Sat. Jun 12th, 2021

By Nathaniel J. Wilson

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To have a “sanctified spirit”, such as Paul spoke of in I Thess. 5:23, means that your human spirit is set apart to the service of God. To do this, we have to understand that there are characteristics of our spirits – in the same way that there are senses of our flesh. We can, by looking into God’s Word, identify what it means for our human spirit to be kept holy, or separate from uncleanness.

 

Both the Old and the New Testaments emphasize that our spirits are to be carefully in alignment with God’s nature and holiness. King David, a man after God’s own heart prayed: “Renew a right spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10).

 

“…let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the… spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 7:1).

 

The subject of the workings of the Holy Spirit in the human spirit is a very broad subject. There is no questions that we need all the understanding we can get in this very important area. Probably most of the internal problems you and I face today stem from some dysfunction in spiritual formation. It is not possible to deal with such to any great extent here. However, we do need to at least be made conscious again of the spiritual.

 

Our spirits can be (and are) affected by other spirits – human and otherwise. While many people, including religious leaders, often disdain this fact, it is nevertheless true.

 

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I Jn. 4:1).

 

The Bible speaks of the “spirit of antichrist” (I Jn. 4:3), and the “spirit of error” (I Jn. 4:6). There are “ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:7), “unclean spirits” (Mk. 5:13), “evil spirits” (Lk. 7:21), and “the spirit of the world” (I Cor. 2:12).

 

Important for us to remember is the fact that we can have a spirit and not know what it is! Even the apostles, who walked daily in physical presence with Jesus, sometimes made suggestions or offered solutions to difficulties that came to them from sources that they themselves did not recognize as erroneous, but nevertheless were erroneous. Jesus, in His rebuke of them, informs them: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of (Lk. 9:55).

 

This fact of being influenced from a wrong spirit, and being unaware of it, can lead to serious consequences. It sullies the human spirit, and grieves the Holy Spirit. When Jesus rebuked the disciples for being of a spirit that they were not aware of, and that they were being influenced by, it is interesting to note that they were recommending a way to solve a problem. The problem was one of rejection. The Samaritans had rebuffed them. They were hurt, and their emotions were raw (not a good time to be trying to lead others!). They were desiring a place to stay, and were refused. Their answer to the dilemma was, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” (Lk. 9:54).

 

These were “answer men”! “Yes sir, step right up and we will give you the answer!” They even had answers for God in flesh!

 

There are numerous things about being influenced by spiritual sources that are important. We already see the dangers of accepting at “first flush” those who have quick solutions to everything. We also have observed to beware of those whose solution is to “smash those who oppose us”. In fact, in following leaders (or seeking guidance from the written page), the very spirit in which the leader speaks and acts (and the spirit of an author that exudes from a book) should be “check marks” to us as to whether this is something we want to “buy into”.

 

I have often thought how I would not want some of the so-called conservative, religious-right preachers I know to be elected as President of the United States. Don’t get me wrong – I would probably agree with them on most of the major moral and ethical issues. I would probably agree with them on the bulk of their interpretation of scripture. I am certain that I would relate with them on appreciation of the cultural and family values which have made our nation great. Some may ask, “Then what would you be concerned about? If you are in agreement on all of the above, what more is there?” My answer is, “I don’t trust their spirit”.

 

To clarify, let me say I am not lumping everyone into the description above. Nor is this only true of those on the “right”. It is a human problem. Regardless of philosophical, theological, or political bent, you will find this same spirit in all groups ­not necessarily more in one group than another. I use the “religious-right” above simply because, being in agreement with it on most “issues”, it provides a good example that “issues” are not the only thing that count. For as sure as there are issues, there are spiritual forces driving these issues and those promoting them. Focusing on issues only is always dangerous. John Calvin, with all his great intellect and theological insight, still ordered the burning of Michael Servetus at the stake – simply because Michael Servetus disagreed with him on scripture. What an irony – a man attempts to keep Christian doctrine clean by murdering someone! However great he may have been in other areas, on this occasion, he certainly did not know what spirit he was of – and it certainly was not the Spirit of Christ. Would you think alleged false doctrine is worthy of murder?

When the Samaritans rejected them, James and John had an instant solution – “Fry em!”.

 

There is evidence that they weren’t absolutely sure Jesus would go along with this. Therefore, to strengthen their argument, and to give it additional credibility, they did what is normal for debaters and lawyers. They went back and found “precedent”. Not just any precedent, but precedent with a famous prophet – no less than Elijah himself! (Lk. 9:54).

