October 7, 2009

The Human Spirit - 7b

How do we find God, in spirit? The simple answer is something all seasoned Christ-followers eventually learn, with or without knowing these terms. In most ways, it truly does take years of struggle. It takes self-denial, but not self-focused self-denial. It takes reaching for God, but letting go of all our theories about aspects of the Godly life, aside from God Himself. It takes the loss of everything in one's "walk" that is not God Himself. It takes the loss of all but God Himself.

And here's another way to say all that: it takes the turning of your soul in subjection to your spirit. Your soul is after many things, but your spirit only does one thing. Your spirit engages directly with God. But yes, growing into this spiritual Life takes many years. Witness Jesus for three decades in Nazareth. What was he doing there? Growing. Up into God. As must we.

Hopefully, I'm not giving you a new truth, but simply the proper terms for a familiar experience. God is spirit, so if you have ever truly worshiped Him, then you did so in your spirit. You may have begun with a thought, with a desire, with an emotion, or even by taking some physical action, but if you ever broke through into truly spiritual worship, you were in your spirit. What you had been told you were supposed to call these things does not matter. It is what we are supposed to be doing that matters.

God wants dominion over our souls, but he does not possess us like the fallen spirits possess unregenerate persons. For his own divine reasons, God desires human cooperation. Therefore, our spirit must engage with His Spirit in order to rule over our very self-oriented souls. Hopefully, perhaps gradually, our souls will become more and more transformed by the natural direction of our spirits, into being God-oriented, instead of self-oriented. In one manner of speaking, THAT is the goal of the christian life, and THAT is the function of our human spirit.

I do find it personally helpful to put things in proper terms, in this way. Even if you're twice as seasoned as me in the spiritual life, I hope these terms are helpful to you as well. This may or may not be a "game changing" understanding for you in your christian life, but it was very helpful for me. And I am, hopefully, gradually, becoming more spiritual and less soulish. Praise the Lord.

According to scripture, dear christian, you have a spirit. It is something very different from your soul. From this point on, I hope you enjoy observing that distinction in scripture. Far more importantly, I hope you enjoy exploring the difference in life.

I have met so many christians who try to think, feel and desire their way towards intimacy with God. That can be a fine start, but it should not be the end. Besides, God is already within you. Get past your soul and find your innermost spirit. Your spirit is where He is, because SPIRIT is what he is.

Enjoy being spiritual, you christians out there. You holy, new creatures.

(PS: Unbelievers, if you want in, just ask!)

2 comments:

brotherjohnny said...

During the struggle..., do you suppose that we (or the earliest followers) were given 'keys' of any sort...like touch points where heaven and earth meet?

Concrete instruction to help us and benefit us on our way?

If so, what might that have looked like?

Keep up the good work... it's not in vain.

Bill said...

Assuming I understand what you mean, Johnny... Yes and no. I've definitely gotten some good tips from others with more experience, but what's helped me the most has really been time, by which I mean time spent pursuing Him with others as well as the years it takes to un-learn the more soul-controlled and superstitious ways. I miss the Springs, man. No doubt.

I wish I knew what Jesus did in the upper room immediately after breathing on the disciples. It looks like, the next thing you know, he disappears and is gone for a week! That looks an awful lot to me like pushing the birds out of the nest. On the other hand, they'd been with Him in person for 3 years, so he had to leave if they were to get used to Him in spirit.

Look at my June archives for more on the upper room. It's interesting to look through the first half of Acts for the Apostles emphasis on the spirit.

Whatever 'touch points' Paul gave to a new church are probably reflected somewhat in his letters, and it would be interesting to try and reconstruct those 'keys' according to Paul.

Most of us seem to be still groping towards him in dim light. Onward, then...

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