GJiGT Unabridged Version of War on the Saints
CHAPTER 8. The Will and Spirit of Man.
The Scriptures show the true way in which God works in the believer. The way of God working in men is opposed to the way of Satan and his wicked spirits. God hopes for the principle of co-operation with God, and not passive control by Him. We must fully understand this. This principle of God co-operating with man is a basis of deliverance from deception and possession. God cooperating rather than possessing man is foundational. God insists that man always use his own free decisive will. God works in man with light and truth. Satan works through deception, darkness, passivity, and possession.
The Holy Spirit dwelling in the born-again spirit, energizes and works through the will, mind, body and spirit of the man. The Holy Spirit works ONLY with, the active co-operation of the WILL of the believer. God in the spirit of man, does not use the man's hand apart from the will of the man. The man must decide "I will use my hand" or God is not in it. It is so important to understand that basic difference between the way of the Holy Spirit, and the way of evil counterfeit spirits.
CO-OPERATION WITH GOD DOES NOT MEAN AUTOMATIC WORKING
When Paul said, "His working, which worketh in me mightily" (Col. 1: 29), he first said, "I labour according to" His working. The "I labour" did NOT mean that hands and feet and mind worked AUTOMATICALLY in response to the Holy Spirit. It is NOT like a motor responds to gasoline. Behind that "I labour," was the full action of Paul's will. Don't ever surrender your will. Only Satan and his evil spirits wants the surrender of your will. God wants the co-operation of your will. Understand the difference. This is vital in these last days. Paul is telling us, "I choose to labour," and "as I labour, God's power and energy energizes me in the acting," The Scriptures show clearly that it is "I who live and move and work," and "yet not I, but 'the Spirit of Christ' in me." (See Gal. 2: 20; Phil. 1: 19).
It was the same with Yeshua, Himself. "I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me," "The Son can do nothing of Himself." Yet He said also, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work." "The works that I do shall ye do also!" He had a separate will, but He came not to do His own will. He always did the will of the Father, in perfect unity, perfect conformity, and perfect co-operation with the will of the Father. He is the perfect example of the working of the Holy Spirit in a man. He was doing the Father's will when He said to the one who sought His healing power, "I WILL, be thou clean!"
This is how it must be in our life. There is an essential union of our own will with the will of God. We move with the energizing power of the Holy Spirit, by our own deliberate choice of harmony with that Holy Will. We are to actively use our will in ruling ourselves in spirit, soul, and body. God dwelling in our spirit. God is co-working with us through our exercised will. Don't surrender your will to anyone. Bring your will into perfect co-operation and harmony with the will of God.
GOD GOVERNS THE RENEWED MAN BY HIS CO-ACTING WILL
We must have a clear understanding of God's purpose in redemption. This is necessary for deliverance from the power of sin and protection from deceiving spirits in their workings. God created man, with dominion over himself. This dominion was exercised by his act of will, even as it was by his Creator. But man fell, and, in his fall, yielded his will to the rule of Satan. Satan then by the agency of his evil spirits has ruled the world. Satan enslaved the will of fallen man. Christ, the Second Adam, came. Messiah took the place of man. Yeshua the Messiah chose obedience to the Father's will. Yeshua never for one moment diverged from His perfect co-operation with that will. In the wilderness He refused to exercise the Divine power at the will of Satan. In Gethsemane, in suffering, His will never wavered in the choice of the Father's will. As Man He willed the will of God right through, becoming obedient even unto death. That is how He regained for regenerated man, not only reconciliation with God, but liberty from Satan's power and authority. That is how Yeshua accomplished the restoration of man's renewed and sanctified will. That is how God brought freedom to man's own will. Man now has freedom to deliberately and intelligently exercise his will in harmony with the will of God.
Messiah worked out for man upon Calvary's Cross salvation of spirit, soul, and body, from the dominion of SIN and Satan. But that full salvation is worked out in the believer through the central action of his own now FREE will. Alleluia Yeshua! Man deliberately chooses the will of God for each department of his tripartite nature, in spirit, soul, and body.
The will of the man is FREE to be united to the will of God. Alleluia! This is how we may have the energizing power of God working with our own will. The power of God is available to rule our (1) "own spirit" (see Prov. 25:28; 1 Cor. 14:32); (2) thoughts or mind (Col. 3:2) inclusive of all the soul-powers; and (3) body (1 Cor. 9:27).
