Title: How to train the Human Spirit.
Just as God is Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so we are a triune being, created as a spirit, with a soul and a body. Our soul is our mind, intellect and reason, and much in the earth is devoted to its development. Health, fitness, and diet help in the development of the human body, but where can one learn to develop one’s human spirit?
Proposition: Just as the human mind can be developed intellectually, so the human spirit can be trained spiritually. Our spirit can be built up even as our body can be built up. God will use our spirit to guide us.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
Text: Matthew 12:22 ¶ Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
What happened here? Jesus was called upon to heal a man born blind and dumb. The Scripture tells us that the reason for this man’s condition is that an evil spirit had caused this condition. Now, not every physical condition involves the direct presence of an evil spirit, but this case did. Jesus cast out the devil, and was accused of doing this supernatural feat by the power of Satan himself.
Jesus made it plain that what was done was performed by the presence of the Holy Spirit, but I need you see verse 29.
Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
He refers the healing of this man to a spiritual act of war. First the devil in charge of the man had to be defeated by faith, then it was easy to get the man healed.
We are beginning a study on the inner life of a Christian, specifically how to discipline and develop your human spirit.
Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
We see here that it will take a strong spirit to retain money and prosperity as God gives it to you, and it will take spiritual force to overcome sickness and disease in this life. Jesus said to ‘occupy til I come’, that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Today we are going to look at four ways to strengthen and develop your human spirit.
Our main texts will be Joshua 1:8, James 1:22, Proverbs 4:20-22
In short we will look at how to meditate in the Word of God, Practice the Word of God, How to give the Word first place in your life, and How to instantly obey the voice of your spirit.
I Main Division
Scriptural Support: Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Explanation: When God anointed Joshua to lead the children of Israel after Moses death, God told him at the outset the importance of meditating in the Word. Another way of saying good success in Josh 1:8 is ‘you will be able to deal wisely in the things of life.”
Argument: Obviously we would not have good success if we did not ‘deal wisely in the things of life.’
Illustration: The most deeply spiritual men and women who have ever lived have learned this principal of “Giving time to meditation of the Word of God”. Buddha had scriptural principal here in his way of life, however he did not have truth that sets free. He taught meditation and principal, but his meditation was not specifically on the Word of God.
There was the story of a pastor who flew all over the continent attending church growth seminars, visiting larger churches, studying their methods and seeking to discover what made them successful. He tried again and again to apply their methods to his ministry, but they never seemed to work.
After he heard this teaching on meditating on the word of God, he decided to try it. Instead of asking God for things, he deliberately set aside a certain part of every day simply meditating upon the Word of God. Not seeking God for anything, simply resting and listening to what the Holy Spirit would say to him.
After thirty days had passed, one Sunday morning, God moved him to give an alter call. More people were born-again and touched by God that one service, than in the entire two years of ministry. The people were revived, and the pastor began to have good success.
Application: Obviously, not all of us are called to be pastors, yet the Word of God will work wherever it its put to work. I suggest you begin this week taking 15 minutes a day, every day, turning off all the other voices in your life, and deliberately meditate upon the Word of God. Begin the development of your spirit.
Well, when I swam on the swim team at Carleton University, we called the process of meditation, visualization. Where we deliberately took time in one practice each weak to focus our mind on our stroke drills, and our race techniques. Yet, mental focus was not enough. We had to spend hours actually swimming. So it is with this spiritual discipline, we must practice the Word of God.
II Main Division
Scriptural Support: James 1:22 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Explanation: Practicing the Word is what James calls ‘being a doer of the Word.” Some people think that doing the word is the keeping of the Ten Commandments, but as Christians we are under a higher law, one simple commandment. The law of love.
Argument If you love some one, you won’t steal from them, you won’t lie about them. If you walk in love, you will fulfill all of the Old Testament laws given to curb sin. Love is the fulfilling of the law.
Illustration: For example: Phil 4:6 says: ‘Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I like the way the Amplified Bible says it “Do not fret or be anxious about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition (definite requests) with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known unto God.
Most of us live right here. We don’t mind the part of this verse where it tells us to pray, but if we only practice one part, we are not doers of the word.
Let’s look at this. First the Lord said not to fret. If we are going to fret and worry, it isn’t going to do us any good to make requests. If God said not to fret or worry, that means we can do it. God is a just God; He won’t ask us to do something we cannot do.
Here’s a way to be a doer of the word. Let’s say, like the other night my precious Keila had coughing fits where she would wake up crying in the night. I’m a new dad, and I not only prayed, but I got worried about my princess. Yet, this verse says not to worry or fret, so I decided to do what it said. I prayed, laid hands on her, and then began to meditate on all the times God has healed people here in the church I pastured.. As I lay there fighting the battle of worry in my mind, I began to meditate on the Word of God. James 1:4 came to my mind, ‘if any man lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives liberally to all who ask’ Well, I was quite prepared if necessary to rush Keila to the hospital, she will never become a faith experiment, but I decided to ask God for wisdom. Gently, I knew what was the matter. She was teething, and her front two teeth coming in were causing her nose to run, causing the coughing. It hurt, so she cried. Next time she woke up, I prayed specifically for her teeth, and Karen put Anbesol on her gums. She went back to sleep, and has been fine ever since. You see, I had to decide not to worry or fret, and to do this verse. God will never leave me nor forsake me. I made my request known to God, and began to cast the care of the situation over upon Him. Then I made my request known to God, and began to thank Him. This quieted and pacified not only my troubled spirit that the devil would try to make my family and me have. When the inner turmoil persisted, I simply went back to this verse, and asked for wisdom. I kept claiming it. Then the provision of the promise was mine. I got wisdom, Keila got healed, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, kept my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
Application: We all need peace within and without, especially during the storms of life. The education of our spirits comes by practicing the Word. Can you reap the results of peace without being a doer of the Word? No, you really can’t. Be a doer of the Word, and you’ll grow spiritually.
