Additional Dangers of Spiritual Life

Other hazards lie in the way of following the spirit besides Satanís counterfeits and his attacks. Often our soul will fabricate or sense something which urges us to take action. Christians must never forget that not all senses emerge from the spirit, for the body, the soul, and the spirit each has its own senses. It is highly important not to interpret soulical or physical senses as the intuition of the spirit. Godís children should learn daily in experience what is and what is not genuine intuition. How very easy for us, once perceiving the importance of following the intuition, to overlook the fact that senses exist in other parts of the being besides in the spirit. Actually spiritual life is neither so complicated nor so easy as people usually imagine.

Here then are two causes for alarm: first, the peril of mistaking other senses to be the spiritís intuition; and second, the danger of misunderstanding the meaning of intuition. We meet these two hazards every day. Hence the teaching of the Holy Scriptures is quite essential. To confirm whether or not we are moved by, and walk in, the Holy Spirit, we must see if any given thing harmonizes with the teaching of the Bible. The Holy Spirit never moves the prophets of old to write in one way and then move us today in another way. It is categorically impossible for the Holy Spirit to have instructed people of yesteryear what they ought not to do and yet tell us in our day that we must do these very same things. What we receive in the spiritís intuition needs to be certified by the teaching of Godís Word. To follow intuition alone and not in conjunction with the Scriptures will undeniably lead us into error. The revelation of the Holy Spirit sensed by our spirit must coincide with the revelation of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.

Since our flesh is continuously active, we must be ever vigilant against its intrusion into our keeping the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. We know the Bible discloses the mind of the Holy Spirit; but were we to observe the Bible perfectly, we still would not necessarily be following the mind of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because often we search the many teaching of the Scriptures with our natural mind and later do them with our strength. Although what is understood and is done agrees perfectly with the Scriptures, it is nevertheless done without dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The whole matter has remained within the realm of the flesh. Wherefore, not only what we know in our spirit concerning the mind of the Holy Spirit needs to be checked by the Scriptures, but also what we know from the Scriptures must be carried out through our spirit. Do we not realize that the flesh craves priority even with respect to keeping the Holy Scriptures? The spirit has intuition; but it also has power. It is consequently null and void if we understand any doctrine in our mind while at the same time it remains unexecuted by the power of the spirit.

One more matter needs to be noticed: a great danger looms before us if we live and walk by the spirit too much. Although the Word does emphasize the believerís personal spirit, the Word also informs us that the significance of oneís spirit is due to the indwelling Holy Spirit. The reason why we must walk and live in the spirit at all is because our spirit, being the habitation of Godís Spirit, is where He expresses His mind. The leading and discipline we receive therein is His leading and discipline. In stressing the significance of the Holy Spirit we are at the same time emphasizing our own spirit since the latter constitutes His base of operation. Our danger, upon apprehending the work and function of manís spirit, is to rely entirely on it, forgetting that it is merely the servant of the Holy Spirit. Godís Spirit and not our spirit is the One upon Whom we wait for direct guidance into all truth. If manís spirit is divorced from the divine Spirit it becomes as useless as the other parts of man. We should never reverse the order of manís spirit and the Holy Spirit. It is because many of the Lordís people are ignorant of manís spirit and its operation that we have presented in these pages a detailed account of it. This does not mean, however, that the position of the Holy Spirit in a man is inferior to that of his own spirit. The purpose for understanding this faculty of man is to help us to obey Him more and to exalt Him more.

This should exert great influence on our guidance. The Holy Spirit is given primarily for the benefit of the whole body of Christ. He abides in each individual because He dwells in the whole body of Christ and each is a member of it. The work of the Spirit is corporate in nature (1 Cor. 12. 12-13). He guides individuals because He guides the whole body. He leads each of us for the sake of the body. The movement of one member involves the whole body. The guidance of the Holy Spirit in our individual spirits is related to the other members. Spiritual guidance is the guidance of the body. In order that our movements may therefore be related to the body, we need to seek sympathy and agreement from the spirit of ďtwo or threeĒ other members, even after we personally have received guidance in our spirit. This principle must not be neglected in spiritual work. Much of defeat, strife, hatred, division, shame, and pain has been due to the independent moves of those who mean well but who follow merely their own spirit. All who follow the spirit should accordingly test their guidance by its relationship to the spiritual body to determine whether or not it is of the Holy Spirit. In every bit of our work, conduct, faith, and teaching we should be regulated by that relationship of the members one of anotherĒ (Rom.12.5) .

In conclusion, then, along the spiritual pathway lurk many snares. A little carelessness brings in defeat. Yet there is no short cut or bypass we can take. We are not insured because we have learned some knowledge; on the contrary, we ourselves must experience everything. Those who have preceded us can only warn us of the hazards ahead so that we may not fall prey to them. If we intend to bypass part of the pathway, we shall be disappointed, but faithful followers of the Lord can avoid many unnecessary defeats.