1 Corinthians 2:11-12 “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
Understanding Truth requires the ability to see beyond what our eyes can perceive. The spiritual man or woman of God might be able to perceive spiritual things but then I’ve known many people who in a drug induced state have had this ability. Walk downtown in any big city in America and ask those living on the streets if they have ever seen evil; you will hear a resounding reply to the affirmative.
You don’t have to be in tune with God to see or experience spiritual things, but you do have to be in tune with God’s Spirit if you want to discern spiritual Truth.
The perception of spiritual matters can leave a natural man with a false conclusion. Since my primary ministry is toward men, I’m using man as a reference but this applies equally to women.
The natural man is who we are apart from God. The body incorporates the spirit of man which was given at our inception. Within the construct of our being lies also our soul, the compilation of what makes each of us unique. The decisions we make in life, both the good and bad decisions that left an imprint on who we are, the moral decisions of obedience to God or indifference to His Spirit’s call, our soul is our identifier that contains this imprint within our spirit. The mind has often been translated as the soul but when separated from the soul in scripture denotes the decision processes that lead us in life. It is the decisions of the mind in regard to our experiences in times past that layers our soul and affects who we are today.
Body, soul, and spirit….it is this unification of attributes that resembles God in His own image…..Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We, apart from God, are limited in our ability to discern Godly things. We are not completely numb to all that God is doing in our natural state but we don’t have the ability to draw conclusions in godly wisdom on our own. We can recognize God’s laws at work around us, we can see attributes of His goodness, we even sense God’s hand at work in our lives when presented to us.
When it comes to drawing conclusions as to the nature of spiritual interaction, this is where the Spiritual man has an advantage.
1 Corinthians 2:13-14 “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Seeing God through the Haze
There is a haze of indifference within the eyes of the world. Drawing conclusions based off perception leaves people with only their experiences and understanding as a foundation for growth.
What the natural man does is focuses on self first. Listen to what many people use as a reasoning for marriage to understand how natural reasoning concludes:
The US News report a couple of years ago cited 9 reasons for getting married:
- It’s cheaper–being able to consolidate expenses such as rent and utilities makes it easier for couples to live.
- It’s better for the economy–married couples purchase more because they have more to spend.
- Married couples help their neighborhoods–by contributing to a neighborhood, they make them stronger.
- Married women and children have better health insurance.
- Children grow up in a more stable environment.
- Marriage makes mothers less stressed—this is assuming the husband helps.
- Children get more opportunities–more stability, better income, leads to more opportunities.
- Marriage provides better social networks–kids play a large role in this, also men and women bring different aspects to socializing.
- Wait too long—and the harder it is to get married
If any part of this list was the predominant reason for getting married, a couple would be in trouble.
Listening to what reasons people have with picking a spouse and the list is equally troubling.
- Love—sounds romantic but most young couples base their love off their sex experience. It is not uncommon to cohabitate with someone for a period of time before making the decision for marriage. The excuses are that people just want to “get to know” someone before they make such a commitment and yet it seems sex is their way to do that. This isn’t love–it is lust.
- Companionship—many people are just lonely, finding a lover and diving into a whirlwind experience can seem exciting for the moment but then, like all relationships, there comes a time when the newness wears off and reality sets in. When the company isn’t as easy to keep, the desire to move on begins to set in.
- They make me happy—I’ve heard this one far too many times to think this has any substance to it at all. Happiness is so fleeting, emotional, and superficial that for this to be a predominant reason for embracing another shows a serious lack of maturity.
- We have like interests—there have been many couples that think they have found their “soulmate”, because they realized they both like to go hiking, or fishing, or she likes football, or he likes to cook. Although having like interests can help in establishing a relationship, what happens when one person can’t participate? What do you do if illness arises, or children change the dynamic and the time of adventure is relegated to going to soccer practice or rehearsal?