Well, now we’ve learned that we need to meditate in the Word of God, and we need to practice the Word of God. Now let’s learn how to give the Word first place in our lives.
III Main Division
Scriptural Support: Proverbs 4: 20 ¶ My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Explanation: With so many different voices surrounding us, it is difficult to stop and listen to the voice of the word of God. Family and friends are always ready to give us their opinions and advice. However, an essential part of training the spiritual man is learning to listen to what God’s Word says to us. It is giving the Word first place in out lives.
Argument: In these verses God tells us to do three things with the Word of God: 1)listen to it;2) read it; and 3) memorize it. In verse 20 we read “incline thine ear unto my sayings”
Illustration: Anytime the Bible is being read aloud – here in church, in family devotions, on a radio or television program – give careful attention to its words.
Application: Let them not depart from our eyes. In other words spend time alone reading God’s Word. Let it sink deep into your thoughts and heart. Memorize as we read in v 21 Keep them in the midst of thine heart. If we do all of these things, we will discover that God’s words are “life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”
Man in car accident. Paralyzed from the neck down. We surrounded him with the Word of God. Bought posters and wrote healing promises on them and plastered them on the walls, ceiling, everywhere he could see. Told him to turn off his television. Gave him copies of my healing tapes. Gave him a copy of healing prayers. Filled his eye gate, mouth gate, and ear gates with the Word of God. Within a week he had regained enough strength to be moved out of bed into a wheelchair, and soon he had use of his hand enough to operate a joystick so he could move around. That is the last we saw him, but God is true, if he continued in the Word of God, he would have received total healing.
If you need physical healing, especially from a medical condition incurable by modern medicine, Do this: Pray, Let us pray, and work your faith on purpose by surrounding yourself with the Word of God, day and night. God cannot lie. You will be healed.
Rule 4: Instantly obeying the voice of Our Spirit.
Your spirit has a voice. We call that voice conscience. Sometimes we call it intuition, or the inner voice of guidance. It is the voice of our spirit talking to us.
When you are born-again, your conscience becomes a safe guide, because in the life of the believer, God has come to live inside of you. Your body is now a temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul said he obeyed the voice of his conscience (Act 23:1)
Everyman’s spirit has a voice whether he is born-again or not. Remember Adam in the garden, he had fallen away from God when he ate the fruit, his spirit was separated from God, yet God still spoke to him, “Adam, where are you?” Maybe God is speaking to you today, as He did Adam, asking you the same question “Where are you?” He’s not mad at you, He loves you, but he knows your heart, your thoughts, and your life. He wants you to experience his love. He wants to have a relationship with you both in this life, and He wants you to go to heaven when eventually we leave this earth,
Jesus came to earth as a helpless babe. Immaculate conception. God became man, the Word became flesh in Jesus Christ. Yet, the little baby we celebrate at Christmas did not stay little. He became a man, and at age thirty separated Himself from His earthly responsibilities to spend three and half years healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water, and showing us how to love God and each other. Then He did what no man could ever do. He went willingly to a cruel cross, beaten beyond human recognition, nailed between heaven and earth to utter the most powerful words ever uttered “It is finished!” As he hung his head and died, the earth split, dead people came out of their graves to testify, the sky became black as night, and the veil in the temple that had separated the presence of a Holy God from a sinful humanity was torn from top to bottom. They laid His body in a borrowed tomb, but His spirit flew from earth, to Abraham’s bosom, then descended into the lowest hell, so that you would not have to. For three days and nights his body lay in the grave, but on the third day, He ascended out of hell, rejoined his body, and rose from the dead. He is the resurrection and the life. For fifty days, he appeared to over five hundred eyewitnesses. Then, just before the feast of Pentecost, after his last command to his disciples, two angels appeared, and He ascended bodily into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father, judge of the living and the dead. He is king of kings, and Lord of love.
In short, He came, He lived, He died, He rose, and He reigns!
Will you have this man for your king? All of what I have said is meaningless without this one thing established in your heart and life. He must be your Lord. You must be born-again.
We see in the Word of God, that developing our human spirit takes discipline. Like exercise, we must work hard, rest, eat correctly, and be consistant to get into good physical shape.
Our spirit is similar, we need to take time to feed upon the Word of God, meditate, pray, and worship God.
My praying for you is not enough. I could pray all day that you get in good physical shape, but it is you that must actually get to the gym, control your diet, add vitamins and supplements to your life, and to rest so that your body correctly recovers from each workout.
So it is spiritually. You must exercise your spirit through prayer, thanksgiving and worship. You must have a correct diet of the Word of God, and meditation upon the Word of God, and you must receive anointed ministry into your life (supplements) from anointed five fold ministry.
Lets get in shape this year, physically, but above all spiritually, for a lost and dying world desperately needs what you have to give. GO FOR IT!