SPIRIT FOLLOWER

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SPIRIT-FOLLOWER?

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We are all spirit-followers. The question though is – which spirit?

Jesus states in the Gospel of John that life comes from the Spirit; that without the Spirit the body is dead. [1] The Bible indicates that there are life-giving spirits and destructive spirits.[2]  All spirits have a source of originality.  The Bible showcases that the Spirit of God, the third person of the Triune God,  is the Holy Spirit that mankind needs if he is to open himself up to receive His influential, life-giving power.   On the other hand, the evil spirits are non-godly influences. These spirits influence people towards an ungodly life of destruction, alienation, and discord. For example, Luke 4:33-35 tells the story of Jesus confronting an evil spirit within a person. Likewise the apostle Paul writes in his Epistle that Christ came so humanity may leave behind the spirits which have led to the destructive relationships and events that we all have allowed to influence us at one time. [3]

Watchman Nee wrote a book, The Spiritual Man,  where he attempts to explain the working relationship between  a person’s body, soul, and spirit.[4] In my opinion, his concept best explains the process of sanctification of a Christ-follower. Per Mr. Nee, the soul is the governing agent of a person’s life. The soul though is constantly being influenced by either the carnal desires of the body or the spirit that lives within a person.  For a person to truly experience the divine life, the spirit within a person needs to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. This process Jesus shared with Nicodemus as told in the Bible.[5] He stated that a person needs this Spirit to be reborn so they may experience the Kingdom of God. The greater the Holy Spirit’s influence in a person’s life, the greater one experiences the rich spiritual life that the Bible describes.[6]

The Triune God is a spiritual being. Jesus mentioned to the Samaritan woman at the well that mankind needs to worship Him in “spirit and truth.”[7] Jesus mentioned that the Holy Spirit (also called Counselor and Comforter) is the spirit of truth.[8] When one unites in Christ, they become one with him in spirit.[9]  Wherever the Spirit is, the Father and Christ also abide.  Not only does the Triune God live in heaven, but He also lives in people.[10] Therefore, the temple of God on earth is now the universal church made up of people who have acknowledged Christ as King and Savior.

The Spirit is a life essence that lives in a believer and unites a person with the heavenly riches of our God.  The purpose of the Spirit isn’t simply to make us feel good. The Spirit resides in us to develop the new creation in Christ. A new humanity where Jesus is the firstborn.[11] As a people, we are now sanctified, being transformed into the image of Christ, for the sake of cultivating God’s domain in our world, and participating with the Triune God as He restores creation back to his original intent through the workings of His church. Again, the church are people, not buildings nor programs, but people who have learned to submit to the lead of the Holy Spirit in their lives in doing good work for the glory of Christ.[12]

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The Apostle John writes that we are to test the various spirits that influences mankind to determine which is the good one.[13]  You shall know them by their beliefs, actions and heart.[14]  One of life’s great joys is sharing fellowship time with other believers whose spirit is being influenced by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to be invited into a person’s life. God doesn’t force his will on any person.  He wants people to freely experience his awesome life-giving way.

This is the Spirit I choose to follow. Sometimes better than other times, but always with the desire to connect with God himself in my work, play, relationships, investments, associations, and every other area of importance and non-importance. When Jesus Christ is the central-core of one’s life, one’s focus becomes an educational learning process between seeing life from a personal perspective versus how the Triune God views the situation. Yet, the more I yield to the Spirit’s influence, the easier it becomes.  The more life becomes richer in experiencing the divine life now, the more I grow in grace and knowledge of who Christ is and what he is doing in our little world. There is greater joy in joining the Triune God in their life-giving project rather than just doing my own self-centered thing.

How about you? What obstacle is preventing you from fully engaging into the Spirit’s lead in your life?

 

Dr. Mike

 

References:


[1]     “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” John 6:62-63.

[2]      “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  1 Tim 4:1 NIV; “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.”  Jude 17-19 NIV.

[3]      “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV.

[4]      Nee, Watchman, The Spiritual Man, Christian Fellowship Publishers, New York, 1968.

[5]       “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.'” John 4:10-14 NKJV.

[6]     “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Gal 5:22-26 NIV; “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Rom 8:5-27 NIV; “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Acts 2:17-21 NIV.

[7]     “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-25 NIV.

[8]      “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-18 NIV;  “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.   The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:10-14 NIV.

[9]     “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:17 NIV.

[10]     “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you —unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

[11]     “…and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood Revelation 1:5   Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

[12]      “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Ephesians 3:10-11 NIV.

[13]      “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3 NIV.

[14]      “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,  Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory…” Romans 8:5-17

 

 

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