Meditations: Romans 8:5

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

Romans 8:5
AMP

For those who are according to the flesh and controlled by its unholy desires, set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh. But those who are according to the Spirit and [controlled by the desires] of the Spirit, set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the (Holy) Spirit.

 

I see several things in this verse. First, I see that we all fall in one of the two camps – either we set our minds on and seek those things of the flesh or we set our minds on and seek those things of the Spirit. Most of us would likely leap to say we seek the things of the Spirit, but when faced with the Holy Spirit’s unyielding truth I’m not so sure. I know that, as much as I hate to admit it, I find it far too easy to waffle back towards things of the flesh. Spirit may win more often than flesh, but flesh is still in the game (or war, actually).

Too…

set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit.

Set their minds…

This phrasing is very firm, very active. You set a nail in wood – it requires a hammer. You set a table – it requires deliberation. You allow concrete to set – it requires a commitment of time. Whenever the verb “set” is used, there is a commitment of certain resources. Whenever the verb “set” is used, there is the expenditure of effort and the result of that effort is that something remains as it has been set. If I truly set my mind on those things that gratify the Holy Spirit, I am making a conscious effort that does not allow my mind to wander, does not permit foreign thoughts and questions to enter.

 

Seek those things…

I am also to seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit. Here, too, effort is required! To seek anything requires action, an active outpouring of energies. Because He commands me to do it, I do know that what I’m seeking can be found, praise God! Hm… It also requires a set mind to actively seek something; seeking requires concentration. It requires truly thinking about a thing and where it might be found, and seeking in that location. You don’t seek for a dog in a mouse hole because the dog obviously wouldn’t fit in such a place. Likewise, you don’t seek that which would gratify the Holy Spirit in places that only the flesh would find fitting.

 

Gratify the Holy Spirit…

Looking at the word gratify in the dictionary is truly eye-opening. “Gratify – v. to afford pleasure to; indulge; humor” I love this! So if I live in accordance with the Spirit… Oh! “in accordance with” means “in agreement with” – so if I live in agreement with the Spirit, then what gratifies the Spirit will gratify me as well!

Okay, so if I live in accordance (in agreement) with the Holy Spirit, then I will set my mind on and seek out those things that will gratify the Holy Spirit, and in gratifying the Holy Spirit I will bring pleasure to, indulge and humor Him. So I am not just seeking out that which the Holy Spirit requires, or even that which the Holy Spirit desires, but I am actively looking for ways in which I can please, indulge, and humor the Holy Spirit.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Meditations: Acts 2:17

Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014
Copyright Clarissa Pardue 2014

Acts 2:17
NKJV

“And it shall come to pass in the last days,” says God, “that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.”

 

“And it shall come to pass in the last days,” says God, “that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…”

 

I do know there is more to this verse. I do know, too, that in this case the proper translation is “mankind” or “people group,” rather than the “flesh” I think about when I consider my daily walk with the Lord, but…

I think perhaps it is not such an “off” thing that the word flesh is used here…for most of us ARE too fleshy to be of continual, supernatural use to God. Flesh cannot survive where the Spirit of God is, so what happens when He pours out His Spirit on me…on my flesh? My flesh dies! It is mercy that He did not pour out His Spirit on me, the baby Christian, because I was almost all flesh then. Had flesh died in that day, there would have been only a spark left alive – that spark that came with the God so newly arrived in my heart.

Today, though, I am somewhat more mature. I have not arrived, yet there is more of Him and less of me than ever before. As He pours out His Spirit on my flesh, I feel the pain of its death, yet I also rejoice in the fact that its death leaves that much more room for the One who lives within me.

So I wonder…

Is this part of the purpose of the last days’ outpouring? The Bible speaks of a dividing line – that there will become an obvious difference between the just and the unjust, and that many who have been comfortable in the church will fall away. Is it, perhaps, that He has allowed His children plenty of time to grow and pours out His Spirit to free us for that final growth spurt?

Should God, today, pour out His Spirit upon an entire congregation – every member – those who have come to worship in spirit and truth will rejoice, enduring the pain in the knowledge that more room is being made for Christ to live big inside of them. On the other hand, those who have been playing games with God – those who wish to be counted as one of His without making Him Lord – will run screaming in pain, “cleansing” their flesh of His Spirit as one would wash acid from burning skin, pampering that flesh so it can grow again.

Or so I surmise.

Assuming my conclusions are correct, what would happen next?

 

“…Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.”

 

What a rich result of the outpouring He speaks of in the first part of this verse! Can there be a greater promise for one who is enduring such a purging as happens when He pours His Spirit out on their flesh? In the natural, when one goes through removal of flesh – say cancerous flesh – it is in hopes of at last being normal again. But this promise takes us beyond normal into… Oh…or does it?

What is “normal,” or what ought it be? What is the true standard where LIFE (God-life) is concerned? It is – would have to be according to the theologian’s Law of Beginnings – the life Adam lived before The Fall. So in pouring out His Spirit upon my flesh so that the flesh dies and His Spirit lives in me God is merely returning me to normal according to His standards!

He says He is returning for a glorious church. We know it is far from glorious now, and He needs to do a quick work if He is to bring us up to that level any time soon. But through pouring out His spirit on my flesh He can and will! He pours His Spirit out on us and a natural result of that outpouring is a greater sensitivity to Him that results in prophesies, visions and dreams, all of which are evidence that we are coming closer to that glorious state.

_________________________

       I wrote the first section of this meditation years ago, and still consider it valid, but going back to “all flesh” meaning “all mankind” now brings a different thought.

One day, when Saul was hot after David’s life, God poured His Spirit out on Saul and, though he had murder in his heart, Saul began to prophesy. So it occurred to me some months back… Is the same thing happening today? How many times have we heard, in recent years, of people coming to know Jesus not as a result of a missionary’s work, but rather because Jesus visited with them in a dream or vision?

Imagine a gathering of Christian haters in which God pours His Spirit on the leader, who then begins to prophesy the Good News of Jesus Christ. How would that impact the two kingdoms-God’s and the devil’s? Is it happening today?

Could be.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C