eternal life as existing in us in Christ Jesus, we are alive within through regeneration by the Spirit, our internal movements and participation is not of this world but those things that exist in our God and the life He has given us in His Son. We have transitioned from death to life, where life is our source for living righteous before God, and life is sustained through our God, in Christ who dwells in us.
Fellowship: All activities of fellowship with God take place in our spirit. God communicates with us in a most unique manner in that He enlightens the eyes of our heart that we might know Him and His Son, i.e. His communing with us is deeper than words, words in terms that we understand them to be. God grants us wisdom and revelation, i.e.… insight into mysteries and secrets, in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him…in our spirit.
Communication is one of the highest forms of fellowship can know as humans yet in most cases it is not a means to know someone as we ought to. We can communicate with someone however we never really know one’s mind or heart just their words, mere formalities, where words can say one thing yet the heart believe or is saying another.
Our God communes with us, but not formally. He speaks to the depth of our being His heart and will. There is not holding back from Him for if He chooses to speak He speaks the truth, and in this truth His will and heart are revealed, nothing is held back. Gods words coming to us are of a nature and depth that at times they are incomprehensible, yet in their coming breathe life into our spirit, are full of mercy, and His grace…the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Gods’ fellowship is deeper than words and has more impact upon us than words spoken audibly. God’s fellowship and communion in our hearts is deeper than the written text for the text only enters the mind where human reason attempts to understand it however God through His Spirit assist us to understand by showing us, by revealing to us His glory in the face of Jesus Christ…. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know… If we have light it is the out shinning of Gods glory in the face of Christ that enables us to see, see deeper than a word can travel however Gods glory, His light shines into those dark place in our spirit… For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. God has chosen the informal, the personal means of fellowship to communicate to us. God has not chosen the formality of an institution, or the rigors of study, nor does He depend upon the human mind with all its capabilities to reason, theorize, or contemplate but Gods communizes in our spirit, at its heart, His words and communes in the informalities of casual conversations.
In much fellowship does God instruct our hearts and write His laws upon them. God has not chosen a legal means to commune with us like in times past however now all will know Him, know Him in a deep inward fellowship with Him where His will comes to us with much mercy and grace persuading the heart and inner life. For as He communicates His love to us our hearts has a single response and that is to respond in like kind to Him and rather than legally obey Him now we chose to obey Him from love.
Daily Living: most all of us have had experiences with our God and His Son not to mention the Holy Spirit where we can pinpoint these experiences as milestones or things that have dramatically impacted us and could say for sure this was God. Even during various meeting and worship where we walked away with the living Gods witness in our spirit and His power overshadowing us. However, all of these experiences though important and holy as they are must give way to what is to be a daily experience of our God in us. Paul says it this way…. For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things—
That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].
[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy,
Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.
Daily we have a need to know Gods life in us that we might walk as we should and in accordance to His will. If we are not moving in this direction how can we live a holy and upright life daily with and before our God?
God’s power is not controlling in us but convincing. We might believe we have all the answers to many problems but do we have the Lords heart. Our mouth spills out all kinds of bible words but these self-same words have not the Lords heart and mind in their going out. Religion deceives the heart the Light of the Lord exposes the deception or religion.
God is at work: where is He working? He is working in us, as He wills, and He works in accordance with what He has already revealed of Himself in His Son, and continues to reveal. God does not work to change us He works to reveal Himself, in His Son, in us. We work, whether it is our thoughts, behaviors, or actions, according to God presence in us. God is only glorified in us as He or His Son is revealed in us. Gods work is diverse in that He seeks to make Himself known to us and in us.
Kingdom of God: it’s not that we do not see the kingdom, nor have entered it; it is that we must now live in it, and will take our entire commitment and focus to our God.
