Set the Spirit Free – Journey to Jesus Vol 5
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Set the spirit free is the cry of most men (Rom. 7:24). Consider the flower of the rose. Does the flower know that it is beautiful? Does the flower know that its fragrance is greatly enjoyed? Can the flower possibly know how much it is appreciated and how much pleasure it brings to others?
The flower lives its entire existence without knowing how much pleasure it provides. It can never feel and know that it is feeling the warmth of that appreciation coming back to it. On the other hand, although it can respond to stimulus, wilt, and even die, it will never experience a panic attack, a nervous breakdown, or the pit of devastation as do human beings.
The mystery of the need for God to set the spirit free
Man has the unique ability to not only experience beauty and appreciation; he can know that he knows he is experiencing these qualities of a good life. However, it seems for mankind to be able to experience and to know that he is experiencing all the qualities of a good life (something the rose cannot do), he is susceptible to experience the torture of a life that is not good.
For us to know life to appreciate it, to experience it in the fullest sense of the word, and know that we are indeed experience it, we just cannot take someone’s word for it. To know that we know the finer qualities of life, we have to have something to which we can compare the good life.
The same thing can be said for health, for joy, and for love. To know that we know life is good, to know that we know health is good, to know that we know joy is good, and to know that we know love is good we will have to have experienced death, illness, suffering, and hate. The only way we can know that good is good is by experiencing that which in bad.
Unlike the rose, as we experience dying, illness, suffering, and hate, our mind, that which enables us to know the good, can drive us into the hell of distress, despair, being forsaken and destroyed as we experience the bad. Unless the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit is set free to transform our mind our soul will experience the tortures of hell. It is the dilemma of the human existence, having the treasure of life, which lives, in an earthen vessel, which dies.
The hope of having God to set the spirit free
The only hope for all of us who have this treasure [of the good life] in an earthen vessel is that the treasure can be set free to soar above the mountains tall. We can rejoice in hope of the glory of God because our spirit can be set free from the dying dust of our fall. We can be set free, free, free at last for heaven’ s all. There is hope in this life for man’s spirit can be set free to heed life’s mysterious call.
The secret of deliverance declares that “. . . since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21,22). Man can experience the setting of the spirit free, because “Christ [is] the firstfruits [from experiencing death]; afterward they that are Christ”s at his coming” (1 Cor. 15:23). Christ is the power of deliverance for in his coming, being made near to us in the circumstances of dying, illness, suffering, and hate, he sets our spirit free. Volume 5 of the Journey to Jesus series explores the mystery of setting the spirit free.
Many, many centuries ago a man raised these questions to his friends: “How hast thou helped him that is without power?” “How savest thou the arm that hath no strength? “How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? “How hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?”
Amazingly, the modern thinking man still struggles with those same issues. There probably would be very little trouble in life if the man needing help would actually have the capacity to solve each situation of life. The answers for the riddles of life would be simple. A man who knew the answers would just have to tell the man without the answers. The needful man then could produce the answers for his life because he already had the facility to bring it to fruition. He just needed to learn the answers.
Do we not have the same problem with strength? A man who knew what needed to be done in a certain situation would just have to tell the needful man the action that should be performed. The man could then be saved because he already had the forcefulness to overcome. He just needed to know what action would bring about the solution.
How simple life could become if the needful man just lack the skills to face life as it is experienced. The philosopher would just have to share his wisdom to the man struggling in life to solve the problems of life. The needful man, after counseling with the man who knows, could then simply apply the necessary skills to eradicate his difficulties. The needful man has the mental capacity to navigate skillfully through any problem. He just needs to be taught the tools of wisdom.
The difficulty in this line of thinking should be obvious, especially after Jesus declares the revelation. According to the friends of the man raising the questions, to experience life successfully only has two requirements. First, the needful man has the capacity to solve the problems of life he encounters. He has a reservoir of power before he is told what needs to be known. He has the capacity to perform before he is told what he must do. He has the capability to arrange his mental thinking before he is taught the skills of wisdom. Secondly, the man who is attempting to help knows the correct answers to the riddles of life. He simply must share his power, his strength, and his wisdom to help those in need. To experience life successfully, then, is just a matter of being taught truth so that truth can be performed.
Just about two thousand years after these questions were raised one of the early followers of Jesus addressed the same issues. He also said that there are two ways that truth can fail to be known or experienced in life. First, he wrote to the followers of Jesus in Corinth that he had “renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Cor. 4:2). Simply stated, Paul is saying that he has not caused the truth not to be known or not experienced by how he shared that truth. He was cautious not to share error not only in what was shared but also in how it was shared.