When we have received God's freeing power from slavery to sin and Satan, then we regain free action of our will. We are FREE to gladly and spontaneously will the will of God. We are not only redeemed we are renewed in our mind by the washing and regeneration of the Word of God. We re-take dominion over spirit, soul and body. We reign in life "through Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17). Alleluia Yeshua! Praise the Lord, Jesus for the power of the Blood of Yeshua!
The natural man does not reach this stage of renewal and liberation of his will. First he must know the regeneration of his own human spirit. God is not in fallen man until the moment of his new birth (Ephes. 2:12; 3:16; John 3:5-8). He must be "begotten of God." The fact of such a begetting being necessary, declares the non-existence of Divine life in him previously. After such a begetting, it is also necessary to understand that the regenerated man does not, as a rule, immediately become a spiritual man. He does not immediately and automatically become a man wholly regenerated in spirit, mind, and body. That spiritual babe does not totally and completely start walking after the spirit. He crawls before he walks. His whole being must grow in the knowledge of God. Yet he is now, however, free to grow in this knowledge and will of God. He now represents a great potential threat to Satan and the whole host of hell.
THE "NATURAL" VERSUS THE "SPIRITUAL" MAN
At first the regenerated man is but a "babe in Christ," manifesting many of the characteristics of the natural man in jealousy, strife, and envy. To become a spiritual man he must first understand his need of a fuller reception of the Holy Spirit to dwell in his regenerated spirit.
Spiritual men understand they never outgrow their need for growth by the pure spiritual milk of the word. Spiritual men know they do not arrive at spiritual perfection this side of glory. Spiritual men know they either walk with and toward God or they are walking away from Him. Spiritual men know there is no place for passivity in the regenerated man.
The unregenerate man is wholly dominated by soul and body. The regenerate man has his spirit (I) quickened, and (2) indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Yet he may be governed by soul and body because his spirit is compressed and bound. The spiritual man has his spirit liberated from bondage to the soul (Heb. 4:12) to be the tool of the Holy Spirit in mind and body.
Then, by the Holy Spirit's power, his will is brought into harmony with God in all His laws and purposes. He co-operates with God to bring the whole outer man into self-control. Thus it is written "The fruit of the Spirit . . . is self-control" (Gal. 5:23). It is not only love, joy, peace, long-suffering, and gentleness, manifested through the soul. Actually the big change comes in a true dominion over the world of himself.
(1) every thought brought into captivity, in the same obedience to the will of the Father as was manifested in Messiah (2 Cor. 10:5);
(2) his spirit "ruled" also from the chamber of the will, so that he is of a "cool spirit" and can "'keep back" or utter at his will what is in his spirit as well as what is in his mind (Prov. 17:27).
(3) his body so obedient to the helm of the will, that it is a disciplined and alert instrument for God to energize and empower. That body is an instrument to be handled intelligently as a vehicle for service, and not any longer master of the man, or the mere tool of Satan and unruly desires.
THE CALL TO DECISIVE ACTION OF THE WILL
All this is fully made clear in the New Testament Epistles. "Our old man was crucified with Him." However, we must DO something if we want this POTENTIAL fact made true in our life. We are called upon to declare our attitude of choice with decisive action, both in the negative and positive positions. The Apostle appeals again and again to the redeemed believer to act decisively with his will, as the following few passages show:--
"Cast off the works of darkness." ."Put on the armour of light."
Rom. 13:12. ..........................Rom. 13:12.
"Put away the old man."............ "Put on the new man."
Eph. 4:22. .............................Eph. 4:24.
"Put off the old man with his doings." "Put on the new man."
Col. 3:9. ................................Col. 3:10.
"Put to death your members." ......"Present your members unto God."
Col. 3:5. .................................Rom. 6:13.
"Put off the body of the flesh." "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make
Col. 2:11..........................no provision for the flesh." Rom. 13:14.
................................."Take up the whole amour. . . Ephes. 6:13, 16
................................."Put on a heart of compassion." Col. 3:12
................................."Put on the whole armour of God." Eph. 6:11
All these passages describe a decisive act of the will, not toward exterior things, but toward things in an unseen, immaterial world. This shows the effect in the spiritual world of a man's decisive will action.
