WALKING BY THE SPIRIT - THE DILEMMA
by Gary Carpenter
Preface: Neither the spirit nor the soul of man is a circle. The diagrams presented are simply a way of graphically demonstrating the relationship between the spirit, soul and body of man. The purpose is that we obtain clarity of understanding regarding how mankind functions by the interrelationship between the three.
The outer circle, the soul, is comprised of a series of rooms, each of them having a door that opens inwardly from the hallway and a window on the opposite wall. Those windows represent the "sense gates" through which input [information] from the physical world enters the chambers of the soul.
The Natural Man:
We know that the natural man is born with the Adamic nature, the spirit of the world, the spirit of sin and death. In the vision, the inner circle representing the spirit of the natural man is black as night. As an infant, man is born with the chambers of the soul virtually empty of content. Through the sense gates, knowledge is gathered into the various chambers of the soul at an extremely rapid pace as he gains knowledge of the world around him.
At first, it seems that all the inner doors are open to the spirit and the natural man makes decisions in the soul that are heavily influenced by the "death nature" in his spirit. A typical example would be a very young child playing with toys in a room with other small children. Through the sense gate of the eyes, he sees another child enjoying himself while playing with a toy that the first child does not have. Standing from the position of his darkened spirit, he looks into the chamber of the soul where that data is accumulating and he comes to certain conclusions:
Of course, this is what the bible describes as "covetousness," and is a natural outflow from the spirit of sin and death. It is born in the natural man.
Continuing with the example, the youngster goes over to the other child and attempts to take the toy from him. He resists, so the first child "bops" him on the head in order to force him to relinquish the toy. [What we have just seen on a small scale is the same process that starts world wars]. Mission accomplished! The child who now has the toy feels no compassion for the other child who is crying over the loss of the toy. The nature of sin and death is totally self?serving.
If this young child continues to have such "success" via this method of forcibly plundering the possessions of others, his feedback loop will continue to give positive reinforcement to his methods. He will conclude, "This is the way to happiness." He will become an excellent thief when he grows up, if not a dictator. It is for this reason that the bible admonishes us;
Prov 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Prov 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Applying this truth to our example, let's say that there is an adult teacher in that same room where the children were playing and that the teacher saw this whole episode. Her job is to come over to the child who took the toy by force and "teach" him that his behavior was not acceptable. If she is godly, she will not only remove the stolen toy and restore it to its true owner, but she will also "spank" the child, providing input through the sense gates that will be more persuasive than his previous conduct of covetousness. The goal is to provide sufficient sensory input via the spanking to fill that chamber of the soul with thought processes that go something like this:
Conclusion: "I shall not steal!" (Ex 20:15)
At this point it is imperative to take note that the spirit of sin and death within the child HAS NOT CHANGED! No, a chamber of the "soul" has received sensory input that will cause him to make a different decision from that which would come naturally from the spirit of sin and death. "Covetousness" is still within his spirit. But "instruction" has now filled that chamber of his soul. As he sojourns through life and encounters situations where he must once more make the choice to either "steal or not steal," the man has learned to block the influence of his death nature upon the soul in order to make decisions.
Through this ongoing process, man learns to live by his soul and not by his spirit. He learns by the "reward and punishment" system that it is better for him NOT to walk by his fallen spirit, but rather to walk by the information he has gathered into the chambers of his soul. In fact, he learns that the better he becomes at walking by his soul instead of his spirit, the more society lauds him as being a "good" man. But once more, it is imperative to understand that HIS SPIRIT HAS NOT CHANGED! At his core, he still has the spirit of sin and death. He has simply become expert at not walking by his spirit, but rather by the soul instead. See Figure 2.
For all practical purposes, he erects a "barrier" between his spirit and his soul. He wants to block the spirit of sin and death from influencing his decisions as much as possible. He does his best to make decisions based on the accumulated knowledge gained from "civilization" that has been stored in the various chambers of the soul.
But ultimately, even this process is still the product of the fallen nature. Why do I say that? He is choosing to live a "good" [soulish] life because IT IS IN "HIS" BEST INTEREST TO DO SO! Even this decision to walk by the soul instead of the fallen spirit is totally "self" serving. There is no love of God involved in this process. The man is tying to be "good" because he has learned through the reward and punishment system of civilization that he is personally "better off" if he does so. His nature has not changed! He is still spending his life serving "self!"
Note: The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has a single root. That root is "self." What fallen man, as a society, calls "good" behavior and "evil" behavior stems from the motive of preservation and personal benefit for "self" on the "society" level. The laws of every nation are designed to protect man from man.
The Born Again Man's Dilemma:
For teaching purposes, let us say that the young man mentioned above does not get born again until he is a full grown adult. He has spent a lifetime trying to be "good" by building a strong barrier between his soul and his spirit. He has learned to never walk by his spirit at all costs, but rather to make decisions based only on the information contained in the various chambers of the soul.
In the vision I see some of the names on the doors that lead into the various chambers of the soul. Some of the names on the doors are ETHICS, ECONOMICS, GOVERNMENT, FAMILY, BUSINESS, DOCTRINE, PRAYER and so forth. The man has spent a lifetime developing the practice of living by the information contained in these rooms rather than by the nature of his fallen spirit. Society calls him "good" for his soulish discipline to restrain the fallen nature.
But now, as an adult, he hears the gospel of Jesus Christ. He understands the message and receives Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He is "born again." His old spirit, the Adamic nature, the spirit of sin and death is literally put to death. In its place is inserted a new spirit which is "of God." We often call it the "new nature."
In the vision, the inner circle representing the spirit of this born again man is now filled with light. This born again spirit is "of God" and is capable of understanding the things of the Kingdom of God.
1 Cor 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
The goal for the born again man is to "walk in the spirit." That is, to walk according to the new nature that God has placed on the inside of him.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The problem is, the man has absolutely no idea HOW to do that! His lifelong pattern has been to walk according to his soul. At all costs he has avoided walking by his spirit because it was the spirit of sin and death before he was born again. His practical experience consists of knowing how to walk by the soul, not by the spirit.
The life, the power, the anointing of God, however, flows into the earth through the conduit of the reborn human spirit. To ever see the "physics" of the Kingdom of God manifested in the earth, somehow the man must learn to "walk in the spirit." By the "physics" of the Kingdom of God, I am talking about the same works that we see being demonstrated through the life of Jesus Christ; miracles, healings, dominion over the forces of nature, dominion over devils, and so forth. All of these are worked through the reborn "spirit" of man by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. They do not originate in the soul. They originate with God and flow through the "spirit of Him" which is inside the heart of every born again person.
Being conditioned to walk according to the soul, most Christians try to live their lives by the soul even after their spirit has been quickened from death to life. For the Gospel Entrepreneur to effectively co-labor with the leadership and anointing of the Holy Spirit, it is imperative that he learns how to tear down the barrier that has been erected over a lifetime of endeavoring to walk by the soul and not by the spirit. How to tear down that barrier will be the subject of the next lesson in this series.
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
All Rights Reserved.
P.O. Box 9667, Tulsa, OK 74157