Holy Spirit: Christians continue to push off to the future those divine revelations given to Paul. Some even push these divine thoughts into another life altogether however, because we are spiritual people, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, we need to recognize that the Spirit occupies both heaven and earth and although we cannot reach into the heavens to know all of its blessings the Spirit in whom we are in and He in us can, and does, thus revealing them. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
Spiritual Blessings: if we believe that Gods thoughts are higher than ours why is it that we continue to exercise the soul to reason, imagine, dream, physically feel, study, all in a fruitless effort to expand the horizons of our mind so as to enter into some kind of higher knowledge of God, yet this is empty and vain that is if we believe that Gods thoughts are much higher than our thoughts therefore are not attainable through normal means. In scripture we see verses that contain words to this effect, spiritual understanding, wisdom, eyes of your heart being enlightened, God shinning in our hearts to give light, etc. whereas, we recognize that these are God granted means to a knowledge higher than we are, the knowledge of Christ not revealed to the mind, but the heart, knowledge that cannot be revealed to the mind, but through the power of God and according to His Will are reveal to us in our spirit, at its heart.
Inheritance: we have an inheritance in Christ in whom God has placed all blessings, i.e. His grace, mercies, peace etc. As Christians we can partake of these blessings as we abide in the Son in whom we have been accepted. However, if we persist in sin, self-centeredness, given to the dictates of the flesh, overtly pre-occupied with the world we will find ourselves outside of our inheritance.
Love your Neighbor: where the rubber meets the road in terms of the quality and robustness of our faith is if we in fact love our neighbors. Yes we love God, at least we say we do, but that is determined by both our internal and external predispositions toward Him. Initially, we have to know what it means to love God with all our hearts and it is at this point that He communes with us and communicates His love to us, i.e. the evidence of His love is revealed in us. In turn we love Him, for He has created us with the capability to both love and return love; therefore we return His love to Him. Why His love, because it is pure and undefiled unlike human emotion. However, now that we understand Gods love, have experienced it, the test of the validity of whether we truly know His love is; can we love our neighbors. Loving your neighbor has many behaviors, some foreign to the normal Christian and some familiar. The familiar ones are the easiest and usually can be demonstrated from a sense of obligation to the scriptures, i.e. love your neighbor. However, the real test comes in terms of behaviors that are above us, ones we cannot easily mimic or demonstrate. What are these behaviors, toward our neighbors, and especially those within our ranks, in our assemblies? Here are the demonstrations of this love and its primary characteristics toward others, especially those whom we might not get along with and find ourselves at odds with: love, or Gods love in you is kind, it’s not rude, does not parade itself, is not puffed up, it suffers long, it thinks no evil of its neighbor, it does not seek its own, it is not easily provoked. If these behaviors are ones you can lay claim to, not only in good times but more profoundly in bad, you pass the test. Many stay away from the church primarily because of those who are in it therefore only love will take them back to where they belong.
Grace: those who do not know God’s grace in their daily life have to find all kinds of substitutes for it such as a happy thought, music, food, the joy of a future event, emotional conversation, in other words, anything that they can find that will uplift their emotional state. God’s grace is communicated to our heart and it alone uplifts our spirit.
Light: John writes to Christians to walk in the light as He (Jesus) is in the light that they might have fellowship with one another. Recognizing that the devil rules in the realms of darkness if the church does not walk in the light as indicated it is walking in darkness, where all kinds of sins that can divide and even destroy its fellowship amongst one another. Walking in the light, as John admonishes rather than darkness assures the church a means of constant and true fellowship that unifies rather than divides.
Faith: Christianity has everything to do with faith and without it we are without. Faith cannot exist in a vacuum because its source is God from who precedes eternal life. Faith has one focus and that is God who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, in whom faith exist. Faith is organic in that to thrive it has to be nourished to grow. Faiths nourishment is spiritual in nature and requires two primary things to be healthy in us. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. The two things required for faith to flourish are spiritual substance and evidence of this same substance. The substances are those spiritual graces in Christ given from above by the Father and administered by the Holy Spirit. We see and understand what is spiritual with the eyes of our heard for it is God who shines His light in our spirit to see the glory He has abundantly poured out upon His Son and it is God who gives the knowledge and understanding of these heavenly things and the knowledge of the fact that we are in Christ- in this manner our faith hopes. The evidence of those spiritual and heavenly things that exist, yet are unseen in Christ, and as these manifest in us, our faith lives.
