Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
A person is made up of three parts: spirit, soul, and body/flesh (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The body is the outward part that is seen by the natural eye, referred to as the “earth suit”. The soul is composed of mind, emotions, will, and attitudes, our personality. And the spirit is the breath of God that gave all humans life. It is the hidden, inner part that has access to God. No other creature was created by God with this third part. Today, as part of ways to function in God’s plan for our lives, we will be looking at the topic “Develop Your Spirit”.
Man was created in the image of God, and since God is spirit, we are also spirit beings. Proverbs 20:27a says: “The spirit of a man is the lamp of God” It is by this spirit, the Lord leads us and accomplishes His purposes in our lives.
Job 32:8 (NCV) says: “But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives understanding.”
When man fell in Eden, the spirit of man (the part that has access to God) was overthrown by the flesh and since then there has been a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. And our enemy has since then used the flesh of the fallen man to control and derail man from the original purpose and intention of God for him. That is why our spirit needs to be strong so that it can take the lead; not our flesh. Our spirit needs to be alert to be able to perceive and receive from God; whatever direction He wants us to take. That is why it is
therefore very important to build a strong spirit.
At the point of being born again, every one of us was given a measure of the renewed spirit
Ezekiel 36:26-27 says: “26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
We have the opportunity to nurture this new spirit or starve it. The choice we make about this determines the part that wins in every conflicting circumstance between the spirit and the flesh.
TEXT: Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
A DEVELOPED/STRONG SPIRIT
A developed spirit is a strong spirit. Proverbs 18:14a (MSG) tells us that a strong spirit is what sustains us in any kind of trouble. It says: “A healthy spirit conquers adversity,”
A strong spirit is confident, established, unmovable and ready for anything. It is steady under pressure, full of joy and peace—and it never quits.
Proverbs 24:10 says: “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.”
A strong spirit will get you through anything—physical attacks, financial problems, relational difficulties, career setbacks and whatever else the devil throws your way; ensuring that we do not deviate from God’s original plan and purpose for our lives
WAYS TO DEVELOP A STRONG SPIRIT
1. Feed Your Spirit, Starve Your Flesh
“Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” –Matthew4:4 (AMPC)
Healthy, nutritious food for our spirit is the Word of God. Whether you know it or not, your spirit has a voracious appetite for God’s Word. The Word feeds your spirit just like natural food feeds your body. It’s like a healthy meal to your spirit.
Job 23:12 says: “I have not gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
2. Get Spiritual Exercise
“Train yourself toward godliness…[keeping yourself spiritually fit].” 1 Tim 4: 7 (AMPC)
The Bible tells us that while there is some value in physical exercise, spiritual exercise is much more important (1 Timothy 4:7-8). That’s because exercising your faith will strengthen your spiritual muscles.
The stronger you are spiritually, the easier it is to believe God and receive from Him.
Take on spiritual activities that stretch your faith, that deepens your trust and reliance in the Lord. Spend time fasting and praying, spend extended periods meditating and carrying out in-depth studies of the Word. Volunteer and participate in Kingdom related projects that you may have never engaged in before.
Isaiah 6:8 (NIV) “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
3. Take Spiritual Rest
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest….” Matthew 11:28 (AMPC)
Rest isn’t always the state of doing nothing. Instead, it’s an active choice to press in and trust God. Such as casting all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:6-8), praying in tongues will edify and build up your spirit (Jude 1:20 & 1 Corinthians 14:4) and waiting on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). Go on spiritual retreats; pulling back from the maddening crowd, and from activities that drain virtue from us while we draw closer to the Lord for replenishment and revitalization.
4. Develop Good Habits
Ephesians 6:10 (GNT)
“Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power.”
TPT renders this verse thus:
“Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus”
- Get time with God everyday (Ps 25:4, Luke 5:16, John 15:7)
- Get together with believers every week (Heb. 10:25, you by yourself like a block of coal will grow cold and weak, Acts 5:42, Eccl 4:9-10)
- Give a tithe to God (Matt. 6:21, Deut. 14:23c says: “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.”)
