Date: June 15, 2016 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar One
Would you like to know a little secret about conquering the world? It is to be mighty in spirit. Do you remember the cartoon character Mighty Mouse? You know it was always about physical strength. The Bible the person who had the greatest amount of physical strength, who was one of God’s men, was Sampson. He could fight anybody. He could fight huge numbers of men. And there are men today who work out and develop big muscles. In fact some of them even take steroids; things they should not do to their body and they end up ruining their bodies because they are trying to be mighty in their physical body. But today we are going to talk about the real secret: being mighty in your spirit.
What is the difference between being mighty in your spirit, mighty in your soul, and mighty in your physical body? There is a big difference. Do you know the difference between the spirit and the soul? It says in Hebrews that the Word of God is a divider. It is able to divide joints and marrow, even the spirit and the soul. And it is, because the more you study God’s Word you notice that He says a lot of things about the spirit and the soul. For instance, it says “I will not always strive with your spirit.” But it does not say, “I will not always strive with your soul.” If you know the Word of God, and you spend a lot of time in the Word of God, you can see the difference. This is a simple way for you to understand the difference between soul and spirit. You have a soul, and your soul is your mind and how it thinks. Your soul is your will, and how you act based on that will. It is also your emotions and the things that move you. What is your spirit? Your spirit is the part of your inner man that the Holy Spirit comes and resides in when you get saved. It is the part that relates to God spirit to spirit. Your spirit is going to live forever. So is your soul. What about your body? No, your body is just your suit of armor or suit of clothes. It is what you look like and what we see when we look at you. In fact, it says in the Bible, “Man does look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” Now when God is talking about the heart, what is He talking about? He is referring to both your soul and your spirit. It is that part of you that is the real you. If I know you, I will recognize you when I see you in Heaven. Are you going to have the body you have now? No, you are going to have a new body. This body is going to decay. Your spirit man determines so much about what happens to you, not only in this life, but in the life to come.
When someone has a behavior pattern they have had all their life, they will often defend it by saying, “That is just the way I am. You are just going to have to get used to it. That is just how I am.” No, that is not true, because we are changed from glory to glory. That is what God wants to do with you. He does not want you to go through your whole life saying, “That is just the way I am.” No, definitely not. What does it mean to be changed from glory to glory? It means to become mightier and mightier in your spirit. An example of this would be like being on an elevator and the doors closed; you felt like you were in a vacuum, the elevator moved, but you did not really notice it that much. It just stopped and the door opened, and you were on another floor. That is like how God takes you from glory to glory. He takes your spirit man where it is right now and He works with it. He works with your soul. He works all through your entire life. As you want to grow into the next level with God, to the next glory of God, then you begin to see things happen that challenge, try, teach and train you. As you pass all of those tests that come along, then you move to the next level. You want to be able to respond with this mighty spirit man when you get to a really tough place. Instead of reacting, you respond. There is a big difference. Reacting is, “Oh, I just get so mad when people do that,” or, “Oh, I do not know why I said that. I just said it.” That was reacting. That is your soul man. That is your emotions. But your spirit man would say, “Calm down, you do not want to do this, and you know you will not like what will happen if you do it. So just temper down, simmer down, calm down and think before you act. That is your spirit man. That is your man from God talking to you.
Who is someone in the Bible we can look at that was mighty in spirit? John the Baptist, it was even prophesied about him. It says in Luke 1:17 that he is going to be a man with a spirit and the power of Elijah. Now we all know about Elijah. What will he do? He will prepare people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children. And he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the Godly. Now, that is a perfect description of someone who is mighty in spirit. Think about it. Is your life all about you, what you need, and the needs of your family? Or are you concerned about other people? Are you concerned about doing the work of the Lord? You are called to do that. One of the qualities of a person who is mighty in their spirit is that they are able to prepare other people for the coming of the Lord. You might say, “Well I just sit in this house all day. I am kind of old. I cannot really get out of my house. I do not really talk to people.” You can with prayer. Prayer can go anywhere in the world. You can pray for anybody in the world. You could even pray for a people group. With all the trouble that is going on in Kenya right now, you could pray for the Kenyans and all that they are going through. And you could pray for God to prepare them for the coming of the Lord.
Another thing about being mighty in spirit is that you really care about families. You care about fathers and children. You care that fathers are concerned about their children, spend time with their children and build into the lives of their children. You can help by the words you say. If they are said in love and wisdom, you can help turn the heart of a father back to his child. And then the last is, with a mighty spirit John the Baptist was able to cause those who were rebellious to accept the wisdom of the Godly. That is exactly what happened. What does scripture say about John the Baptist? He lived out in the wilderness. What else does it say? It says that hundreds of people went out there to hear what he had to say. When the Word of the Lord is in you, people want to hear what you have to say. You do not have to push it on them. You just have to speak it and their ears perk up, and their hearts perk up, their souls perk up, their spirit man perks up. They think, “There is truth there, and I want to hear it.” And that is what John the Baptist did. He did all of that.