They also emphasize the effect of the decisive use of the will of man, when it acts in harmony with the liberating power of Messiah. Messiah has done the work on Calvary's Cross. However, that work is applied in fact through the action of the believer's own will. He must act as if he himself had power to "cast off" the invisible works of darkness. This is the DOING. He will find with this action of his will, the co-working and empowering of the Spirit of God, making the casting off effectual.
In saving the man, God calls him into co-action with Himself, to "work out his own salvation." For it is God Who works with and in him, to enable him to will and to do His pleasure.
GOD CALLS A MAN INTO CO-ACTION FOR HIS OWN SALVATION
In the hour of his regeneration God gives to man the decisive liberty of will to rule over himself. He is given freedom to rule over himself, as he walks in fellowship with God. And by this restoration of a will free to act in choosing for God, SATAN LOSES HIS POWER. Satan is the god of this world, and he rules the world through the will of men enslaved by him. They are enslaved not only directly, but indirectly, by his inciting men to enslave one another. Satan moves men to covet the power of "influence." God gives liberating power to work with God to restore to every man the freedom of his own personal decisive free will. God gives us the freedom and power of choice to do right because it is right. God obtained this freedom and power for them at Calvary.
In this direction we can see the working of the world-rulers. They are powers of darkness in the realm which they govern. The powers of darkness directly influence, and indirectly influence through men, in (1) hypnotic suggestion, (2) thought reading, (3) will controlling, and other forms of invisible force.
What is the danger of all forms of healing by "suggestion," and all similar methods of seeking to benefit men in physical or mental ways? The danger lies in their bringing about a passivity of the will, and mental powers. Passivity always lays them open to Satanic influences later on.
THE BELIEVER'S RIGHT OF DECISION OF WILL
The liberation of the will from its passive condition, and control by Satan, takes place when the believer sees his right of choice. He begins to deliberately place his will on God's side. He chooses the will of God. Until the will is fully liberated for action, it is helpful for the believer to assert his decision frequently by saying, "I choose the will of God, and I refuse the will of Satan." The soul may not even be able to distinguish which is which. But, the declaration is having effect in the unseen world. God works by His Spirit in the man as he chooses His will. God energizes and empowers him through his decisive will to continually refuse the claims of sin and Satan. Satan is thereby rendered more and more powerless. While the man is stepping out into the salvation obtained potentially for him at Calvary. God is gaining once more a loyal subject in a rebellious world.
On the part of the believer, the action of the will is governed by the understanding of the mind. The mind sees what to do. The will chooses to do it, and then from the spirit comes the power to fulfil the choice of the will. Then comes knowledge to the mind. For example, the man (1) sees that he should speak, (2) he chooses or wills to speak, (3) he draws upon the power in his spirit to carry out his decisions. This means knowledge of how to use the spirit, and the necessity of knowing the laws of the spirit, so as to fully co-operate with the Holy Ghost.
THE SPIRIT ENERGIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AT THE BACK OF THE WILL
But the believer must understand that the choice of the will is not sufficient alone to be co-operating with God in the use of his decisive will. Paul's words in Rom. 7:18 say "To will is present with me, but to do . . .is not." Through the spirit, and by the strengthening of the Holy Spirit in the "inward man" the regenerate human spirit, is liberated. His will is set free and he desires and becomes more and more determined to do God's will. The Holy Spirit empowers him to carry out his free and right choice. "It is God which worketh in you . . to will," God works in us to enable the believer to decide or choose. Then it is "God which worketh in you . . to do His pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). God, by the Holy Spirit energizes the believer with power to carry out the choice.
God gives the power to do, from the spirit where He dwells. He does this by the believer understanding the using of his spirit, as clearly as he understands the use (1) of his will, (2) of his mind, or (3) of his body. He must know how to discern the sense of his spirit, so as to understand the will of God, before he can do it.
THE DISTINCT NATURE OF THE SPIRIT
The human spirit is a distinct nature as separate from the soul and body. This is very clearly recognized in the Scriptures, as these few verses show.
"The spirit of man." 1 Cor. 2:11.
"My spirit prayeth." 1 Cor. 14:14.
"The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit." Rom. 8:16.
". . .my spirit. . ." 1 Cor. 5:4.
"Relief in my spirit." 2 Cor. 2:13.