 

This tells us several things. First, it tells us that you can think you’re right and still be wrong. Furthermore, it tells us that one can make a strong argument for almost anything – but making the strong argument, or even winning it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Therefore, we must beware of making our decisions based on the charisma of the speaker or writer. Lastly, it lets us know that arguments can be bolstered by using examples of things others have done which seemingly justify us taking our desired action, but we can still be wrong in spite of all this.

 

James and John came up with their idea of what was right, while obviously still affected by a recent action (i.e., rejection). They were angry. They were hurt. They felt they were abused and treated unfairly. While others were on the “inside”, they were left on the outside. In a word, their decision was made in the heat of emotions, not under the control of the Spirit of God. As a result, to borrow a phrase from Isaiah, they “erred in spirit”. In turn, Jesus informs them, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of’.

 

In contrast to James and John, Jesus knows not only what spirit they are of, but He also knows what spirit He is of. Further, He knows what spirit everybody is of. It is this very fact that makes Him careful as to who He commits Himself to.

 

“Now when He was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (Jn. 2:23-25).

 

Someone may ask, “If there are so many spirits, then how can I know truth?” Our immediate answer is, “Walk in the Holy Spirit, and He will lead and `guide you into all truth’ (Jn. 16:13)”. While this may sound simplistic, it is not. For, if one is truly “walking in the Spirit”, he/she will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, for the Spirit of the Lord will lead them and guide them. However, if this “walking” is not done with a truly clean, open, surrendered, worshipping spirit – and if the believer is carrying hidden, unsurrendered things in their heart, then it will, of a certainty, affect the transmission of truth to their lives (Mt. 6:12,14,15).

 

Someone may ask, “Is ‘walking in the Spirit’ all that is necessary to insure our walk with God?” The answer to this would be “certainly” – if not for i mitigating factors. In fact, Jeremiah, in making a prophecy about this very subject, prophesied the coming of the Holy Spirit baptism.

 

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord” (Jer. 31:33,34).

 

Jeremiah here plainly declares that the Spirit within will cause the believer to have discernment and be able to discriminate “between truth and falseness, thus insuring their ability to know the Lord for themselves”. Paul picks up on this.

 

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another” (I Thess. 4:9).

 

However, even in acknowledging this inward, spiritual guidance of God, Paul nevertheless is writing to them things that he evidently felt the Spirit had not yet revealed to them, but was doing so through the very act of his writing. He instructs them to study, to do their own business, and “work with their own hands, as we commanded you”. One might here ask, “If they were taught of the Spirit, what is Paul doing commanding them?” The answer is simply that he (Paul) and these believers acknowledged the fact that, although the Spirit does indeed guide, God has also given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

 

“…apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).

 

Paul does not stop there, but allows that this gift of men of ministry who assist in guiding the believer is not eternal, but is only “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). When this time comes, the saying that “ye need no man to teach you” shall find its unqualified fulfillment.

 

From this, we see now that God has given two major gifts to lead the believer into all truth. One is the gift of the Holy Spirit itself (Acts 2:38). The other is the gift of anointed men to minister to us. (Eph. 4:11,12)

 

God has also given one more guide. This is none other than the written Word of God.

 

“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord…” (Jer. 31:34).

 

In the New Testament John paraphrases this.

 

“…and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things…” (I Jn. 2:27).

 

Some have taken this to mean that, once one receives the Holy Spirit, they are totally dependent upon the Spirit only to lead them. They consider pastors and teachers to be unnecessary restraints on their spiritual freedom. They are “free”! As a result, they are like children left alone with long-experienced seducers. Paul states that God gave the church gifts of anointed men for this very reason.

 

“That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14).

 

These anointed men are gifts from God, and “speak the truth in love”, that we may “grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).

 

When John said “…ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things”, he was striking at false prophets and spiritual seducers who were trying to lead these precious believers astray. He certainly was not teaching that they did not need pastors, nor was he teaching that they did not need the written Word of God. We know this is true, because he declares: “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you” (I Jn. 2:26). Here, he plainly assumes they understand that, as an anointed man of God (in John’s case, an apostle), he has the authority to identify false prophets. Further, he has “written” to them with the authority invested in him as one of the New Testament authors. Thus, within these two verses (I Jn. 2:26,27), John identifies the three areas which God has given to provide the believer with spiritual guidance – (a) The Spirit within, anointing them to identify false prophets and teachers; (b) John himself, as an anointed man of God; (c) The things he has written unto them.

