A Terrible Fate to be Avoided at all Costs!

Removed From Danger

Removed From Danger

God put wonderful and astounding defences into the human beings he created. Even before birth, and from our first moments, we are able to defend ourselves from deadly threats because of the chemical, hormonal and psychological mechanisms that are encoded into our bodies and brains.

If threatened by overwhelming distress that raises blood pressure and heartbeat, and creates damaging levels of brain activity, the conscious body is capable of shutting down to preserve the essentials of life until the distress passes or is bearable.

Until the pain or threat is proportionate and can be processed by our minds and bodies, we avoid it. Perhaps some of you have experienced the emotional numbness that follows overwhelming grief or have fainted at bad news. This is the protective mechanism at work.

But what does that have to do with our spiritual lives or destiny?

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Trinity teaches us about God AND ourselves!

The Trinity is a subject hotly debated and still mysterious. We understand from scripture that God exists in three persons, and these persons at times act and move in independent ways, yet they are in perfect coordination and unity.

In explaining the Trinity with an example drawn from our own experience it both helps us to understand God, and at the same time helps us see a further important truth: HOW to “walk in the Spirit” as the scriptures demand. Many Christians know the command to walk in the spirit, but really have no idea what it means or how to “do it”. Likewise, many Christians struggle with sin and don’t know how to “be better” and be less sinful. This little analogy may help.

We were created in the image of God. This means we are three united elements: body, soul and spirit. The body contains the personality with its feelings, thoughts and drives (the soul), and the spirit is the inward man who either reaches out to God or denies him.

When the bible speaks of “the flesh” it means more than just physical cells of the body. It’s referring to our natural tendency towards selfishness and gratifying the senses. The body and soul are working together to live out a human life on earth. The spirit starts out quite dormant (the bible uses the term “dead”) until filled with the Spirit of God, and then it’s resurrected to its true function, to know and worship God and to discern his will. And so on.

So these three parts also form a kind of “trinity”.

They do not always work in unity. Sometimes the body is tired, but the spirit wants to pray or speak to somebody. Jesus said “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. There are differences of activities within these three parts of a human being. Maybe the soul wants to party but the spirit says, hold back. The flesh wants to eat but the soul commands it “you will get overweight, so restrain yourself”.

We can now see more clearly the Trinity, the Godhead. Apart from sin, the “tripartate” nature of God is like a person’s soul spirit and body. God is the Eternal Father on the Throne, also the incarnated Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Each of these is equally God, just as we are not divided – we are not three people living in a body, but ONE person!

At times, the three-ness of God was revealed through unity, and sometimes through different persons. Jesus prayed always that he might be brought into unity and conformity with God the Father, and he did nothing but what he perceived his Father doing.

When Jesus ascended he sent the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God, both terms are used in scripture) to be “another helper” to be ALL that Jesus was to his disciples and more. When we receive God, we receive “The Son” and we receive the “Spirit of the Father” and the “Holy Spirit” and we receive “The Father” – there is no disagreement here, it’s all one and the same.

But Jesus on earth could be tempted to step outside of perfect oneness with the Father (the wilderness temptation and the Garden of Gethsemane). He could act independently of his Father, yet he chose to submit himself to Him.

That’s our clue to “walking in the spirit”. The “flesh” – body and soul – wants to be better, and sets out to change things. That’s a fundamental mistake! So many people, including Christians, think they have to clean up their own act and struggle to be a better person. Yet using only the body and soul to TRY just exaggerates the problem: being out of harmony with God in the Spirit.

Each time you exercise your flesh to “try harder” you are drowning out the voice of the Spirit and becoming less able to surrender to its commands. Whether or not the flesh is being evil or good, it’s still the flesh and really of no use to God UNLESS it’s in conformity and unity with the Spirit.

Just as Jesus never went outside his Father’s will or command or power, never acting in his own nature, so WE – like miniature trinities – have the task of bringing our personalities and wills into submission to the voice of the Spirit. THAT alone is the way of victory, peace, wisdom and ability.

We have to align in harmony with the Spirit and let God be the conductor of our human symphony. No “instrument” of ours can play its own independent tune.

One last illustration. I played a computer game where one task was manipulating three separate knobs to adjust a sound wave into perfect harmony with the given “key” wave. The frequency and tone of my wave had to be modulated so that eventually the sound was a perfect harmony, not discord. When perfect harmony was achieved the task was completed.

I see my soul and flesh like two parts of my human “soundwave”. God’s beautiful key tone within my spirit can be heard, and my only task is to conform myself to it, to bring myself into harmony with God. Then HIS nature will sound out, not mine!

The Oil in Your Lamp

A friend came home from a trip to Israel with a souvenir, a genuine ancient clay lamp. It looked a bit like this photo.Samaritan Oil Lamp

Jesus would have been so familiar with these lamps and I think he used them as an illustration more than once. It’s a very good picture of the body, the soul and the spirit. The bible often refers to the human body as the “vessel”, in this case one made of clay – how apt, becuase God formed Adam from the clay and his name (Adam/Edom) means ruddy because the clay was red. Inside the lamp would have been two things working together to provide light, oil and a wick. Olive oil was used for the fuel and the wick was made of flax. This is a picture of the soul and spirit of a human being, bringing the vessel to life.

So the lamp itself is just an clay vessel. Empty and unlit it’s just an ornament really – pretty, interesting to look at, but essentially useless. Man without the illumination of the Holy Spirit is just a vessel. We all have a soul and a spirit but they do not function properly or give a pure light until the oil becomes the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. The fuel of our own spirits is dark and smokey, foul and smelly, and it gives a dim unhealthy light if any at all. (How can light be darkness? Read this verse: “take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (Luke 11:35-36)

When the wick is renewed and set alight by the power of God and the lamp is filled with the pure oil of God, suddenly there is sweetness and light! “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor 4:7-8) Then, most of you will be familiar with the comment that Jesus made about hiding your light: “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light”. (Luke 8:16-17) So this light of God is not a personal and private illumination but meant to give light to those around us. If it doesn’t, something is wrong!

Lessons can be learned from all these scriptural references but I feel one of the most important is found in Matt 25:1-13.

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying,’Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

All those who thought the Lord would return one day started out in a state of readiness, because they ALL had oil-filled lamps. But only the wise went further. They made sure the light of the Holy Spirit was not only in their hearts and souls (the wick) but in their “vessels” also – that is, they topped up their lamps to make sure there would be enough for a long wait. The work of God has not just saved them and renewed them but had been allowed to mould and transform their OUTER lives also.

It’s glorious to be saved! Praise God for every man woman and child who is filled with the Spirit and had their sins forgiven. But these coming days also require endurance. “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13) Will your anchor hold in the storms of life? Not only our spirits, but everything else must be lit by the oil of the anointing Spirit. Our minds, our activities, speech, relationships, financial affairs, outlook on life – you name it! Unless the transforming light touches our vessels as well as our wicks, we are in danger of deception and stumbling in these last days. LET that oil seep into every part and LET God have his way with you entirely. Make sure you have oil in your vessel as well as your wick.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4:2-5

This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.

If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.

If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful;

He cannot deny Himself.

2 Tim 2:11-13