Friday, January 10, 2014

The Spirit's Presence (Release)

First of all, notice the illustration at the bottom. Many use this diagram to represent the nature of a human being. Human beings are comprised of three parts: body, soul and spirit. The illustration does a pretty good job of showing the basic areas of a human being, and how they can be independent of one another. For example, the term "muscle memory" refers to a response so ingrained into a human body that it seems to by-pass human thinking. It also illustrates how people work from the inside out. Everything a person does is birthed in the spirit, moves into the soul and, then, out through the body.

It does not do a well-enough job with the inter-dependence of the main areas. For example, when a body is fatigued, the soul often gets grouchy. But, even if it is not entirely accurate, it is helpful.

Without Christ, the body and the soul are alive. The spirit, in one sense, is alive, because it is the animating force for the body and soul. But, in another sense, it is dead, because it is not connected to Christ.

Without Christ, a wall of sin grows at the division of soul and spirit. (There is no basis for this really. I am trying to build a picture that I hope is helpful in understanding the relationship between the Spirit, our spirits and the prevalence of sin still in God's family.) Without the influence of the Spirit, sin strengthens, grows, and reinforces this sin-wall. Whatever actions, words or impulses are birthed in our spirits need to filter through the sin-wall, and are polluted by it. Like a duck, that gets trapped in an oil spill, its body gets coated with the oil. It can't swim correctly; it can't fly correctly; it can't live as it was designed to live.

Now, the person receives Christ. God sends the Holy Spirit to mark the person, give the person life, connect the person to God and add the person into God's family. Connected to God, the person has life. As the person focuses his/her heart on God, God reciprocates the focus. Love, grace and life flow into the person's spirit and naturally begins to flow through the division of soul and spirit, into the soul ... and right through the sin-wall that's still there.

The person's God-filled life-essense flowing out into the world has just gotten dragged through the oil slick. It has been polluted and spoiled. The effect of God's life in his children has gotten messed up, so it can't have the same impact in the world, as if it flowed out pure and clean.

So, what does God do? He cleans up the oil slick. He smashes down the wall. As we walk with God, focus our hearts on God, grace, love and the Spirit flow into our hearts and begin an attack on this sin-wall. Sometimes it is an acetylene torch; sometimes it is a sledge hammer; sometimes it is a wrecking ball.

As these work, the wall gets thinner, less dense and more porous. What comes out of our spirits is less polluted. Sometimes, there is a crack or a hole, and what emerges is pure, unadulterated God. Of course, the reverse is true. We focus elsewhere, break God's word, and the sin-wall begins to grow and strengthen again.

All sorts of experiences and practices weaken the wall: prayer, reading and meditation, worship, service and using a special ability God gives individually and personally to each of his children. There are other experiences that can have an effect too: special meetings, conferences or God breaking through, meeting a need in a special way. The daily activities are similar to the torch, or hammer and chisel. The special events can sometimes act like dynamite or the wrecking ball.

The people I mentioned in the last post, who focused on particular actions and results, often (not always) emphasized these special experiences. As if only dynamite can break down a wall. But someone, with a spoon, patience, perseverance and diligence, can still dig through a wall. And maybe the spoon can weaken a strategic point and give the special event more impact.
  • The man in the previous post seemed to say people did not have enough of the Spirit. Maybe all of the Spirit is in our spirit, but not enough of him is getting out.
  • God works through all of life. Multiple experiences work to release God's Spirit in and thorugh our lives. The special and the every day. The main catalyst of this release is our heart-focus.
  • To quote John Eldredge, "It's not what God is not giving, but what he is giving." He is always giving and always speaking to us. Quite often, we expect something else, and so we miss what he is doing. Pay attention. Focus your heart and receive what he sends, whether it is an earthquake or a whisper.

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