 

One final note on Jeremiah 31:34 is in order. In churches where great emphasis is put on personal, spiritual experience (such as Pentecostal churches), scriptures like Jer. 31:34 are often abused, and used to support the idea that we need nothing but “the Spirit” to lead us in every decision – including critical decisions on doctrine, etc. A closer look at this verse reveals that it is speaking specifically of salvation (i.e., “Knowing the Lord”). The idea is that, up to this time, whatever experience people had of God, it came to them from teaching, training, and explanation by others. Oftentimes, family members did this (Dent. 6:1-5). The prophet is here predicting that the day is coining when these people will have their sins forgiven, and rather than being led to God by ritual or instruction, they will literally “know” God experientially. This happening is, of course, well documented (Acts 2:1-4, etc.). What this verse does not teach is that all of life’s decisions (doctrinal or otherwise) are simply to be done by some inward intuition. While the Holy Spirit is our inward guide and is a living teacher, God has also given us other gifts to help us discern truth.

 

Finally, it seems strange that we need to emphasize that, along with the Spirit of God and the man of God, the Word of God is also necessary to be heeded and looked to as our guide. However, this must be emphasized because of those who erroneously quote such scriptures as “the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life”, and because of those who attempt to prove that certain scriptures have no relevance for us today (we will see an example of this later on).

 

The fact is, of the three things God has given to lead us, the scripture is the most reliable, and the only which has no potentiality for error. Even though Peter had actually heard a “voice from heaven”, he declares: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (II Pet. 1:19). In speaking of the scripture, he goes on to declare: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (vs. 21).

 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16).

 

An Ear To Hear

I can think of few (if any) statements made to the New Testament church that are more oft repeated than this.

 

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7,11,17,29, 3:6,13,22, 13:9).

 

In the late 1960’s and 70’s, thousands of young people left home to join the “hippie” movement. Dressed in simple clothing, and living just a little above the basic existence line, they filled the land with their cry of “peace”! Their solution as to how to have peace was very simple. They said, “To have peace, everyone should just quit fighting”. From this basic idea came the many protests against war efforts, the draft, and other exercises that included violence.

 

It was a good idea. It was also naive. Consequently, it didn’t work. Why?

 

Ideas, theories, philosophies, and such, are like a house in a storm. If its foundation is weak (or faulty), it will crumble when it is tested. In religion, doctrinal positions face the same fate unless they are carefully based on a broad, deep, and well-considered foundation. It is not too important whether or not the masses “think” the doctrine is solid, for doctrine is not like American currency which continues to function as though it has real value, when in fact it has little, or none. If you

believe the Bible is God’s Word (as I do), that human beings live forever somewhere, that the Bible is the guide to eternal bliss, and that disobeying it leads to eternal destruction, then it becomes very, very obvious that it is important that our understandings are correct and built on the foundation of God’s rightly-divided Word – and not on a “half-baked” philosophy.

 

The hippies theory (i.e., ” the way to have peace is to simply quit fighting”) failed because it did not take into consideration all the factors which make for a solid doctrine. For example, it did not factor in the very evident scriptural fact that, not only are men fighting each other, but there is a third sinister force, alien and opposed to both sides of the human conflict. Even though both sides agree to quit fighting, this third force (which is evil spirits) continues to create confusion, doubt, deceit, and malignity. Secondly, they did not have a full understanding of the present, existential state of humanity. They didn’t understand that each man inherently has the latent possibility for good or evil, and that these two parts are constantly at war with one another, ebbing and flowing with the spiritual vitality of the person. The dilemma was heightened in that there is only one place to get such information, and that is from God’s Word. However, the dilemma deepens.

 

Studying the Bible is not enough. Knowing what it teaches is not enough. Even acknowledging it as truth is not enough. There is a deep, spiritual substratum in all of this. To discern truth, to “hear what the Spirit saith”, and to avoid error is not primarily in the realm of the rational and intellectual. In a way which we cannot clearly divide, there is a real distinction between the soul (mind/emotions) and the human spirit. Only the Word of God can divide this – not as simply a book, but “…as being alive {`quick’, KJV} and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit… and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). My brother and sister, you and I need that discernment! The church today is swirling with all kinds of dangerous ideas and we need discernment of the “intents of the heart”! Beware when someone says they have made some novel, “new discovery”. “Test the spirits…”, says the apostle. Testing takes time. If someone suddenly proposes that major things (which you’ve held dear for years) no longer have validity, you need to beware!! If everything chemists, pharmacists, and scientists say they have discovered as cures, etc., were rushed straight onto the market, great harm would be done. In the interest of the people, elaborate processes to filter the new discovery are established. While people stand waiting impatiently for the new product with its claims, those in charge of testing refuse to be coerced into a hurried decision. They know the terrible consequences that have resulted in the past from incomplete testing. Who can forget “Thalidomide” and the devastation this drug caused because of its ramifications were not known before it was used by expectant women. Thirty or forty years later, thousands of people suffer from life-effecting deformities as a result.

