Chapter 4 (Part 1)
"Perceiving, recognizing, and understanding the wonders of His person"
I want us to look at these three words: perceiving, recognizing, and understanding.
First, I want you to think about perceiving. We really don't come close to perceiving God as He truly is. And one of the things we want to ask God to do with us is to help us grow in our ability to perceive Him, our ability to discern Him.
We need God's help because I believe our primary cause of errant perception is our attempt to perceive God with our injured soul-man as opposed to our undisturbed, untouched spirit-man.
Hang with me here! Let me explain what I mean.
You are made of three parts and so am I. We are made of a physical body, we are made of a soul, and we are made of a spirit. Now our soul is everything that gives us our emotions, our personality, all the things that make us--us--without the Lord Jesus. The spirit in us is our capacity to know God and to relate to God.
Every single one of us is born with a spirit; it's what sets us apart from the animals. Now when we receive Christ as our Savior, His Spirit takes up residency in our spirit.
But here's what happens. As we seek to understand God, we are constantly perceiving Him according to our injured soul-man. Our soul has been injured by sin. And it continues to be injured by life. Injured by hurts, injured by betrayals, injured by failure, injured by feelings. If we try and perceive God through the lens of any of these things that have damaged our soul, then we end up with a warped perception of God.
For instance, let's say we try to perceive God by what we feel. Now feelings are wonderful, don't misunderstand me, but here's what happens when we perceive according to how we feel. We feel loved today, but we don't feel love tomorrow. Guess how we then view the love of God? We question whether it will be there tomorrow. And our perception of God then flows out of a very injured soul, instead of out of the Spirit.
Let's take sin--now here's something I've got to talk about. Believe me, I have been there. It is always amazing to me how we damage ourselves because of sin.
And we have to understand that we will never be able to fulfill our purpose if we do not turn from our practices of sin. We will never perceive God as He truly is because sin quenches the Spirit. And when we quench the Spirit, we cannot hear Him and we cannot perceive Him.
This is so essential because everything God wants to reveal to us is through His Spirit.
That means you and I have to learn what it means to be filled with His Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says God wants to do more in our lives than our ears have heard, more than our eyes have seen and more than our minds have ever conceived. But it is revealed to us through the Spirit, the Scripture says.
Sin is so corrupting. Sin can ruin our lives and keep us from what God has for us. 1 Corinthians 5:6 is so instructive. Paul uses the yeast and the dough to show us the impact of sin. It says, Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?
This verse is talking about having an area of sin in our lives that is our pet area. Do you understand what I'm talking about? It's the cherished sin we have in our life. It's this yeast in the whole batch of dough. But God tells us, in verses 7-8,
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast . . . (this is my favorite part) . . . as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
Now look at the phrase, " . . . as you really are." I love that phrase because God wants us to understand that when we're wigged out in sin we are not acting like the person we really are. We might keep trying to say, "Lord, this is just how I am." But He says, "No, you're not. That is not how you are. You are acting contrary to who you are. You are a victor. You are more than an over-comer. I've given you victory over that area of sin. You really are pure."
You must come to that place where you realize you really are something to God. And when you practice on-going sin in your life, you are quenching the glory of God which He so desires to reveal to you.
Perception. Perceiving with the spirit-man.
Lord, let Your Word divide between soul and spirit, bone and marrow, that we would know the difference between what our injured soul-man is trying to tell us and what the Holy Spirit of the living God desires us to understand.
Now, there is something very important I need you to understand. Please track with me here. My physical body has been disturbed. I've been the victim of abuse. Not only that, but I have done goodness knows what else with my body. And my soul has certainly been disturbed, because the physical abuse I have suffered has deeply touched my soul.
But you know what? Nobody has touched my spirit. My spirit is untouched,virginal, chaste, one hundred percent without yeast. No one has victimized my spirit and I have never been able to defile that. Beloved, you have something and someone within you that is totally untouched and totally undefiled! Hallelujah!
When we live the Spirit-filled life, God's Spirit comes and takes command and authority over our lives. But only when we're living out of the spirit-man instead of our injured soul-man. The more you live out of that spirit-man the more your soul-man cannot control!
(to be continued on Tuesday)