- Never shy away from the opportunity to serve God. (Exodus 23:25)
5. Don’t Run Away from Challenges
God always has a purpose for our challenges. No pain, trial, tribulation gets to us without our Father’s approval. He lets them come to us because He has a purpose for them! Challenges come to make us strong.
James 1: 2-4 (MSG)
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:12 (AMP)
“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive (the victor's) crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”
God is not interested in children that only have a superficial relationship with Him, He wants us to have depth, develop roots that go deep down and stabilize us and this is not achieved in a hurry. So we are to stay on until He is through with His work, He has a purpose and a plan. So put up with it and go through it, don’t even think of quitting because He will bring you out at the end a better person. He wants us to grow! Not to remain stagnant. Psalms 66:9-12 (MSG) says:
“Didn't he set us on the road to life? Didn't he keep us out of the ditch? He trained us first, passed us like silver through refining fires, Brought us into hardscrabble country, pushed us to our very limit, Road-tested us inside and out, took us to hell and back; Finally he brought us to this well-watered place.”
PITFALLS TO AVOID
To remain spiritually strong, there are certain attitude traps we must avoid. These attitudes leave us exposed to the whims of the devil.
1. Self-Indulgence - Judges 14:1-20
The first pitfall we will consider is self-indulgence; living only based on your feelings; doing whatever we like and want. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23
“23 You are certainly free to eat food offered to idols if you want to; it’s not against God’s laws to eat such meat, but that doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and do it. It may be perfectly legal, but it may not be best and helpful.”
Also in 1 Corinthians 6:12 (MSG)
“12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
Rick Warren says:
- Just because I want something doesn’t mean I must have it
- Just because I can afford it doesn’t mean I must buy it
- Just because it’s pleasurable doesn’t mean it is good
- Just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean I have to do it
To be spiritually strong, you must therefore discipline your desires.
2. Anger and Bitterness - Numbers 20:11-12
We have been taught time and again how anger can truncate a person’s destiny. Moses’ anger caused him entering the Promised Land. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us that anger exposes us to the attack of the enemy. It says: “26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.”
One of the original purposes for man we learnt earlier in the year from Micah 6:8 which says: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
James 1:20 (AMP) says: “for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behaviour which He requires from us].”
Letting your anger consume your thoughts and actions will only lead you down a sinful path with consequences; one of which is being derailed from God’s plan and purpose as we see in the case of Moses.
Psalm 37:8 says: “Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.”
Job 5:2 says: "To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do." (GNT)
Job 18:4a says: “You are only hurting yourself with your anger.”
3. Negligence, Carelessness and Compromise - Judges 16:1-20
Negligence is the failure to take proper care of something or a refusal to pay the required attention to something. It lies at the opposite end of the spectrum to Diligence. Carelessness carries the consequence of sapping your spiritual strength. Anytime you get careless with any aspect of your life you are headed in the wrong direction, Carelessness leads to little compromises and little foxes do spoil the vine.
Song of Solomon 2:15 says: “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Samson toyed with sin and slowly slipped to the point where he finally fell; after the Spirit of the Lord left him, he lost his spiritual strength.
Negligence in one area of our lives is an “unhealthy cancer” that can very easily spread to other areas. It’s sneaky so let’s be careful! When we are negligent over any area of our lives, we are simply creating an environment for disaster; we are digging a pit, breaking the hedge, and exposing ourselves to the enemy to drain out our spiritual strength.
Proverbs 19:16 (MSG) says: “Keep the rules and keep your life; careless living kills.”
Developing one’s spirit does not happen by accident — it’s the result of the choices you make and habits you develop. Since the fall of man in Eden, the spirit of man (the part that has access to God) was overthrown by the flesh and since then there has been a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. From our study today, we learnt that Samson chose a lifestyle that sapped his spiritual strength.We learnt that Moses, missed the Promise Land due to anger. It is therefore very important that everyone of us evaluate our spiritual condition. 3 John 1:2 NLT says:
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”
Every believer has the potential to stand in a greater place of supernatural strength. As we build a stronger spirit, it will become easier to receive, resist and stand. We will be victorious with a strong spirit! And we will be strong enough to strengthen others. And even more importantly, we will be better equipped to remain on track as we function in God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
Parts of this study was culled from