Monday, May 15, 2017

Starting in the Spirit, ending in the flesh.

To operate in the flesh is acting to get love/approval/acceptance. It is acting out of need. 

To operate in the Spirit is acting to give love because we already have it in Christ. It is acting out of the fullness of God's love for us. 

If we are in Christ we already have God's perfect love i.e. God's love for his children is perfect (complete), non stop and infinite because of what Christ has already done. Nothing we do or don't do will add to, take away or inhibit this love.  

To more fully experience it (subjectively) however, we must remain (abide/ believe) in that objective reality (for a further discussion on abiding see link below). 

To remain in it suggests we can and do discontinue operating in and by the Spirit. Not only do we start in the Spirit but we are to continue/remain in the Spirit (Gal 3:3). 

To start out operating in the Spirit does not mean we will automatically continue to operate in the Spirit. Our activity can start in the Spirit and deteriorate into an act of the flesh (i.e. performance, living under the law; living to get approval/love). 

The reason we are called to abide is our tendency is to not abide i.e. to operate in the flesh. In fact operating without the Spirit (in the flesh) is our default way of doing things (i.e. we naturally act without the Spirit moving us). 

If we do not continue to abide in God's love, we will digress into operating in the flesh. Without the Spirits (Loves) enabling and empowering, we are naturally inclined to operate in the flesh. It's a constant pull on us until we learn to operate under grace i.e. in/by the Spirit. 

To start and remain (abide) in the Spirit requires a constant attitude of ongoing acceptance of (trust in) and dependence on God's love i.e. Without me (in and out of all my love for you) you can do nothing John 15:5.

It is the exact opposite of operating in the flesh or what I like to call "performance based" action. Performance based action is acting to gain God's approval and acceptance. Spirit driven action is out of love for God because we already have his approval and acceptance/love in Christ i.e. based on Christ's efforts that gained it for us, not our efforts/action. 

Any activity that creates or strengthens a desire to stay focused inward (seeking to meet our need for approval of God or others) and not outward on blessing others has deteriorated into an activity of the flesh and is no longer actions moved or inspired by the Spirit, even if it started out as an act of the Spirit.

To operate in the flesh is to seek getting what we need i.e. love, acceptance and approval.

To operate in the Spirit is to give what others need because we derive what we ultimately need (total love, acceptance and approval) from God.
  • For definition of terms such as "walking in the flesh" or "walking in the Spirit" click here
  • For a further discussions of remaining/abiding in his love click here

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Grace to you
Jim Deal