Look at this second scripture, Matthew 11:11. This is Jesus talking. “I tell you the truth. Of all who have ever lived none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet, even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is.” Now we are going to look at that in two parts. One, when Jesus says, “I will tell you the truth,” He means it. He says, “Of everybody that has ever lived.” That is Moses, Elijah, David, Solomon, Abraham, Daniel, everybody. Of all who have ever lived none is greater than John the Baptist. Now what was great about him? He was not a king. He was not the leader of a nation. What was he? He was the man sent to turn people to the Messiah. To get them ready for the Messiah. That is why he was so great. And then, have you ever wondered about the other half of that verse? “Yet, even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is?” What is that talking about? It is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus came to bring. As you move in to the Kingdom of Heaven, through faith in Jesus as the Messiah, you are great. You may not feel like you are very great on this earth.
You may not feel like people even notice you. But I want to tell you something. If you love and serve Jesus, you are going to be great in the Kingdom of God. In fact it says, “Many who are first are going to be last, and many who are last here, will be first there.” I think I see that. I see people who think they are so important and they are so full of themselves. And I think, “Oh, man. I hope you are saved and when you get there you may be wishing you spend a little bit more time with God.” And then I see people who have mighty spirits. They may not have an important position in this world but they are mighty in their spirit. They know their God. And the Bible says in Daniel, “The people that know their God will be strong and do exploits.” And He is talking about being strong in your spirit.
Here are some guidelines about what it means to be mighty in spirit. The first is that you have an ability to comprehend and understand the things of God. You know that it is confusing for people to understand what God is all about, and sometimes people come up with some crazy ideas. Through spending time with God though, you are able to understand the deepest thoughts of the Lord, and He shares things with you. There is another thing you can do by your spirit man. You can judge the hidden motives of someone. I saw this happen one time when I was working for Oprah Winfrey doing makeup when she had her show in my town. A man got on the show who was a medium and was being interviewed. And I knew in my heart, “This guy is going to cause trouble.” And I prayed and prayed and prayed, “Lord stop it. Do not let it happen.” And a lady stood up in the audience and she rebuked him. She said, “I do not believe a word you are saying. What you are saying is totally wrong. There is not any truth in it.” It kind of shook people up. But she was mighty in her spirit and did not care what anybody thought. It was wrong, it was a lie, it was deception and she was not going to go for it. I do not even know that lady, but she made an impact on me. You will be like that too. When you rise up mighty in your spirit and you say and do the things God wants you to say and do, it affects a lot of people around you. Just like that lady, I do not know her name or what she looked like, but I remember her spirit man! We are talking about body, soul, and spirit.
Is being guided and strong in your spirit man different from your intellect? Yes, it is. Your soul is your mind, will, and emotions. God absolutely wants you to be very sound in your mind, very sound in your emotions and in your will. He wants your will given over to Him. But He wants you more than anything to have a spirit man that rules the rest of yourself. So how do you get this? It can come from three things: knowing God, knowing God’s Word and experiences of working with people. When people who have walked with the Lord a long time tell you what they think is happening and what you ought to be doing; you just sit there and think, “How do you know that stuff? I wish I knew what you know.” Well you will. You will. There are just no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. You have to get it like the rest of us. You just have to get in there and go after it every day. I can always feel that my spirit man is right in here. Maybe he is not. Maybe it is not, but it feels like it. I can tell when something does not feel right. I am not talking about female intuition, that is a thing too. No, it is based on the Word of God. It is like something does not feel right and a Bible verse will just go over and over in my head that I need to be aware of. Look at this Scripture in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God. They are foolishness to him. And neither can you know them because they are spiritually discerned.” That is what I am talking about, discerning things with your spirit man. You have to know God on a deeper level. You have to spend time in the Word. You have to know the thoughts and actions of God and the actions of God. The next thing is that you have to learn to listen to your spirit. It is just something that says, “Yes, it is okay, I have a peace there.” Or something is saying, “No, do not do that. Something is not right.” Be sure when you are feeling that, to resist the temptation to act from your soul by getting all upset and excited. No, slow down and listen to that because your spirit man is trying to rule, and he does a great job of it.
The next is that you have to accept that you are going to make some mistakes in learning how to do this. Nothing is ever easy that is worth it, and you are going to make some mistakes. Is God going to get mad at you? No, He really is not. In fact, Holy Spirit is your teacher. You can just say to Him, “Holy Spirit, how did I miss that? What should I have done? What should I do next time?” He will tell you. He will put it in your heart. As you begin to walk in it for a while, you will begin to discover that you can move freely in the spirit. That you can get in just about any situation and hear God tell you what to do. You learn to recognize God in situations from the experience of doing this over and over and over, year after year. You just can tell, “That is God.” Or you will find yourself saying, “That is not God. I do not care how religious it sounds, it is not God.” As the end times get closer and closer, you are going to really need to learn how to live with a mighty spirit because there will be a lot of deception. It says that in the Bible. In fact, it says that even the very elect will be deceived. You want to be a person that is mighty in your spirit so that you can recognize that.