 

Certainly, hasty acceptance of the “new” and “novel” was a dreadful mistake. Oftentimes, a product (or a doctrine) can offer some apparent good result in a given area. However, when all the side-effects and repercussions have been observed, it is seen that the product was not good after all. Thus it is important to carefully check “new” doctrines and to “test the spirits” behind them.

 

We made mention that there is a difference in mentally apprehending something, and being spiritually affected by it. I am proposing that people sometimes latch on to questionable doctrines under the guise of “seeking to be honest”, when they are in fact using “intellectual honesty” as a cover for hidden spiritual desires. The results of such dishonesty are absolutely deadly – once one’s spirit is sucked into this vortex, the chasm is bottomless. Seldom does one escape its depths. My advice is, if you want to sin, then just go do it – but don’t destroy your ability to discern truth from error by tampering with the mechanisms of your spirit whereby you are able to discriminate between good and evil.

 

Strange things occur when one’s spirit falls into the grip of a spirit not of God. Unless deliverance occurs, the results are fatal. There are so many way for one to be caught in a spiritual web which ultimately brings headache.

 

When Bonnie came to God, she was an exceptionally likable person. She was (and is) bright, articulate, and has a heart of compassion for others. Everyone in the church liked her, and still does.

 

Over the years, she grew in her walk with the Lord. However, over a process of time, she suffered a number of setbacks in her life. Her children got sick. Her husband lost his job. She was taken advantage of on some business deals, and they were victimized by economic downturn on others.

 

As her pastor, I always seemed to sense a certain amount of fragility in her walk with the Lord. This of course, was only a feeling, howbeit a troubling one. After awhile, I became aware that when I was praying for (or pondering) Bonnie’s walk with the Lord, I almost always felt a little pang of fear. In my spirit, I sensed there was some kind of spiritual vulnerability that I couldn’t quite identify. She loved the Lord and seemed to overcome reasonably well. Nevertheless, I was certain that Satan was making a bid for her soul, although outwardly there was nothing to put my finger on.

 

The battle in the unseen world of the spirit is a battle in a world of shadows. Nevertheless, it is very real. I became increasingly aware that a fierce battle was being waged for this precious soul. The enemy, of course, knew it also. Like he does with all of us, he had patiently probed until he found in her a place of vulnerability (if it is there, he will carefully search until it is discovered). He found a place in her spirit which she was having difficulty surrendering to God. In looking back, I think the enemy identified it and started working on it before I identified it. Like a skillful boxer, he would create (or taking advantage of) situations which caused this spot to be exposed, then he would powerfully jab, jab, jab.

 

My wife and I countered with everything we had. We fellowshipped as often as possible, which was truly a joy. Behind the scenes was much prayer, fasting, teaching, and preaching – including careful instruction on how to avoid getting hit, how to strengthen weaknesses, and the unavoidable results of not following the fight plan and strategies given us by the master strategist of all time.

 

With all of that, she was getting weaker. Her spiritual energy waned. She began to miss. Appearing somewhat spiritually “punch-drunk”, from the battle, she seemed to grow increasingly less interested in whether she won or lost. In many areas, she was o.k., but in this one area of vulnerability, the blows kept raining mercilessly upon her. Finally, she went down.

 

Everyone has their areas of weakness. Bonnie’s (not her real name) was that she reserved the right to question, and eventually resent her plight. Resentment became a certain deep rage about the unfair things done to her. She kept unsurrendered the privilege to feel cheated. She kept in her possession (as her own) the injustices that had been heaped upon her. She couldn’t understand how God could allow them to be cheated, or why other situation were not rectified. If God is good, listens, and loves, then where is He when I need Him? The more she dwelt on it, the more it was exposed to the enemy, and the less willing she was to surrender it to God. Jab, jab, jab. (This description is a composite of numbers of people I have pastored who struggled and sometimes succumbed to the “why me/us” question).

