August 30, 2016

Thoughts from Mark

“Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] Luke 9:54-56

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?” Genesis 3:11

There is a spirit to everything. An invisible, intangible environment surrounding every person, idea, belief, event and circumstance. We feel it when someone enters the room, when we hear the way certain words are spoken, the difference between a joyful gathering and a somber one.

The spirit of a thing is based on its source. Where did the thought originate? What was a person’s motivation? Where did that come from? What did I feel when that happened?

I’ve made the wise choice to consider God, the Father, the best source. In Jesus He causes all things to come into being and nothing that exists does so outside of Him. Therefore, there is an original, best context – spirit – to everything. And if we connect to a thing’s original source, we get it at its optimum.

If God is the source of a thing, then His Spirit is its environment. And the spirit of a thing is more important than the thing. The spirit determines what we do with it. It determines how it is offered and often how it is received.

Adam and Even found out they were naked through the wiles of a serpent rather than from their Father. The result was shame. This is just a guess, but I’m willing to bet there would have been a time in Adam & Eve’s relationship with God when He would have said “It’s time. You’ve learned my heart enough and have matured to a state so you can understand good and evil.” The serpent circumvented that process for them and another spirit showed them they were naked.

I believe there is no thing that is inherently evil. I believe the spirit the thing is brought in or carried by turns it for good or for evil. Money is not evil. The spirit it is offered in, or the spirit in which we receive it, will determine what is done with it.

For instance, sex is beautiful. But if we learn of it from a broken or perverted source, what was meant for beautiful, lifelong oneness with our spouse can turn self-serving, individualistic and temporary.

Discernment of spirit is a most important skill. I believe every child of God can and should hone it. To the know the spirit of a thing is to know its source. To know a source helps us to know good from evil.

Parents: be aware of the spirit of your children. Dawn and I are so attuned to our children’s spirits that we know when another spirit has had too much influence over them. We can feel – almost see – a different spirit at work in them. As their parents, we have the authority to not only recognize it, but to arrest its influence and re-awaken our kids to who they really are.

We must be aware of the gateways in our lives: relationships, social media, communication outlets, entertainment. All of these are a swarming mix of spirit, of which the less-discerning are unaware. These spirits slyly influence us, and given enough undetected time, turn our hearts toward their source.

When Jesus used the term “born again” He was referring to a “re-origination”. We had been living according to the spirit of this world instead of according to the Father’s Spirit who gave us life. To be born again is to reorient and re-source ourselves from Him. This is how restoration, renewal and regeneration take place in us.

Every spirit that influences us wants us to be born again – born and sourced from where it came. It comes to steal us from He who is Life to a lesser-than source. Just like the serpent in the garden, these spirits want us to experience life apart from the Holy Spirit. If successful and given enough time, a new normal sets in. And, over that time, we don’t realize how far from we can stray.

When the people of Samaria didn’t welcome Jesus, the disciples wanted them all to burn. Jesus had to arrest His friends, showing them the spirit in which they were operating. Their response was not of God’s Spirit. He had been showing them all along the Spirit of the Father, but their current source overrode the example they’d been shown. Any spirit other than His will eventually lead us to steal, kill and destroy. It’s simply being true to its source.

May the God of our Lord Jesus, the Father of glory, give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. When He answers that prayer, the eyes of our heart open. And discernment begins.

You can know the spirit you are of.

In love,

Mark