When the people came to John, they knew he was mighty in the Lord. They knew he was mighty in the spirit and what he said was true. There were two things that they took away from him. One was practical wisdom and one was spiritual wisdom, and they were both from a man with a mighty spirit. For instance, he gave practical wisdom on subjects like how to deal with Roman soldiers. If they want you to carry their pack one mile, do it some more. He also said to watch out for this brood of vipers. They say that they are religious, but they are not. So, watch out for them. They are snakes. How did this happen with John? You know he lived out there in the wilderness a long time. And sometimes people are unusual that spend a lot of time with God. Is it going to make you unusual or weird? Absolutely not, it is just that God pulled John the Baptist way out like that for a purpose. Around the world today education is very, very important. In fact, it is usually a way for a person in a very bad situation to be able to get themselves out and into a better place. I am not saying that education is wrong by any stretch. I am a schoolteacher by training, by college degree. Of course, I believe in education. I am always trying to learn new things. Education is not wrong, but you have to realize that the emphasis in education is on the intellect. It is also very important for you to put emphasis on developing your spirit man.
Look up 1 Corinthians 2:13-14. The New Living Translation says, “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who are not spiritual cannot receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they cannot understand it. For only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” Have you been in a situation like a Thanksgiving dinner, and all you want to do is talk about the Lord and what He’s has been teaching you and what you have been learning. You are so excited about it, and you turn to somebody and you try to tell them about it and they just say, “Yeah, yeah” and you know that they did not get it? Well that is what that verse is talking about.
Now look at verse 15, this is mighty in spirit. “Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things.” It also says that they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. What that is talking about? It is not just referring to every Christian on the face of the earth. To be spiritual mean to be mighty in spirit. You are going to have to decide which one is going to rule you the most; your mind, body, emotions or your spirit. As you go on in this training you may think, “You know, this is harder than it sounds.” However, you have to pay a price to know Jesus. You have to pay a price to know God. But you also have to pay a price to not know God, and it is not a good one, and you do not want to pay that one. You may say, “Well, you know I have been at this a long time and I feel like I am still a baby.” This is what Hebrews is referring to when it says that some people are still having to drink milk when they should be having meat. Get in a place where you find somebody who encourages you, teaches you and makes it interesting. Let it begin to train your spirit and develop you. Let it begin to train your mind to listen to God.
One other thing that is important is to guard your mind. There is a lot of unbelief in the world today, even in the church. People say things like, “I do not think God does that. That is crazy. That is just emotionalism. That is not God. God does not talk to people today.” Oh yes he does, constantly. He talks to you constantly. You just have to get in tune with Him. You have to learn how to recognize His voice. There are things in the world today, especially with internet pornography, that are designed by your enemy who hates you and wants to destroy you. You have to learn how to guard your mind from certain content that people speak around you. Gossip is one of those things. If you have somebody around you right now that is a gossip, avoid them. Because God says, “I do not like it at all.” How about somebody who has a filthy mind? Stay away? Guard your mind when people are like that. How about someone that is into pornography? Get away. It does not matter who it is. Get away. How about somebody that thinks they are speaking for God and they are just speaking a bunch of gobbledy-gook that does not line up with the Word of God at all? Guard your mind at all costs. In order to be mighty in spirit, you have to think on the things that God wants you to think on.
Whenever you hear new information that could be from God, use this spirit that is growing in you and say, “Holy Spirit, help me to test this with my spirit. Help me to be aware. Is this you God? Is this you? Does it bear witness?” I do not know how it is for you, but for me if something is not God, there is an uneasiness in my spirit, a nagging feeling, no peace or no rest. But when it is God, there is just this ease, and this peaceful calmness, because God is like that. Now what do you do if your spirit man discerns that something is not from God? You use your mind to dig out facts and figure out why. What is in error here? What is wrong here? You can also use it to perceive wrong motives of other people. Not everyone who says they are from God is really from God. That is what the Bible says. In the end times there will be many, many people deceived. They are deceived right now. There is almost a religion of the day, or a design, to get people off of the true Word of God. Even in churches you can hear, “Oh, God says it is okay to do these wrong things. It is okay to do it.” It is not okay. You have to know what the Word says, and if it says it is not okay, it is not okay. And your spirit man will bear witness with that. You can use a mighty spirit in business, too. If you have business transactions going on, use your spirit man to tell you what to do.
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
1. Why is it important to be mighty in spirit?
2. Explain the difference between spirit and soul.
3. How can a person respond with the spirit man versus the soul man?
4. What are the qualities of a person who is mighty is spirit?
5. How did John the Baptist exemplify that he was mighty in spirit? (include Scripture references)
6. Do you normally respond from the spirit man or the soul man?
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Topics: Basic Discipleship