Secondly, Paul went on to say, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3,4). The real question, in the light of the issues of life, needs to be raised, “Even if man encounters truth, does he have within himself the capacity, the capability, and the mental skills to apply that truth? In Paul’s day, he said the “god of this age” had so blinded the minds of the needy that help could not be experienced because of the blinded mind. Truth could not change their lives, even though truth was being encountered, because truth could not get past the thinking of their mind. The god of every age is the selfishness of the human mind that causes all things to be distorted when viewed by the corrupted mind.
In our original questions raised nearly four thousand years ago, the author of the book of Job summarized the problem of man’s inability to help those in need by his next question: “How hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is (Job 26:2,3)? Is he not implying that his friends do not understand “the thing as it is?” They seem to have a problem with understanding what life is really all about. In the story of Job, the author amply demonstrated the weakness of man’s mind to understand the riddles of life by his lengthy consultations between Job and his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
Understanding “the thing as it is” is actually the key to the capacity, the capability, and the consciousness (the power, the strength, and the wisdom of the first three questions) of experiencing life. The mysteries of life (the Mysteries of Baptism, Volume Four of Journey to Jesus) can be experienced with righteousness, peace, and joy to use Paul’s description of the good life (Rom. 14:17). If we understood everything we experience as it really is, there would be “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). If we understood “the thing as it is” there would be joy even in the time of suffering: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Pet. 4:13). To understand “the thing as it is” there would be a sure anchor, a sure foundation that would hold regardless of the strength of the storms of life: “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast . . .” (Heb. 6:18,19).
It is perhaps the next two questions raised by the author of Job that reveals the problem of finding the solution to the struggles of life in every age. It was there in the time of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. It obviously was there in the time of Job. It was there in the time of Paul. It is still the problem we face today when confronted by the issues of life.
The author of Job has Job asking his three friends: “To whom hast thou uttered words?” “Whose spirit came from thee?” Again, notice the questions that Job has previously asked: “How hast thou helped him that is without power?” “How savest thou the arm that hath no strength? “How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? “How hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?” To which, Job then asked, “To whom hast thou uttered words?” Is he not pointing out that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have uttered their words to man? In the next question, “Whose spirit came from thee,” is he not implying that their answers have come from man?”
Anyone who has read the story of Job knows that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar talked a lot about God. In fact, God was the object of everything they said and did. However, the focus was not God. It was man. It was what man must learn about God (Eliphaz). It was what man must do for God (Bildad). It was how man must feel towards God (Zophar). They spoke to man from the vantage point of man: “To whom hast thou uttered words?” “Whose spirit came from thee?”
Without God breaking into the life of man and controlling the thinking of man, man will always keep himself as the center of his universe. In his approach to God, unless God intervenes, his tendency will always be from the vantage point of man. After all, he now recognizes that he has fallen away from God and desires to be reunited with Him. He believes that it was his choice that moved him away from God and it will be his choice that will move him back to God. Does that not illustrate how man, even in his approach to God, keeps himself as the focal point? It is not about what God does. It is about what man does.
“Oh, life is not about me anymore; it is about God” we might say. But, is it really about God or have we just changed the object of our affections. We really are trying to make God the essence of everything in our life but are we not still the subject of our life with God as the object? How difficult it is, impossible without God overwhelming him, for man to recognize “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things . . .” (Rom. 11:36). Man, as with all of creation, has been given a marvelous opportunity to experience the life of God. Man is the object of the love of God, the life of God. How difficult it is for man to recognize that life is only about God.
Set the Spirit Free is a fresh approach of the author to view life with God as the subject and man as the object of the action of God. I am sure, by the very nature of “the thing as it is,” that I still struggle to understand the things of God from his vantage point and not from mine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1: TEMPTATION TO DECEPTION …………………………………
Truth and Deception
Deception of Man
Truth of God
CHAPTER 2: DECEPTION OF PERCEPTION
Spirit and Flesh
Temptation of the Flesh
Spirit of Life
CHAPTER 3: ILLUSION OF PERCEPTION
Thinking and Perceiving
Perception of Man
Thinking of God
CHAPTER 4: DEADLY DOWNWARD ROAD
Death of the Road
Travelers of the Road
End of the Road
CHAPTER 5: DELIVERANCE: SET THE SPIRIT FREE
Way of Deliverance
Secret of Deliverance
Glory of Deliverance
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