 

I knew God could answer this. In a moment, He could sweep in with the Spirit and so completely set right this thinking that it would be no contest. For Him, it would be as easy as child’s play. However, I also knew He wasn’t going to do it. I knew that, even for people who keep no vulnerable places unsurrendered, God oftentimes is very slow about speaking. I remembered Job. He was completely surrendered to God, and it still took him 37 chapters before he could get a “peep” out of God. People talk about the patience of Job in reference to his enduring hardship until relief came. The real message is that he endured silence until he finally chided God into speaking. Not only did Job finally pester God into speaking, but he succeeded in getting God to agree with what he (Job) had contended all along (i.e., that his problems were not because of sin in his life – as his friends contended). Job’s contention all along was that neither Job nor his friends knew why this had happened. Only God knew, and He wouldn’t talk. Thus Job’s plaintive cry.

 

“Oh, that I knew where I might find Him! that I might come even to His seat” (Job 23:3).

 

“Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:33).

 

When Job did finally get God to talk, He angrily verified what Job had contended all along – that no man knew why such things happened; and furthermore, God outlined dozens of other things which man doesn’t know anything about!

It was this knowledge (how God can be silent when you think He ought to be screaming), that sustained Job until God finally did speak. In the meantime, Job proved that he was indeed committed to a life of faith, even if God never spoke again!

 

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…” (Job 13:15).

 

So I knew God wasn’t going to do anything but remain silent. In His gentle way, He refused to disregard the human will which insisted on clutching some unholy resentment instead of surrendering all. Had she relinquished all in a holy contrition, He probably still would not have answered all her questions – but He most certainly would have gently picked up her broken self, breathed new life into her spirit, and given her sufficient strength to proclaim to the whole world, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him”.

 

With no signs of relinquishment of this fiercely held unholy spot on her part, I knew that I couldn’t depend on God to resolve this, that I would have to simply do the best I could.

 

So, I marshaled my best explanations of such things and went to that Sunday morning service, which I don’t think I will ever forget. I was determined. I knew I was probably as ready as I was ever going to be. I sensed that this service would be the climax of months of long struggle, and that this Sunday morning would be forever etched as the moment of destiny in this battle.

 

I gave it my “best shot”. It was the devil’s turn to take it on the chin. I went through all the standard explanations, and then launched into some things I had not seen before in scripture until a couple of weeks prior. When done with everything else, I went to Romans 8, and pointed out that Paul said: “the creature was made subject to vanity” (8:20). Paul said that this was done “not willingly” (or in other words, we didn’t ask for it or like it), but that it was (at least for now) something we were subject to. I explained that the thing we were subject to was “vanity” (in Greek, “mataioteti). It means we are subjected to things that are “purposeless” and “pointless”. Quit asking “why?” – for Paul is saying that there are some things that don’t even have a “why?”! He goes on to say that the whole creation is subject to this contrariness to the norm, but he emphasizes that it is only temporary. As this scripture relates to sickness, Paul gives special emphasis to physical problems, and then goes on to say that this will end and there will be a “redemption of all “our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). He further points out that, in the meantime, we are “saved by hope”, but that “if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (8:25). Meanwhile, the “Spirit helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (8:26). While we may not know the mind of God on these matters, “he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (8:27). Lastly, Paul declares emphatically that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (8:28).

 

All in all, it was a special Sunday morning. Many people expressed how they now understood things that they before had not understood. The capstone of it all was that Bonnie came to me after church! With tears in her eyes, she thanked me for the lesson and expressed how it had helped her.

 

Feeling good about the mornings’ results, I gratefully listened as she expressed herself. Certainly, the enemy had received a dreadful blow from the Word! What a joy it was to see him reeling in the battle for this soul! It felt good to see old slewfoot wincing under the rain of spiritual blows which fell on him from the Word!

 

However, a strange thing happened. It was like the voice of the Spirit spoke to me and said, “don’t be hasty, you haven’t won”. People were walking all around me. Bonnie was still standing nearby – but it was all secondary to what was happening inside me. I was learning an important lesson as the Spirit moved me and seemed to say, “You won in her mind. She rationally received the lesson. She understands the sound facts of scripture which you have presented. However, you have changed nothing in her spirit”. This is not a battle to correctly and persuasively answer the question “why?”. What has posed as an intellectual question is in fact a disguised, unholy spot stubbornly clung to by an unyielding, angry, spirit. Victory and right-standing before God can only come to (and through) a broken, surrendered spirit.

