Physical vs. Spiritual—which do you choose most often?
When we look around us today, in this world of quick and easy things that appeal to the physical senses, are we sometimes too far away from the Spiritual to have a good grasp of what really are “right choices” and what we allow ourselves to get pulled into? Of course there is a huge gulf between those who claim Christianity and those who are actually true Christians. The true Christian understanding (Those actually having and being led by the Holy Spirit) is the only realistic approach to a right understanding. Have you ever wondered about the choices that were presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden actually coming down to either physical or Spiritual? You see, there was a spirit influence allowed to be working then and still is today, that wants to keep mankind in the physical—because this is where we will all die or be destroyed—never reaching beyond this physical life to the Spiritual without making that Spiritual connection. God and the Bible is the only standard to go by for right understanding in spiritual matters. Actually God had already spent some time with Adam and given him explicit instructions before Eve was created. Adam could have chosen a different path, as he was not forced nor deceived—but he had failed up to that point to choose the Spiritual connect by eating of the tree of life. (See article titled Two Trees for more) We today must be begotten by the Holy Spirit and let it lead us in order to overcome the physical.
How well do you and I understand the word of God and how it should be applied in our everyday lives and decisions? Can we get caught up in what seems to us to be the right thing to do at the time and later find ourselves to have been more focused on the physical than the Spiritual? Do we end up making what may seem to be wise choices, (as in the deceptions Eve bought into) but will never really lead beyond this physical life into the Spiritual? Can we, even as true Christians today, afford to buy into a wrong influence of concepts and ideas not Biblically based, or even listen to some ministers preaching heresy, and still be “okay” with God? I hope you are beginning to see this does come down to the physical vs. the Spiritual, when you look at it properly. We all have to deal with the physical in this life, but as a Christian the Spiritual has to live in us and take top priority every time. Sometimes the converted vs. the unconverted when it comes to family matters, the converted being your Spiritual family trying to go the way of God & the unconverted (physical family) going the opposite, so which should be your first priority? With God there is no partiality among the righteous, (Acts 10:34-35 - Rom.2:11—see also “Partiality” bible study for more on that subject) and God does not want His begotten children favoring one over another, especially the unconverted over the converted. (This article is written for the purpose of helping others stop and think about some of the everyday choices that we make—to ask ourselves the title question above—and then try to determine if our choices sometimes come down to physical vs. spiritual. Examine ourselves to see if we are letting ourselves be more carnally motivated than we should. Is Matt. 6:33 and the intent of it being kept in mind when any trying situation presents itself to test us? Do we let ourselves be pulled into breaking the commandments for physical gain or prestige? Which choice DO WE make the most often?
It is my desire to bring out these Biblical points of truth on this web-site so that you can ponder them and do your own research and Bible study, furthering your understanding of what the Bible reveals for you, now and beyond this physical life. Now if you do not care about your spiritual future and well-being—then this article won’t do you much good, you can just tune out and go on about your everyday business. There are many today who are so concerned with just fulfilling their immediate wants and desire of the here and now, they are willing to ignore and disrespect certain points of truth that lead to a more spiritually oriented way. Sad to say, they suffer the consequences of that and this is becoming more prevalent today in what is known to some of us as the “COG realm” and its many differing organizations. Some ministers are far worse than others in various organizations at dictating to their people what to do and how to live—sometimes to the exclusion of some very important Biblical principles.
The NT gives us some examples of individuals who thought they were making right choices, based on what they thought was righteousness. Those who were thought to be the religious of Christ’s day had a serious problem they could not see— they did not love the truth as they thought and Christ pointed that out. They were more physical than spiritual in their mind and conduct, leaning to their own understanding more than belief of the Word of God. John 8:45-47 "But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 "Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (People today read certain parts of the Bible and simply do not believe what it says! This even happens from time to time in the COG and even among some of the ministry of many years.) 47 "He who is of God hears God's words; (Believes) therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." Now I am sure you do not feel you are in this category—but stop and think about this; people who are too focused on their own ideas to see what the Bible actually says are not thinking Spiritually! Rather than letting go of the physical things to focus and then commit to the Spiritual, by believing and following Christ, they are more focused on themselves and their own understanding; which is the physical. Christ said we have to be willing to forsake all in this life—even our own life if called on for that—in order to be His disciples. (Luke 14:26) No physical and even unconverted family member can take priority of what we have committed to as a Spiritual calling and commitment. If Adam had been thinking more spiritual, when he saw Eve take a bite of the forbidden fruit, he would have high-tailed it away from her and toward the tree of life, to eat of it! But he had neglected to eat of the fruit of the tree of life and therefore had little or no resistance to the wrong choice that was presented to him by Eve, under the influence of Satan.
