Monday, November 8, 2010

Worlds Apart – the Spirit and the Flesh

As Jesus lovingly rebuked the disciples, he said,

“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

~John 6:63 (NRSV).

How is it that people who don’t believe in Jesus can’t see the vast polar differences in life—the life-breeding life and the death-impelled life?

I guess it’s made easier for people like me who are more or less ‘black ‘n’ white’ in terms of approach to life. But realistically, the evidences of both good and evil are quite plain to millions and not so for millions more, or perhaps good and evil is plain to everyone with good conscience, yet only certain hearts are open to God.

Jesus’ Conundrum

One of my favourite clichés is, “You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” And this seems to be Jesus’ eternal conundrum in getting people over the line, to life-giving faith.

Every pastor knows it; so too, everyone with an evangelistic heart. So many words are lost on deaf ears. (Mind you, there are deaf ears inside the church as much as outside it.)

It must’ve been heartrending for Jesus that many of his “disciples” turned away from him, choosing the way of the flesh in presentation of the Spirit (John 6:66). He was not torn for personal hurt but for the folly of their attitudes—the easy hard way of their choice, to go down intentionally to Sheol.

Dealing with a Dualist World

Not only are we festooned with the dualist world—good and evil everywhere—we too have this deep in our hearts; the capacity for both.

We’re at times warring with the flesh. The Spirit’s our only chance for revival.

Only through a deep reliance on God can we extract more Spirit and obliterate the flesh in our day-to-day. This is an intentional movement toward God every moment, not just every fresh morning.

As we awaken our moments, alive in the Spirit, we’re blessed to know the truth and abide by it—both of which are healthily co-dependent on one another. We cannot know the truth without continually doing it, living it.

The Spiritual Reality

There is an outcome where we can almost strangle this stranglehold of the flesh, not that we won’t sin. But the desires can be relegated, conformed and denied—but only when the Spirit has seen the abject surrender of the vessel; when the spirit within has finally given up hope of getting it right on its own (because it can’t).

What a great day that is!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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