15. 1st John 2: 6…walk even as He walked (NKJV) (Unless otherwise indicated
December 14, 2019
My wife and I enjoy watching every season of the show Survivor, and just like most television shows it’s not for everyone. However, if there ever were a place one could learn and observe how the carnal mind works, it would be there. Everyone is after the same prize, $1,000,000. That show puts the contestants through the most grueling test to become the sole survivor. I know we live in a dog-eat-dog world run by the enemy (2nd Cor. 4:3-4). Sometimes we need to be reminded how deceitful and hurtful people are toward one another for we once walked in those same shoes (Col. 1:21). If we have no consciousness of having a past in the grips of the god of this world, there is a strong possibility you still are, whether you carry a bible and go to church or not (Eph. 4: 17-25). The lies and backstabbing that happens on this show are remarkable. One of the things that stand out most about these scenarios is when it gets down to one person holding all of the cards so to speak, because of what they call the swing vote. That individual is in a strong position of power, and boy do they revel in it. However, sometimes it backfires and bites them in the butt.
I said that just to say this; such is the position of the human soul. Our soul is the central player in this battle between our flesh and our spirit. Please note that I said OUR flesh and OUR spirit, not the Spirit of God. If that were the case, every Christian on this planet would already be in complete submission to the will of God. If we’d take an earnest look at the condition of the Body of Christ we all would agree. Getting back to the power of the soul, standing between our flesh and our spirit, the soul has the power of the swing vote. If we constantly feed the flesh on the things of this world (1st John 2: 14-17), then our soul will vote with the flesh. On the other hand, if we feed our spirit, the soul will vote with our spirit (John 14: 20-21; John 15: 6-8). You have probably read books or heard it said, “the mind is the battlefield”; well this is just another way of looking at it. Let’s take another look at the Greek word for ‘soul’: psuchē-this is where we get the English word ‘psyche’ or ‘psychology’, which is the study of the mind, emotions, appetites, passions, and desires. These are the things that keep us from doing the will of God, because we are so wrapped up into doing our own will.
2) psuchē-the soul 2a) the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul, etc.)
This same principle holds true for everyone one of us, whether we are in Christ or not. When we were in the world, most of us never gave the soul a second thought, except back in the day when we black folk called ourselves soul brothers and sisters. Don’t be offended because of political correctness. I decided a long time ago to stop rolling with every ebb and flow of racial identity. I am a black man, not a soul man; better still, I am a spiritual man. This is the reason, in times past the soul habitually eclipsed or ruled over our spirit. If we wanted something, right or wrong, we went for it. I’m not necessarily talking about criminal behavior, however, I am talking about selfish behavior; the old me I and mine (the sinful nature).
Now, let’s look at the human spirit (pneuma), not the Holy Spirit of God. We will focus on him at another time. As I’ve said, the problem is not the Holy Spirit wagging war against our flesh; it’s our flesh dominating our human spirit:
Pneuma-2a) the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides 2b) the soul 3) a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting 3b) a human soul that has left the body 4) the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of anyone 4a) the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc. If you happen to have Thayer’s Greek Definitions dictionary, you will see several ways that word is used. For instance, it’s the same word for the Holy Spirit; it the same word for evil spirits; it has also been used to describe Christ’s life-giving spirit. In addition, in case you have ever wondered, our LORD Jesus Christ in His humanity possessed a human spirit, soul, and body (Luke 23: 45-46; Acts 2: 22-31).
Jesus taught in John 3:1 “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 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. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. 8 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.” 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?”
Nicodemus was a RELIGIOUS (and I do stress RELIGIOUS) leader, a teacher of Israel. Jesus feigned astonishment at his lack of understanding. I say this because The LORD knew he was lost, alienated from the life of God. My point is this, Jesus Himself made a distinction between the flesh and the human spirit. Being born of the Spirit is the single most important topic in the entire Bible. If a man, woman, or child knows the difference between what is right and wrong, or experiences a conscience that either accuses them or excuses them (Rom. 2: 13-16); barring the conditions described in Romans 2: 13-16, they must experience the New Birth. He was very specific, a man will not see nor enter into the Kingdom of God.
He also sent the Holy Spirit; therefore, we need the baptism of the Spirit if we are to live a Spirit-filled life. There are far too many so-called Christian leaders, who have educated themselves further and further away from these truths. They are causing millions of people to stumble into that self-same ditch. Jesus called it “the blind leading the blind”. That is why we must put the Word of God before the eyes of the people encouraging them to study diligently. If we fail to do this, we the teachers will suffer a greater judgment (James 3:1). To be continued…