- They are good looking—I’ve known many who have never gotten married because they were just so picky on what they expected their spouse to look like. Is it possible that someone can be beautiful without having the appearance of a model? There are very few “perfect” people in this world, if any, and if the ideal look is the objective then you’ll always have that unfulfilled image in the back of your mind.
When looking at these lists, are there any themes that tend to stand out?
Whether someone is a believer in Christ or unbeliever, foolishness will reign in the heart if wisdom is avoided.
The natural man lives by the selfish desire of self-fulfillment. The idea of ‘making society a better place’, is only an abstract way of attempting to improve your surroundings so that your life is better, it is a very selfish agenda.
If we who are believers in Christ don’t live by the leading of the Spirit, the lack of objectivity can digress into the haze of worldly reason. It may look good on the surface but there lies a storm of trouble underneath.
The Spirit filled Man
1 Corinthians 2:15 “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
Spiritual discernment comes exclusively from God. You cannot have godly discernment apart from having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
When a man or woman comes to God in humility, they come by way of Jesus. Humility and a contrite spirit God will not despise. When looking at a brief overview of people’s perceptions about a good partner or reasons for getting married, the drive for self fulfillment is a difficult hurdle to overcome.
Judging all things….
The Word of God is the standard of God’s judgement. The spiritual man is able to judge what is right and wrong because he is knowledgeable regarding God’s law. When sharing Truth with another, it is God’s law that brings conviction of sin, when a brother is sinning, it is by the Word of God we gently correct them in hopes to restore.
The world knows nothing about God’s laws nor do they understand the wisdom that comes by way of walking in them. When confronting the world about sin, the law brings knowledge of sin to sinners. Some may falsely accuse a believer of being judgemental but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The believer came to Christ because of the knowledge of their own sin, by sharing this with others we bring them to a point of decision on how they choose to stand when they discover the judgement they are under.
Teaching all things….
Instructing others in the way of wisdom comes by way of the Holy Spirit. It is through obedience to the instructions of God that a believer grows in their knowledge of God. These instructions aren’t exclusive to just being obedient to God’s laws, but more specifically in being obedient to His love. Loving others is reflected in God’s laws but takes many forms. Sharing the gospel in boldness, encouraging someone who needs strength, considering others over yourself is the pattern of someone who loves the Lord completely.
The gifts of God are given freely, they are offered to all those who would receive them. Receiving Christ is the first step, walking with Christ is the key, then everything else gets filtered through that reality. The filter is a knowledge of God’s will and that comes by way of His Word.
How do you know if you are walking in this reality?
The attributes of the Spiritual Man are the attributes of a man or woman or God:
- He flees from Sin—1 Timothy 6:11
- He pursues Godly character—Isaiah 51:1
- He fights for the Fath—1 Timothy 6:12
- He lives with an eye to eternal life—1 Timothy 6:12
- He intimately knows God-—1 Timothy 6:13-16
The values of a man can differ greatly based off where his priorities originate. A question was posed at a recent men’s prayer group as to what constituted ‘being a man’. Thoughts of being faithful, honest, hard working, loving, generous, kind, are all attributes that are commendable. But the difference between the spiritual man and the natural man are an eternity apart.
Each attribute becomes more prominent when associated with a love for the Lord. Confidence in the flesh is fleeting but confidence in the Lord who has proven Himself faithful is secure. The spiritual man of God sees life through His relationship to Christ. He is honest because it honors the Lord, he is faithful because the Lord is faithful, he is kind because he was shown God’s grace, he is everything worthy of praise because the Lord is to be praised. The man of God is made by his relationship to Jesus and he makes decisions because of His love for God.
The woman who has wisdom looks for such a man, it is these attributes that should be most highly prized. It is these attributes of godliness that a man can likewise gift to his wife as a way to show love to her, for she benefits of such qualities.
How do you see and experience life? Walk in the Spirit and your ability to see beyond the veil will give life to all you do.