There is also a separation of "soul and spirit" required and carried out by the Word of God. That is why the sword of the Spirit is said to divide soul and spirit in Heb. 4:12. When mankind fell through Adam's sin, the spirit in union with God which once ruled and dominated soul and body, fell. We call it THE FALL because the spirit of man fell from the predominant position into the vessel of the soul. The spirit of man could no longer rule. In the "new birth" the regeneration of the fallen spirit takes place. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6), "a new spirit will I put within you" (Ezek. 36:26). Through the knowledge of the death of the old creation with Christ, the new spirit is set free. The new spirit is, divided from the soul, and joined to the Risen Lord. ( Rom. 6:6) Going on in Romans 7 we read "Dead to the law . . . joined to Another . . having died . . . that we might serve in newness of the spirit" (Rom. 7:4-6).
The believer's life is therefore to be a walk "after the spirit." We are to walk minding "the things of the spirit" (Rom. 8:4-5). The believer can only walk "after the spirit," if the Spirit of God dwells in him (Rom. 8:9). The Holy Spirit lifts his spirit to the place of rule over soul and body. He can now have dominion over his "flesh," both ethically and physically. He is joining to the Risen Lord. The Holy Spirit making it "one spirit" with Him (1 Cor. 6: 17).
Understand, that the believer retains decisive will control over his own spirit. Through ignorance of the necessity of his maintaining his decisive will control over his own spirit many are fallen. Understand, he can withdraw his spirit from co-operation with the Holy Spirit. He will then "walk" after the soul, or after the flesh unwittingly. A surrendered will to do the will of God, is therefore no guarantee that he is doing that will. He MUST understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17). For the doing of that will of God, he must seek to be filled in spirit to the utmost of his capacity.
The knowledge that the Spirit of God has come to indwell the shrine of the spirit, is not enough to guarantee that the believer will continue to walk in the spirit. It does not guarantee that he will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). If he "lives" by the Spirit, he must learn how to walk by the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit is to understand how to "combine" and "compare" spiritual things with spiritual (1 Cor. 2:13) He must be able to interpret TRULY the things of the Spirit of God. He learns by exercising the spirit faculty by which he is able to examine all things, and discern the mind of the Lord. The Word of God is that which has the ability to separate the soul and spirit. If you want to keep these clearly in their place and not mingled together again, then you see the need to read the word of God every day.
Such a believer should know how to walk after the spirit. He does not want to quench his spirit's or the Holy Spirit's action, movements, or admonitions. The Spirit of God moves with his spirit. His spirit is moved or exercised by God. His spirit is strengthened by use in co-operation with the Holy Spirit, so that he becomes "strong in spirit" (Luke 1:80). It is by walking in the spirit that he becomes a truly spiritual man of "full age" in the Church of God (1 Cor. 2:6; Heb. 6:1).
HOW BELIEVERS IGNORE THE HUMAN SPIRIT
Many believers are not intelligently conscious that they have a "spirit." Many imagine that every experience which takes place in the realm of their senses is spirit or "spiritual." If they seek a Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and become conscious of His indwelling, believers sometimes think that then He alone acts in them. Some become so deluded they think they are infallible, or specially guided by Him. They often end up thinking that everything which takes place in their inner life is necessarily His working.
We will look at some examples where the man's own spirit is left out of account. In the first instance, the believer's religious life is so "spiritually mental," that his mind is illuminated and enjoys spiritual truth. But, what "spirit" means, he does not clearly know. In the next, the believer is really "soul-ish" although he thinks he is spiritual. In the next example, the believer thinks that the Holy Spirit's indwelling means every movement to be of Him. This third example becomes specially open to the deception of evil spirits counterfeiting the Holy Spirit. Because, without discrimination he attributes all inner "movements" or experiences to the Holy Spirit. In these last days of strong delusion, that can be deadly wrong.
In this case the man's spirit comes into action. He has awareness of his spirit through the reception of the Holy Spirit. But, believers need to understand that the Holy Spirit does not act through them as a passive channel. The Holy Spirit requires them to know how to co-work with Him in spirit. Otherwise their "own spirit," the human spirit, can act apart from Him while they may think He alone is the source of action.
