Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we considered the place of listening to our hearts; but not just any heart but the regenerated heart as Christians. We learnt, according to the Bible, that the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life.
In today’s study we will be looking at how to train our spirits. The Lord enlightens us and guides us through our spirits. It is therefore very important that we become more spirit-conscious. We need to become more conscious of the fact that we are spirit beings, and not just mental or physical beings. We need to train our spirits so they will become safer guides. One thing which has held back the Christian world as a whole is that we are more physical-conscious (body-conscious) and more mental-conscious (soul-conscious) than we are spirit-conscious. We have developed the body and the soul, but we have left the spirit almost untouched.
Our spirits can be educated just as our minds can be educated; and can be built up in strength and trained just as our bodies can be built and trained.
Four rules by which we can train and develop our spirits.
1. Meditate On the Word
2. Practice the Word
3. Giving the Word first place
4. Instantly obeying the voice of your spirit
1. MEDITATE ON THE WORD OF GOD
Most deeply spiritual men and women give time to meditation in the Word of God. We cannot develop spiritual wisdom without meditation. God made that fact known to Joshua just after the death of Moses at the very beginning of Joshua's ministry in Joshua 1:8
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Another version of the last phrase says: "... you shall be able to deal wisely in the affairs of life."
We will know how to deal wisely in the affairs of life when we meditate in the Word of God and walk in the light of that Word. If we ever want to do anything great in life, if we ever want to amount to anything in life, we must take time to meditate in the Word of God. Start out with at least 10 or 15 minutes a day—then increase the time. The Hebrew word translated meditate also carries this thought with it: To mutter. Mutter the Word. We should therefore speak it to ourselves.
2. PRACTICE THE WORD
Practicing the Word means being a doer of the Word.
JAMES 1:22 says: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only....”
We have many "talkers about the Word," and even many "rejoicers about the Word," but we do not have many "doers of the Word."
Begin to practice being a doer of the Word by doing in all circumstances what the Word tells you to do. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34).
A doer of the Word will do that. If you love someone, you won't steal from him. You won't lie about him. The New Testament says that love is the fulfilling of the law. If we walk in love we won't break any law which was given to curb sin.
Being a doer of the Word means that we are to do primarily what is written in it. They are the letters written to us, the Church. As an example of doing the Word, let us look at some instructions given us in one of the Epistles. Philippians 4:6 says:
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
So let’s do that!
Mostly, we don't mind practicing part of this verse—the part that says to pray. But if we practice just that part and not the first part, we are not really practicing the Word—we are not really doers of the Word.
The Amplified translation of Philippians 4:6 begins with, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything...." First we are told not to fret. If we are going to fret and have anxieties, it will do no good to make requests. That kind of praying does not work. An over-anxious prayer full of fretfulness does not work. It is possible to become so fretful over something that we cannot eat or sleep. But all we have to do is practice the Word and we will get results.
Philippians 4:7 which says: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” is a result of practicing Philippians 4:6.
Many of us want what verse 7 talks about—but we don't want to practice what verse 6 says to do to get it. The Amplified translation of verse 7 says, "And God's peace . . . which transcends all understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
God's peace will keep guard over our hearts and minds.
But we cannot reap these results and have this peace without being a doer of the Word! Verse 6 tells us not to fret. People who worry and fret, continually think on the wrong side of life. Verse 8 tells us what we are to think about. PHILIPPIANS 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Practice this verse. Think about the right things. On the contrary we continually worry and fret and think on the wrong side of life—and continually talk unbelief. A doer of the Word will not continue to talk unbelief. The more we talk about some things, the bigger they get. If something does not meet all of these qualifications—if it is not true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report—do not think about it and do not talk about it!
3. GIVE THE WORD FIRST PLACE
The training, the developing, the educating of our spirits comes by giving the Word of God first place in our lives. Proverbs 4:20-22:
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”
The margin of the King James says the word translated health is the Hebrew word for medicine. God's Word is "medicine to all their flesh." There is healing in the Word.
We should train ourselves to ask ourselves concerning any matter, "What does God's Word have to say about this?" We should ask ourselves what God has to say about anything that may come up in our life—and then put that Word first. Sometimes family and friends will try to rush us into things—but we need to think about what the Word of God says and put God's Word first in every area of our lives.
4. INSTANTLY OBEY THE VOICE OF YOUR SPIRIT
The human spirit has a voice. We call that voice conscience. Sometimes we call it intuition, an inner voice, or guidance. The world calls it a hunch. But what it is, is our spirits speaking to us. Every man's spirit, saved or unsaved, has a voice. The human spirit, as we have seen in previous studies, is a spiritual man, a spirit man, an inward hidden man. He is hidden to the physical senses. We cannot see him with the physical eyes, nor touch him with our physical hands. This is the man who has become a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). When a man is born again, his spirit becomes a new spirit.
It is worthy of note that meditation in the Word, practicing the Word, giving the Word first place, all come before obeying our spirits. You see, if our spirits have had the privilege of meditating in the Word, of practicing the Word, of putting the Word first—then our spirits become authoritative guides.
From Prov. 20:27, we know that our new-born spirit has within it the life and nature of God. The Holy Spirit dwells within our spirits. 1 John 4:4 says: "... greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." The Holy Spirit dwells in our spirits. God has to communicate with us through our spirits because that is where He is. Our spirit get information through Him. So we should learn to obey the voice of our spirits.
If we are not accustomed to doing that, of course, we will not get there quickly.
Our spirits can be built up and strengthened just as our bodies can be built up and strengthened. Our spirits can be educated just as our minds can be educated. But just as we did not begin school in the first grade one week and graduate from the twelfth grade the next week, our spirits will not be educated and trained overnight. However, if we will follow these four points and practice them, after a while we can know the will of God the Father even in the minor details of life. We will receive guidance and will always instantly get either a yes or a no. We will know in our spirits what we should do in all the affairs of life.