I Never Knew You: in his letter to the Ephesians Paul explains that Christ descended as well as ascended that He might fill all things. Paul in the next few verses explains that Jesus personally gave ministries to men… And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints…however, we see Jesus explaining in the gospel of Matthew that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the kingdom of God, and even though they call Him Lord and minister in His name, casting out demons, prophesied etc. He does not know them. Jesus personally gave these ministries to His Church and expects various fruit from them, and as head He is the director and administrator of these ministries given, and certainly does Jesus dispose heavenly things (gold, silver, and precious stones) to these ministries as He wills. In Ephesians latter verses we are told what Jesus purposes and basically intended for these men and that is the edifying of His body and certainly are not for individual ministries successes, i.e. their size, growth, financial, power, and personal recognition. One who never knows Jesus heart of love for His church will always be a hireling, and not a true shepherd to the Lords sheep. I never knew you speaks of ministries that have gone their own way, done their own thing in the name of the Lord, yet remain lawless; lawless because of their self-ambitious and self-centered approach to ministry and are those who remain unable to take their direction from the Head of the Church, because of their self-centeredness, i.e. it is their ministry. Jesus in saying I never knew you speaks of something relational, personal, and has various personal restraints in place due to the fact that Jesus has personally taught and equipped these ministries. Are these ministries or ministers going to hell, no? However, as far as their building materials used (gold, silver, and precious stones) are questionable because they remain outside of what Jesus wants and desires for His body. Therefore their fruitfulness will never come to full fruition because it can only flourish in that these men have fully entered the kingdom of God, i.e. it has possession of them, however, and their lawlessness will keep them from the kingdom and the King. Contrary to bringing what was given under the submission and control of the King, these men and their ministries run on human effort and according to human abilities and in much human determination. Therefore, what can be said and is said by Jesus says will exclude them… not everyone who calls me Lord will enter the kingdom of God.
Communication: recognize that God is a willing communicator especially when He finds those listeners who are willing to learn from Him; instructed regarding how to walk in a manner that is worthy and pleases the Lord.
Jesus the Son of Man: I think most of us forget or can’t image in what manner Jesus was a man, not so much unlike all of us. He was without sin yet He was tempted in all manners as we are though He did not sin. Yes, Jesus is body, soul, and spirit who both had the Holy Spirit upon Him and in Him. Upon Him, in that we read of various times when He said that the power of the Spirit was with Him to heal the sick. However, what I would emphasize here and take comfort in is that the Spirit was in Him, in the same manner that He is in us. Jesus behaviors, both internal and external, all had the mark of the instructions, insights, and illuminations of the Holy Spirit. The Father communicated with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, communicating His heart, His word, and His affections. The Fathers holiness, Jesus was both instructed in and Jesus would abide in. All that Jesus taught He had been instructed in by the Father. Jesus love had been the love of the Father in Him where He instructs us to abide in His love as He had His Fathers. Now, in Christ the Spirit takes of His, and instructs us communicating His love, grace, and power to us that we might walk in like manner.
Smell the Roses: we all have heard someone say, slow down and smell the roses, however, it is not the roses we need to smell but it is the heavenly life we all have been called into. Due to either a fast paced secular or religious life many Christians have little to no experience in heavenly realms. God the Father has made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ where we now need to abide and rest, and as we rest, it is at that point we can begin to know the blessings of this new life in Christ.
Christianity, different from other world religions: Paul in his letter to the various Churches explained that when they heard the gospel they believed and could be said is true of every religion; that its converts and practitioners listened to the message of their religion and believed it. However, regarding this hearing and believing for all other religions stops there and when compared to the conversion experiences of Christians goes beyond simply believing.