THE HUMAN SPIRIT CO-WORKING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Walking "after the spirit," and "minding the spirit," does not only mean mind and body subservient to the spirit, but the man's own spirit co-working with the Holy Spirit in the daily life. To do this, the believer needs to know the laws of the spirit. He needs to know both the conditions necessary for the Holy Spirit's working, and the laws governing his own spirit. Knowing both the conditions for the Holy Spirit to work and the laws ruling his own spirit keeps him open to the Spirit of God.
When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the spirit of man, evil spirits attack the spirit to get it out of co-working with God. They first get access to mind or body. Their object being to close the outlet of the Spirit of God dwelling at the center. When the man is "spiritual," and the mind and body are subservient to the spirit, the spiritual forces of Satan can come into DIRECT CONTACT with the spirit, and then follows the "wrestling" referred to by Paul (Eph. 6:12).
If the man becomes "spiritual" through the Baptism of the Spirit, and yet is ignorant of the laws of the spirit, especially the tactics of Satan, he is liable to yield to an onslaught of deceiving spirits. The evil spirits can (1) force his spirit into strained ecstasy, or elation, or (2) press it down, as it were into a vice. In the ecstasy he is given "visions" and revelations which appear to be divine. Afterwards they are proved to have been of the enemy, by their passing away with no results. The evil spirits can have the man sink into darkness and deadness as if he had lost all knowledge of God.
THE BELIEVER'S CONTROL OVER HIS SPIRIT
When the believer understands these direct onslaughts of wicked spirits, he becomes able to discern the condition of his spirit. When he knows the condition of his spirit he can retain control over it. He can refuse all forced elation and strain. He can resist all weights and pressure to drive it below the normal plane of his walk in the spirit. He knows his normal spirit. He knows it is in that normal plane of his spirit where he is to walk in co-operation with the Spirit of God.
The danger of the human spirit acting out of co-operation with the Holy Spirit, and becoming driven or influenced by deceiving spirits is a very serious one. Those being influenced by deceiving spirits can be detected by those who walk softly and humbly with God. For example, a man is liable to think his own masterful spirit is an evidence of the power of God. He thinks this because he sees the Holy Spirit using him in winning souls. Perhaps another may have a flood of indignation inserted into his spirit, which he pours out thinking it is all of God. Perhaps others shy away from him because they see a harsh note which is clearly not of God.
Evil spirits counterfeiting the Divine workings, or even the workings of the man himself, have influence. They gain this influence because he is out of co-working with the Holy Spirit. The believer who seeks to walk with God needs to understand and detect the influence of evil spirits. He needs to know that because he is spiritual his "spirit" is open to two forces of the spirit realm. If he thinks that only the Holy Spirit can influence him in the spiritual realm, he is sure to be misled. If it were so, he would become infallible. Whenever you come upon someone who wants you to think them infallible, just say, "So that is what a resurrection body looks like. Would you let me have a little more proof by walking through this wall or through this tree." All believers need to watch and pray, and seek to have the eyes of our understanding enlightened to know the true workings of God.
SOME LAWS GOVERNING THE TRUE SPIRIT LIFE
Some of the laws governing the spirit life:
(1) The believer must know what is spirit, and how to give heed to the demands of the spirit, and not quench it. For example, a weight comes on his spirit, but he goes on with his work, putting up with the pressure. He finds the work hard, but he has no time to investigate the cause, until at last the weight becomes unendurable. He is forced to stop and see what is the matter. He should have given heed to the claims of the spirit at the first, and in a brief prayer taken the "weight" to God, refusing all pressure from the foe.
(2) He should be able to read his spirit. He should know at once when it is out of co-operation with the Holy Spirit, quickly refusing all attacks which are drawing his spirit out of the poise of fellowship with God.
(3) He should know when his spirit is touched by the poison of the spirits of evil. For example he should be aware of the injection of sadness, soreness, complaint, grumbling, fault-finding, touchiness, bitterness, feeling hurt, or jealousy. These are all direct from the enemy to the spirit. He should resist all sadness, gloom, and grumbling injected into his spirit. The victory life of a freed spirit means joyfulness (Gal. 5:22). Believers think that sadness has to do with their disposition. Some yield to it without a thought of resistance or reasoning out the cause. If they are asked if a man with a strong disposition to steal should yield to it, they would at once answer "no." Yet they yield to other "dispositions" less manifestly wrong, without question.