 

Bonnie doesn’t come anymore. To my knowledge, she is not mad at anybody at the church. In fact, I’m sure that they are still dear to her, as she is to them.

 

Is it over? No, it is not over. Will she come back? By faith, yes, she will be back. Her bent to love God, by faith, will eventually win out. It cannot be otherwise. We cannot let it be. Do many come back from these kind of things? No. In fact, very few – but some do, and I’m believing she will be one of them.

 

In the meantime, I’ve learned that decisions about doctrine and conduct, in spite of what one may declare, are not made in some imaginary laboratory of “complete intellectual objectivity and honesty”, for there is no such thing. They are made in the human spirit, and the results depend upon whether that spirit is really separated unto God from the unholy, or has some unrelinquished secret stain, spot, or wrinkle.

 

The above account is obviously a highly subjective one. The facts are correct, and the characteristics mentioned are consistent with what we have observed in many other cases through the years of pastoring and attempting to help people in their walk with the Lord. My prayer is that Isaiah is the spokesman for all the precious Bonnie’s who struggle with the pitfalls of life.

 

“They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine” (Isa. 29:24).

 

Spirit Senses

As was mentioned earlier, the human spirit has “senses”, somewhat akin to the way the senses of the body work. We know that these senses of the body are the means whereby we discover and relate with the world outside of ourselves. We touch, taste, see, hear, and smell things. By these, we relate with objects outside of ourselves in sensible ways, and learn to utilize them for our growth and well-being.

 

Likewise, our spirits possess certain abilities to relate to things beyond ourselves, including God. For example, our spirits possess the sense of worship (Jn. 3:5,6, 4:23,24), and of hope (Rom. 8:23-26), thanksgiving, and of love (I Cor. 13:13; Gal. 5:16,22). Prayer also generates out of the human spirit aided by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 4:24; Rom. 8:23,26). Spiritual revelation also comes to the spirit of man from the Spirit of God (I Cor. 2:11-15).

 

All of the above does not mean that the soul (mind/emotions) and body are incapable of participating in those things, for they do. The sensations of the human experience are experienced and expressed throughout one’s being. There is an inseparable (by man) interaction within the body, soul, and spirit of man (Heb. 4:12). However, it is in the spirit of a person that worship, faith, hope, etc., begins and finds first expression. This expression then is continued through the soul-mind and the body.

 

We have already observed that sanctification (holiness) of the believer includes both separation and surrender to God – thus yielding one’s life to become His dwelling place. We have also seen that separation includes elements of consecration, cleansing, and anointing (I Cor. 6:9). This separation means that the human spirit is set apart from uses other than for the purposes of God’s will and service. Its “senses” are to be reserved unto God.

 

For example, faith, which is a sense of the spirit, is holy. The Bible teaches us that our spirit should always be exercising faith (Rom. 14:23), as opposed to unbelief. Unbelief is faith’s opposite and is an unholy use of a human spirit attribute. Likewise, worship of the true God (Jn. 4:23,24) is a proper, separated, use of a spirit attribute, as opposed to idolatry (I Cor. 10:7,14), which is an unholy use. Thanksgiving is opposed to murmuring, which is classified as an unseparated, unholy, unclean, and unanointed use of the human spirit (Psa. 50:14; Phil. 4:6; I Cor. 10:10).

 

Prayer is a proper use of the spirit in relying upon God, as opposed to self-sufficiency, which is a silent denial of the need for God’s anointing (Prov. 3:5; Eph. 6:18; Jude 20). The human spirit, which is separated unto God, will manifest God’s love and be separated from love’s opposites – fear, strife, and hatred (II Tim. 2:4-7; I Cor. 13; etc.). Also, this love will be translated into love and concern for others (II Cor. 5:14; Rom. 9:3, 10:1), as opposed to preoccupation with self. From this, we finally see that to have the human spirit separated and surrendered to God is the secret to keeping a happy, joyful, and healthy relationship with God and in turn with ourselves and our fellow-man.

 

Because all of the things above are in the realm of the invisible, many people overlook the fact that they are the source of spiritual power and character. As a result, their humanness is always less than the robust strong thing it is meant to be. We should make no mistake – being tainted in spirit is an unholy thing that will short-circuit all of life’s endeavors.

 

The above article, “Holy Spirit & Human Spirit” was written by Nathaniel J. Wilson. The article was excerpted from chapter six in Wilson’s book, In Bonds of Love.

 

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

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