How bad do you want eternal life and to be free of the evil ways of this physical world we are living in today? Can you make the hard choices that are required, when it comes to physical vs. spiritual? Can you see the need to have the power of God at work on your side and are you willing to make the choices to have it? (Rom.2:4, Acts 2:38, Ch.5:32 & 1Cor.2:12-14) Or perhaps you are willing to compromise and take a chance that you will get away with choosing physical satisfaction and comfort for the self now, over Spiritual obedience, sacrifice and eternal life later? Some people are just not willing to put things in God’s hands and let Him handle them, based on what the word of God reveals. Note that Paul shows the truth of God and His ways must be very important to us—a number one priority in fact, or we cannot be in God’s Family. There is an evil influence that spreads through this earth and is growing stronger all the time, as time shortens. (Eph.2:1-3) Paul speaks of this in 2Thes. 2:9-12;
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, (we are about to enter more fully into this time frame, being spoken of here) V.10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (The truth leads us to Spiritual understanding, things and ways of God revealed by the written word—the very things this carnal and physical life tend to lead away from.) V.11 And for this reason God will send them (Those who do not love the truth and hold it fast) strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,-- (which comes from Satan because he is the father of lies.) 12 that they all may be condemned who did not (or will not) believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
When you begin to focus on what this reveals, it does come down to the Physical vs. the Spiritual, so let me define this for you, in hope that it will make better sense to you. To follow in a train of thought and then action that leads you into conflict with any of the ways or words of God found in Scripture and perhaps even the gender roles we are given to adhere to, you are following a wrong spirit that cannot elevate you above the physical. It will only break you down. Only God can bring us into the Spirit realm and we are told to test the spirits—to see if they are of God or not, (1John 4:1) which can include our own! The Holy Spirit must be active in us in order to remain Christian and in full belief. (Rom.8:7&8, 13-17)
Even the Jews of Christ’s day were only focused on the Physical and written Law of God, which they had also tampered with to suit themselves—and they could not see the true Spirit and intent of the Law; that they did not obey it. Christ came to magnify the Law—so for true Christians today, we are not only to keep the letter of the Law to the best of our ability, but also the Spirit and intent of it as well. Christ did both and the Jews viewed some of His actions as going against God and breaking the Law. They even accused Him of breaking the Sabbath, using the power of “Beelzebub” and could not see past the physical and their own focus, because they did not have the Spirit in them nor were they even prone to think in that capacity. They were not motivated to think properly, spiritually speaking and made more physical choices than spiritual. Even when Christ told them what choices they should be making, they let the physical win out over the spiritual and would not repent! Some today who have been in the COG for many years and read the word of God, also choose not to believe what it says at times because they also have grown accustomed to leaning to their own understanding and would rather promote that instead of the truth of Scripture. These make claims that run contrary to the very Scriptures they use, in deceptive thinking they are seeing something in the Scripture that is really not there at all.
It is our own individual responsibility, if we are a true Christian today, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into a right understanding of truth and the Spiritual aspect of how to obey God, no matter what other people do or say. So back to the question after the title; “which do you choose most often”? When you find yourself in a tough situation and the easy way out, (or the most desirable for you at the time) goes against some points of truth in the word of God, what do you do? Can you remain Spiritual and connected to God if you lean to disobedience? Some may convinced themselves they have a reason to ignore one point of truth in order to obey another. Some seem to come up with this reasoning today, but there are no contradictions in the word of God and one cannot use one point of disobedience or even rejection of truth to justify keeping another supposed teaching of Scripture. Let us use another example found in Scripture. 1 Cor.3:1-4 “And I, brethren, (Paul, speaking to the Church) could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. (They were not grasping the solid spiritual food) 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (Paul means fleshly led in mind—they were being more physically minded than spiritual.) 4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal?” Their focus here was not so much on the spiritual aspect of what God was doing; instead they were focusing on the physical personalities and traits of men that they liked. The same thing is going on today among some of these COG organizations, along with adding in things they want to believe the Bible says.
So we do see this very same thing going on in the COG realm today, with so many people in these COG organizations basing their own spirituality on what some physical man or men say and teach. Some just follow the minister and whatever he asks, does or says to do—not even thinking if they are really doing what God would have them do! Some have begun to take it upon themselves to interpret Scripture for themselves or read into it things not there—all the while convincing themselves it is the Spirit of God that is leading them to do that! Where do you fit into the scenario? Are you trying to please God more than yourself or are you letting the physical things in your life over-ride where your Spiritual life should be going? Many today, even in the COG organizations, have lost sight of where and what the COG is, what the commission of the Church was from Christ Himself, who the God of the OT was, what the Gospel is and how God, through the Spirit infuses true understanding into the Church and on & on it goes. We are in a time frame that is far less Spiritual and more focused on the physical in many areas, even in the COG. This was prophesied to come, where people would be allowing the physical things to get in the way of the Spiritual—but would be unable to see it.
Rev 3:14-22 (RSV) "And to the angel of the church in La-odice'a write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15 "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
When you see the fruits or the actions of individuals thought to have the Holy Spirit but now their decisions and way of living seems to be taking them down a wrong path that is going to compromise with the ways of God; you should love them enough to warn them of the danger they are in. However, you will need to get away from them if they will not listen to instructions and words from the Bible. (Gal. 6:1, Eph.4:2-3 & Heb.12:13-14) Some (few I hope) may have been letting the physical and carnal mindset over-ride the Spiritual long enough that the Holy Spirit in them may have gone dormant, allowing in a spirit of unbelief. By not letting the Spirit of God lead or guide us into all truth in belief, (John 16:13) one can become blind enough to their own mindset that they begin to see truth as error, in some cases. When and if a minister is found more supportive of wrong things and motives than what is actually found in the Bible; he is also more physically focused than Spiritual and will lead you astray. We MUST BE more on guard and watchful in our spiritual life in this last time frame, so we can stay on the straight and narrow path (Matt.7:13-14) that leads to eternal life! Strive to let the Spirit in you push out the physical and wrong pulls; overcome completely by being submissive to God in belief of what His Word reveals in whatever the situation! This is much harder for some of us to do than others, but we cannot give up and quit or give in to a wrong spirit or we will never move past the physical and into the Spiritual.
(Written for TCOGMSO.COM)