GAINING KNOWLEDGE OF MATTERS OF THE SPIRIT: WORSHIPPING GOD
Jesus and the Samaritan women:
"'Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.'
Jesus said to her, 'Women, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father... But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
God is Spirit; and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.'"
John worshiped in the Spirit.
"I, John... was in the Spirit (or in spirit) on the Lord's day..."
Revelation 1:9, 10
Many times in large fervent meetings with the accompanying crescendos of a multitude of glorious voices, harmonizing in concert with familiar songs of faith and praise, I have felt overwhelmed by a longing for God and I thought I was worshipping in my spirit. But as I became more discerning I realized that it was not love and longing I was feeling but a tremendous surge of emotion in my flesh and soul that felt like love. And when the music died, the orations ended, the crowds dispersed, the rapture of emotion also died as evening breezes fade in early dawn. They were not worship, they were not truth, they were not Spirit. And these words of AW Tozer helped me know and understand.
"Love is not a feeling, it is a willing!"
I need to become discerning, to know myself so well that I can discern what is of my flesh -- my body and my soul -- and what is of my spirit.
I communicate with the physical world through my body, my seven senses. I communicate with the spiritual world through my spirit. My soul, the seat of my personality -- my will, intellect and emotional life -- is the linking chain between the two. How things are supposed to work!
"My soul looks to the my spirit for the supply which the latter has received from the Holy Spirit and communicates to the body what it has received so that the body may partake of the perfection of the Holy Spirit."
"Why is this not immediately true for us when we are born again in our spirit? (We should clearly remember that in this life the soul is man's consummate expression, while in the next life in the resurrection the spirit will be man's consummate expression.)"
"It is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body."
1 Corinthians 15:44
"Because the believers have long been controlled by the soul, they have become very weak in their knowledge of the spirit. We should ask God to show us in our experience what is of the spirit and what is of the soul. Before a person is regenerated, his spirit is deeply submerged within his soul. The person cannot distinguish what comes from the soul and what comes from the spirit. The main functions of the spirit toward God are lost and dead, they are obliterated. Hence, even after a believer is regenerated, there is still the need for the work of dividing the soul from the spirit."
Scripture from Hebrews:
"Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it... There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from His works, as God did from His.
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same examples of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Hebrews 4:1, 9-12
(I had never noticed before that the verse about the division of soul and spirit is preceded by Scripture about entering God's Rest, one of the continuing themes in the Bible.)
"It is only after a man is regenerated that God's life and the Holy Spirit begin to live in man's spirit and enliven it to become the instrument of the Holy Spirit. Man's spirit is independent of his other parts. The spirit is not man's mind, will or emotion. Here, God regenerates us and instructs us and leads us into His rest."
So what is the problem? Our spirit cannot be in control without the consent of our soul.
"When the spirit tries to control the body, it has to do so with the help of the soul. Before man fell, it was the spirit (through the soul) that controlled the whole being. When the spirit wanted to do something, it communicated to the soul, and the soul activated the body to follow the order of the spirit. That is what it means for the soul to be the medium. The soul is potentially the strongest part, because both the spirit and the body are incorporated into it, take it as their personality, and are affected by it. But in the beginning, man had not sinned, and the power of the soul was fully under the control of the spirit.
The soul is in the middle of the body and the spirit. It exercises its judgment to determine if the spiritual realm is to rule or if the physical realm is to rule. Or sometimes the soul rules through its intellect, (reason, opinions, prejudices, mind-sets, belief system) or emotions. Unless the soul yields its rule to the spirit, the spirit cannot rule. The soul is the master of a person because man's will is part of the soul. When the spirit controls the whole being, it is because the soul has yielded itself and has taken a lower position. If the soul rebels, the spirit will not have the power to control it. This is the meaning of 'free will' in man. Man has the absolute right to make his own decisions. He is not a machine which turns according to God's will. He has his own faculty of deliberation. He can choose to obey God's will , and he can choose to oppose God's will and follow the devil's will.
All communication between God and man lies within his spirit. If a believer does not know what his spirit is, he will not know how to fellowship with God in the spirit and will substitute the work of the spirit with soulish activities such as that of mind and emotion."
"...if you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."
Romans 8:13, 14