Paul continues on in his explanation of the conversion process saying, in their believing the gospel they received, received the Holy Spirit. No other religion on this planet can lay claim to this reception of the holy third person of the Godhead, who has now entered both the life and inner most places of the believing Christian; if a Christian is holy it is because of the manifestation of Him who is holy, for the Holy Spirit is the image of the holiness of God (Father, Son, and Spirit).
Paul did not stop there, but continues to explain that not only had these Christians believed and received but they also had witnessed the demonstration of the Holy Spirits power; amongst them in terms of the miracles He performed, and in them, in terms of His power exhibited. We can see that each Christian’s faith is based in more than “blind faith”. Whether it is the atheist, the agnostic, or religious fanatic they all rely upon blind faith, however the Christian relies upon a God given faith and the demonstration and power of the Spirit both within and without.
Gods Goodness: what might you think about in asking of God the Father, and His subsequent response, to our minor requests might be too trivial for Him, what might be His reaction? Would He distain such request as beneath Him, or something He might not want to be bothered with? I believe, if asked with sincerity and faith His attitude is one of joy that He might reveal Himself, i.e. His love and goodness. When we receive our answer, no matter how trivial our request had been, I believe God takes pleasure in seeing our joy in the receiving from Him.
Jesus explains to His disciples… Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. Remember in this context Jesus had explained He was going away, where upon His death the disciples went their ways believing it was over. Yet Jesus also explained He would come again to them, yet not physically, but through the Holy Spirit, therefore, in asking in His name and their receiving would be just one example of Jesus being made alive and latter risen.
One of our joys in receiving what we ask for really is not in receiving, but more in line with the fact that Jesus is risen and attentive to our request, i.e. He who created heaven and earth actually heard us, and answered our request, this is where our joy really lies and finds its greatest expression in that God has heard, recognizes our existence, is not mad at us, and has honored our request; there can be no greater joy than this.
Preaching and Preachers: Listening to the preacher who is well educated, has a formal biblical education, and has spent many years studying commentary, biblical topics, theology, and apologetics one might be tempted to embrace his instructions as able to convert the soul. However it is only life, spiritual life, that converts the soul. Jesus in explaining that His words came directly from the eternal Father through the Spirit, were light, full of grace and life should be a warning against what is only a surrogate of the true light.
All who would chose to depend upon the human mind, its many reasoning’s, bent toward what is logical, and ability to remember and be educated must know that these things resident in our minds do not convert the soul. Belief resides in the mind and is mortal; however faith resides in the spirit and is eternal. It is the Spirit that converts the soul and not education. A.W. Tozer explains what is the intent of the Spirit,
…when the Holy Spirit comes, He takes the things of God and translates them into language our hearts understand.
God prepares a man whom He has poured His life giving words into through His Spirit, and certainly has not prepared a man whom this world, and its educational institution, has pour their words into. It was said of D.L. Moody, after he was filled with the Spirit, there had been a major difference in his preaching and its impact upon every soul,
…he preached the same sermons after he was filled with the Spirit. “I didn’t change sermons but, what a difference.” Moody had the power that penetrated. Before he simply tried to reason with people, beg them and coax them to come. Now a divine penetration went straight through, passed their reasoning power into their heart.
In this tone we need to remember Paul’s words to those who would build upon the true foundation wood, hey, and stubble or gold, silver, and precious stones for the fire will test the true nature of the building materials used. Those who continue to solely believe that the soul of man is converted by more biblical education and instruction apart from spiritual life should know their work will be tested. What I believe this testing by fire, for all of us, is the trying of one’s faith throughout their life, where if a preacher has poured into the assemblies gold, silver, and precious stone they will endure all the various testing, however, if the preacher has built upon the foundation wood, hey, and stubble these will not be able to endure the fires of testing, thus what they believe is easily compromised, effortlessly shaken, and in some cases will fall from grace.