In advance, some thoughts on exploring the idea of walking in the spirit vs. walking in the flesh …
As for walking in the spirit, indeed, there will be no ordinary days any more because I know for sure that He brings the unexpected things. And there’s something new about His Love that will catch you by surprise (it’s all about those extra things personally provided by Him). What I mean here is in particular the unexpected experience of being transformed from a fleshly-minded person into a spiritually-minded being without doing anything yourself in order to get there. It is the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit to give birth to a new creation in Christ (Jn 3:3-8; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15).
I guess that God chose the picture of “birth” to remind us of our own helplessness during that process of being born again. We are like babies who are born when it’s time to experience a completely unknown, new world outside the comfortable womb. Another thing which is fully consistent with the image of a newborn baby is that we, too, forget everything about our experiences inside the womb as soon as we have learned to survive in the spiritual promised land (i.e., the Kingdom of God). We learn to walk by the spirit, and we learn to speak another language that not necessarily needs words which could be heard by anyone. But most of all, we learn to forget, namely our past sins, the sins of others, our past pain, our previous likes and dislikes – and last but not least, we forget the desires of the flesh.
In order to illustrate that experience, I’d like to choose a situation taken out of the Bible but described in my own words.
Imagine Jesus, seeing a crowd following Him, and Jesus finally speaking to the people. At first, Jesus announced something that was correspondent to the Ten Commandments, that is, He confirmed that man should not commit adultery (Mt 5:27). I think there were several listeners who probably bowed their head in shame.
Though it was nothing new for the Jews, and certainly there were also men who never committed adultery, but maybe they had thought divorce to be an appropriate means to get rid of an unloved wife in order to marry another woman. Of course, those men behaved properly according to the rules of the Mosaic Law. However, Jesus made clear that He was more rigorous than Moses had been before since He forbade them to divorce (Mt 19:6-9). Ouch!
Yet there was still another group of men who never committed adultery, and who never got divorced – how happy could they be after Jesus’ teaching!? Honestly, I am afraid they were just as unhappy as all the others for Jesus explained,
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:28 ESV)
Phew! Except for Jesus there were 100 percent fleshly-minded human beings around. All of them were sinners who needed a savior. They needed the One who stood in front of them. They needed the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, so that man is – for example – no longer interested in “committing adultery in his heart”.
Nonetheless, how is it that spiritually-minded persons confronted with the idea of committing adultery can resist without difficulties?
The main reason lies in the fact that God’s Spirit pours His Love more and more into their hearts, so that their fleshly desires die away completely. To use an illustration for this, I’d claim that one could confront them with the most beautiful people in the world, even naked, and they would surely stifle a yawn. Also, the longing to touch another beloved person’s “flesh” (body), that is, hugging, kissing, and more, has died away as well (*). Touching others’ “flesh” merely feels like – if you excuse my diction – hugging a wooden statue. Not very romantic, is it?
The spiritually-minded person really knows that “the body is dead because of sin” (Rom 8:10), and that “the flesh is no help at all.” (Jn 6:63) “It is the Spirit who gives life“ (loc. cit.), and those persons live their life in the Spirit knowing a love that is far better than anything else in this world: it is God’s Spirit who loves them spiritually – twenty-four-seven…
The puzzle of life can be complete when one has found the missing piece – in Christ’s Spirit. To put it briefly: There’s nothing to compare with the greatness of these feelings that we’re pursuing when we know Christ (or rather, when we are “known by God”, 1 Cor 8:3). Since it is very difficult to describe these blessed experiences of spiritual ecstasy in plain language, I often write poems about it.
For your interest, see my other blog susanneschuberth.wordpress.com
(*) The apostle Paul pointed to that fact when he said, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman,” (1 Cor 7:1). But since there were not so many spiritual believers in Corinth, like in Gal 6:1, the seventh chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians got some more verses. 😉