Sunday, November 11, 2012

Yearnings of the Spirit Man

When a person is born again (or saved), his/her spirit man is recreated with new life (John 3:3; Romans 6:4). Then the spirit man must be nurtured and developed. Without spiritual food and development, the spirit man remains malnourished, impoverished and imprisoned. The word of God is the food for spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:2). Prayer is also needed to develop the spirit man.

After the spirit is recreated then the soul (mind, will and emotions) can be renewed and saved (Ephesians 4:23-24). It takes the anointed word of God to renew the mind and save the soul (James 1:21). Until the mind is renewed, every believer experiences a struggle between the recreated spirit and the old nature or flesh which wants to control the spirit man (Galatians 5:17). When the flesh rules the spirit man, the result is carnality. The carnal mind is hostile towards God (Romans 8:7). When the mind is renewed so that the spirit man rules the flesh there will be oneness in spirit and soul.

Who really knows the spirit man? There are a few important things known about the spirit man. First, the spirit man yearns for heavenly things rather than earthly or mundane things. The spirit man will seek those things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-2). The spirit man yearns for fellowship with the Lord. Second, the spirit man must be liberated to fulfill purpose and destiny. It takes the Holy Spirit to free the spirit man. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).

The more a believer communes with the Holy Spirit the freer the spirit man becomes. A good example to help understand the concept of freeing the spirit man relates to the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41-44). After Jesus called Lazarus from death to life, he still had to be loosed from the grave clothes. Likewise, people who experience the new birth sill have to be loosed from all the things that would otherwise keep them in bondage. Loose the spirit man and let him go free. Third, the spirit’s general purpose is to yield fruit for the Lord. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 ). When believers catch hold of what their spirit man says then their mind becomes renewed and fruitful.

Prayer is critical for releasing the spirit man. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of many powerful prayers that God heard and answered. Consider the prayers of Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah and Daniel that the Lord answered and, in many cases, is still answering (Genesis 20:17; Deuteronomy 9:26; 1 Kings 18:36-38; Psalm 72:18-20 and Daniel 6:10). Jesus prayed for believers in all generations in His priestly prayer before his crucifixion and resurrection (John 17:6-26). Many of Paul’s prayers have become model prayers for believers (Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21). Believers can operate a vibrant prayer life by studying the prayers shown in the word of God. However, just repeating these prayers does not ensure that the spirit man will be brought forth in his fullness. Reliance on the Holy Spirit is needed for the full development of the spirit man.

The eighth chapter of Romans contrasts the carnal man and the spirit man. In that chapter Paul explained that the intellectual or carnal mind cannot know what should be prayed in order to bring forth the spirit man in his fullness. For we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily (Romans 8:26b AMP). From this verse it is clear that believers cannot have the intellectual knowledge concerning how to pray or for what to pray in order to liberate the spirit man. The spirit man hungers for things that the intellectual mind cannot understand. We do not know for what our spirit hungers. The spirit man understands things that the intellectual mind does not understand. In particular, the spirit man can have an understanding of a believer’s purpose and destiny that the carnal mind cannot comprehend. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? (1 Corinthians 2:11a) Both the development and release of the spirit man are important for purpose and destiny to be fulfilled.

Excerpt from Walking in the Father’s Riches: the Prosperity of Sonship by Fred and Sherry White. ISBN: 978-0-615-34349-5