Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
To be led by the Great Shepherd; we need to be able to identify His voice. John 10: 4 says: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice”. Also in verse 14, Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”
Over the past few months we have been learning to understand how God speaks to us and more importantly that we obey when He does speak.
In today’s study we will be considering the topic “My Spirit, the Flesh or the Holy Spirit?” This is important because it is possible that we may have sometimes wondered "How one can tell whether it is their own spirit, or the Holy Spirit telling them to do something?"
We must have at some time thought to ourselves: "But it may just be me wanting to do it."
First let’s define the terms.
If by "me" you mean the flesh, of course you should not obey the flesh over the spirit.
But if by "me" you mean the inward man, the real you, then it is all right to obey the inward man. Go ahead and do what he wants you to do because it will align with the will of God.
If your spirit is a new creature in Christ Jesus and old things have passed away and all things are become new, and your spirit has the life and nature of God in it and the Holy Spirit in it, and your spirit is in fellowship with God—it is not going to tell you to do something that is not right. If you are a Spirit-filled Christian, your inward man has the Holy Spirit in His fullness—not in a measure, but in His fullness—making His home in you. It is not the inward man of the Christian that wants to do wrong—it is the outward man.
You ought to be able to tell whether it is the flesh wanting to do something, or the spirit.
Here is a text that has been a puzzle to many:
1 JOHN 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
This verse of scripture is talking about the inward man.
Physically we are born of human parents and we partake of their nature. Spiritually we are born of God and partake of His nature. God's nature is not the nature to do wrong.
It is true that we may have missed it a lot of times as Christians. But our “inward man” did not sin.
He didn't even agree with us when we did sin. He tried to get us not to do it but we failed to yield to him. We went ahead to do as we pleased. We allowed our flesh to dominate and we missed it, but our spirits never did consent to it. Our hearts wept because we sinned.
I John refers to God's seed. This seed is in our spirit, not in our flesh.
Most of the time we deceive ourselves; on the outward, our actions “appear” genuine but deep inside our motivation isn’t. Like when for instance we spread gossip in the name of prayer request. We claim to seek peace but our intentions are to inflict hurt on a brother or sister. (Discuss)
Even when our conscience is checking us, we insist and soon our conscience becomes seared and we become insensitive to the Spirit’s promptings and we continue to walk in error! ITimothy1:19 says: “holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”
If we continue to allow our flesh dominate us, if we continue to let our natural mind dominate us, and do not get our mind renewed with the Word we will continue to miss it.
That's why Paul wrote to born-again, Spirit-filled Christians at Rome and told them to do two things: First, they were to present their bodies, and second, they were to renew their minds with the Word (Rom. 12:1, 2).
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Until our minds are renewed with the Word of God, our flesh and our un-renewed minds will dominate our spirit. That will keep us as baby (or carnal) Christians.
Paul said to the church at Corinth,
"I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1).
"For ye are yet carnal...," he said (v. 3).
One translation says, "For you are yet body-ruled."
Then he told them, "... and [ye] walk as men" (v. 3).
Another translation says, "Ye walk as mere men."
What did he mean?
He meant they were walking and doing things just like unsaved men do.
When we get our minds renewed with the Word, then our minds will side in with our spirits instead of with our bodies. And the two of them—our spirits through our minds—will control our bodies
Our spirits will not tell us something wrong; because our spirits have the nature of God and the life of God; the love of God and the Spirit of God! When we go wrong, it is our flesh that leads us astray – not our spirits.
2 PETER 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature....”
We are born of God; and to grow, we feed on the Word of God. By so doing we become partakers of the divine nature, God's nature. If we have the divine nature in us, our spirit will not tell us to do something wrong - whatever your spirit tells us will be right.