Friday, 9 March 2018

The Temple, Ourselves ~ Ganeida

In Romans 7, starting @ v 15, Paul makes this complaint:For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. And a bit further along in v 24 he expounds upon this thought:
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Paul is expressing something we have all experienced.  We know what is right & good; we want to do what is right & good, but far too often we find ourselves, just like Paul, doing the very things we hate:  Things we know are wrong, not good for us & out of the will of God. As Professor Sumner Miller used to say:  Why is it so?

To answer that question we are going to relook @ the threefold nature of man. To do that I am going to start with a basic premise found in 1 Corinthians 6:19 : 
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

One of the things I love about God is that He is absolutely consistent & he carries His imagery right through the bible. We were created from the dust of the earth, just as the earthly temple was, & just like that temple we were created in three parts: We have a physical body ~ our outer court.  We have a soul: our will, our intellect, our emotions, which equates to the inner court. Lastly we have a spirit, our holy of holies which is where the Holy Spirit of God now resides.

Every single person operates out of one or other of these 3 places. We don't always operate out of the same place but the idea is that we grow so that we most often are operating out of the Spirit, reflecting Christ in Us to the world around us. 

We live in the physical realm so we need a physical body.  Brought into subjection to the spirit of God our bodies become a blessing to others.  It is through our physical bodies we express God's love: hands & feet to minister comfort, mouths to speak words of life & encouragement, eyes to see what needs to be done, ears to hear another's heart. However, when we don't bring our bodes into subjection we find our tongues gossiping, our bodies slothful, ourselves overeating, oversleeping, overanything & everything that satan can tempt us with for he is able to turn even good things into evil.  We need to eat for energy.  We don't need an excess of food.  We need to rest, but too much is harmful.  God designed sex but lust perverts that which was designed for our good.

Our body is designed to fit into this world, to connect with this world.  It is not designed to connect with the spiritual. Ever since the fall: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. [1 John 2:16]For these were the 3  things satan used to bring about the fall of man. He's still using them.  Thus we are exhorted to crucify our flesh Romans 8:13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Galatians is very clear about what the deeds of the body are:Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [Galatians 5:19~21]

All these things are within our control.  We choose whether we will follow our flesh or if we will get rid of these things out of our life.  Here, @ its simplest & most basic, is what the new birth, the baptism in the Spirit of God, is all about ~ & why we need it! Our bodies are designed to respond to the world but since the world is now corrupted, just as our bodies are corrupt, we have to learn to live according to the Spirit.

Now lots of people muddle up the soul & the spirit but scripture makes it clear they are 2 different things. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The soul is our mind; the intellectual realm where we think, reason & feel. In Romans 12:2 we are given a direct command regarding our minds: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.  In order to control ourbodies we need to renew our minds. Ephesians 5:26 instructs us that sanctification [renewal] comes through the washing of the word. See, I don't tell you to learn God's word for the sake of learning God's word even though it is useful in & of itself.  No!  I tell you to know the word because it not only protects & guides you; it renews your mind!

I will give you an example because we've all been here. Somebody does something to you.  They say things about you that are untrue. Defamatory. Hurtful ~ & our flesh screams.  Immediately we become defensive.  We want to protect ourselves & our good name, justify our actions, give back, with interest, the harm we've received.  That is a normal & natural reaction.  That is exactly how the world thinks & acts but what does Jesus say? "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27~28 Note the bible doesn't say it is easy to do this, it simply says to do it. Why?  Because of the cross. Because we are crucified with Christ & if the world hated Him it will hate us also [John 15:18] but remember it was from the cross, naked, mocked, beaten & rejected God loved the world.

Don't be disheartened!  Remember Paul's opening confession:  I do what I don't want to do...Nor am I saying we are doormats for anyone who cares to stomp all over us for Jesus also cautioned: Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16 We don't need to go looking for trouble.  There is no need.  It will come.  Part of being shrewd is knowing when & how to respond to a situation we find ourselves in but the one thing we are NOT to do is respond as the world responds.

Lastly we have the Spirit.  Everyone has a spirit but believers have a different spirit because that is the only part of us that is completely renewed when we believe on Christ. The promise was: Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 ~ & that is exactly what happened @ Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was released for the first time to all believers! It is what happens for every true believer.  Nicodemus struggled to understand this ~ but remember the Spirit had not yet been given. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 tells us that those who are in Christ are a new creation ~ & there are days when I sincerely wish the new creation included this body ~ but it doesn't.  It is referring to the renewing of our Spirit. It is the Spirit that enables the new life.

When we spoke about repentance we said it was a complete about face, a turning from following after the world to following after Christ. We can only truly do this if we have God's spirit within us because our bodies were made to fit into this world & that will always be our default position unless we consciously choose to listen to the Spirit.  Without God's Spirit we are like the Jews, adhering to rules & regulations but without life. We need the oil of the Spirit, His unction, His anointing or we merely have religion & no life.

John 4:24 says God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. That is an interesting statement.  We are the temple but the temple has 3 spaces.  The outer court, our flesh, our body,  is further-est from God.  Our body can go through the motions.  We can lift our hands & say the words, sing the songs but if our soul & spirit isn't engaged we are not truly worshipping God as He desires to be worshipped.  Our inner court, the realm of the mind, is where we understand the Truth & that is the point @ which we must begin.  But when The Holy Spirit leads from the Holy Of Holies we truly worship & our minds & bodies will follow His direction.  Here is Life Abundant. 

John 7:38 says 
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.[KJV] The NASB says:He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'

That Living Water will help us to crucify our flesh & renew our mind but we have to be in agreement as God will never go against our free will.  If we choose to be lazy or disobedient we will be allowed to be but when we choose the life of the Holy Spirit He will literally come alongside of us & stand against that which we stand against & undergird that which we agree with partnering with us to transform us into the likeness of Christ.   

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