In the stress of conflict, when the believer finds that the enemy succeeds in reaching his spirit with any of these "fiery darts," he should know how to pray immediately against the attack. Ask God to destroy the causes of it. It should be noted that this touching of the spirit by various things is not the manifestation of the "works of the flesh." These things will quickly reach the realm of the flesh if not recognized and dealt with in sharp refusal and resistance. We are talking here of the believer who knows the life after the spirit.
(4) He should know when his spirit is in the right position of dominance over soul and body. Yet, his spirit should not be driven beyond due measure by the hardness of conflict or environment. There are three conditions of the spirit which the believer should be able to discern and deal with:
(1) The spirit depressed, crushed, or "down."
(2) The spirit in its right position, in poise and calm control.
(3) The spirit drawn out beyond "poise," when it is in strain, or driven, or in "flight."
When the man walks after the spirit, and discerns it to be in either of these conditions, he knows how to "lift" it when it is depressed. He knows how to check the over-action by a quiet act of his direct will. He knows when his spirit is drawn out of poise by over-eagerness, or drive of spiritual foes.
SOME LIGHT ON TRUE GUIDANCE AFTER THE SPIRIT
In "guidance," the believer should understand that when there is no action in his spirit, he should use his mind. If in everything there must be the "Amen" in the spirit, there is no use for the brain at all. Understand that the SPIRIT DOES NOT ALWAYS SPEAK. There are times when the spirit should be left at rest. In all guidance the mind decides the course of action, not only from the feeling in the spirit, but by the light in the mind.
In coming to a decision, the deciding is an act of mind and will, based upon, either mental process of reasoning, or sense of the spirit, or both:
(1) Decision by mental process, reasoning, or
(2) Decision by sense of the spirit: That is, movement, impelling; drawing or restraint; spirit as if "dead"--no response. Contraction of spirit; openness of spirit; fullness of spirit; compression of spirit; burden on spirit; wrestling in spirit; resisting in spirit.
God has three ways of communicating His will to men. By:
(1) vision to the mind, which is very rare, and can be given only to very matured spiritual men, such as Moses;
(2) understanding by the mind;
(3) consciousness to the spirit, that is, by light to the mind, and consciousness in spirit.
In true guidance, spirit and mind are of one accord. The intelligence is not in rebellion against the leading in the spirit. There should be rebellion between mind and spirit in counterfeit guidance by evil spirits. The Holy Spirit does not COMPEL THE MAN TO ACT, in obedience to what he thinks is of God, supernaturally given, and fears to disobey.
This all refers to guidance from the personal standpoint. It must be emphasized that ALL TRUE GUIDANCE FROM GOD IS IN HARMONY WITH THE SCRIPTURES. The "understanding" of the will of God by the mind, depends upon the mind being saturated with the knowledge of the written Word. True "consciousness in the spirit" depends upon its union with Christ through the indwelling Spirit of God.
The mind should never be dropped into neutral. The human spirit can be influenced by the mind. That is why it is so important that the believer should keep his mind in purity, and unbiased. It is also important to keep an unbiased decisive will. Passivity can be produced by seeking for a "leading" in the spirit all day, when there may be no action in the spirit to go by. When there is no movement, or "draw," or "leading" in the spirit, then the mind should be used. We can rely upon the promise of God, "the meek will He guide in judgment."(Ps. 25:9). An example of this use of the mind, when Paul had no consciousness in his spirit of any special guidance from God, is clearly given by him when he wrote to the Corinthians that in one matter he had commandment (1 Cor. 7:10), but in another he said, "I have no commandment of the Lord, but I give my judgment" (1 Cor. 7:25). In the one case he had the guidance through his spirit; in the other he used his mind, and clearly said so "after my judgment."
Through ignorance a large majority of believers walk "after the soul." They walk after their mind and emotions, and think they are "walking after the spirit." The Satanic forces know this right well, and use all their wiles to draw the believer to live in his soul or body. They can sometimes flash visions to the mind. They can give exquisite sensations of joy and buoyancy of life to the body. The believer "walks after the soul," and "after the body" as he follows these things. Today there are many walking after the soul and body, believing that they are following the Spirit of God.
The inward spiritual life through the spirit can be stopped by depending upon supernatural things given from outside. The spiritual life can be stopped by spiritual experiences in the sense realm. Experiences of the senses, instead of living in the true spirit, can draw the believer out to live in the outer man of his body. Experiences of the senses can stop him from acting by the spirit, at the center of his being. Many are caught by the outer workings of the supernatural in his surroundings. They can lose the inner co-operation with God and think they are more "spiritual than ever." The devil's scheme is to make the believer cease walking after the spirit. The devil wants to draw him out into the realm of soul or body. Then the spirit, which is where the Holy Spirit works, is in conflict against a spiritual foe, drops into arrest and is ignored. This happens because the believer is occupied with the sense-experience. The spirit is then practically out of action, either for guidance, power in service, or conflict.
THE COUNTERFEIT OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT
Evil spirits then seek to create a counterfeit of the spirit, and they do this by getting a footing in the person so as to produce other feelings than those of the spirit. When these get a hold they become strong enough to silence or overpower the true spirit-action, or spiritual feelings. If the believer is ignorant of the tactics of the enemy in this way, he lets go the true spirit-action, stops walking after the spirit, and follows the counterfeit spiritual feelings. He still thinks he is walking after the spirit all the time.
When the true spirit-action ceases, the evil spirits suggest that God now guides through the "renewed mind," which is an attempt to hide their workings, and the man's disuse of his spirit. When the spirit stops the co-operation with the Holy Spirit, then counterfeit "spirit" feelings take place in the body. This could be counterfeit light to the mind, reasoning, and judging. The man is then walking after mind and body. He is not walking after the spirit, with the true illumination of the mind which comes from full operation of the Holy Spirit.
To further interfere with the true spirit life, the deceiving spirits seek to counterfeit the action of the spirit in burden and anguish. This they do by first giving a false "Divine love" to the person, receiving it in their affections. When these affections are taken fully by the deceivers, the sense of love passes away, and the man thinks he has lost God and all communion with God. Then comes feelings of constraint and restraint. These will develop into acute suffering, which the believer thinks is in the spirit, and of God. Now he goes by these feelings, calling them "anguish in the spirit," "groaning in the spirit," while the deceiving spirits, through the sufferings given by them in the affections, compel the man to do their will.
All physical consciousness of supernatural things, and even undue consciousness of natural things, should be refused. This diverts the mind from walking after the spirit. It sets the mind upon the bodily sensations. This is an obstacle to the continuous concentration of the mind. In a spiritual believer an "attack" of physical "consciousness" by the enemy, may break concentration of the mind, and bring a cloud upon the spirit. The body should be kept calm, and under full control. Excessive laughter should be avoided, and all "rushing" which rouses the physical life to the extent of dominating mind and spirit. Believers who desire to be "spiritual" and of "full age" in the life in God, should avoid excess, extravagance, and extremes in all things (See 1 Cor. 9:25-27).
Because of the domination of the physical part of the man, and the emphasis placed upon supernatural experiences in the body, the body is made to do the work of the spirit. The body is forced into a prominence, which hides the true spirit life. It feels the pressure, feels the conflict, and THUS BECOMES THE SENSE INSTEAD OF THE SPIRIT. Believers do not perceive where they feel. If they are questioned as to where they "feel," they cannot answer. They should learn to discriminate, and know how to discern the feelings of the spirit. Feelings of the spirit are neither emotional (soulish), or physical. (See for example Mark 8:12; John 13:21; Acts 18:5.).
SOME DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SPIRIT
The spirit may be likened to the electric light. If the man's spirit is in contact with the Spirit of God it is full of light, apart from Him it is darkness. Indwelt by Him "the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord" (Prov. 20:27). The spirit may also be likened to elastic. When it is bound, or pressed, or weighted, it ceases to act, or to be the source of power in the life. If a man feels weighted, he should find out what the weight is. If he is asked, "Is it your body?" he would probably say "No," but that he "feels bound inside." Then what is it that is "bound" or "weighted?" Is it not the spirit? The spirit can be compressed or expanded, up or down, in or out of place, bound or free. The possibilities and potentialities of the human spirit are only known when the spirit is joined to Christ. When the human spirit is united to Him, the spirit is made strong to stand against the powers of darkness.
The great need of the Church is to know and understand the laws of the spirit. We need to co-work with the Spirit of God in fulfilling the purpose of God through His people. But the lack of knowledge of the spirit life has given the deceiving spirits of Satan the opportunity for the deceptions.
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