Just as the human mind can be educated and trained intellectually, so the human spirit can be trained spiritually. It can be built up in strength just as the body can be built up. In this lesson we will look at four ways by which this can be accomplished:
1. Meditating in the Word of God
2. Practicing the Word of God
3. Giving the Word of God First Place
4. Instantly Obeying the Voice of Our Spirit
As we apply these four principles to our daily lives, we can come to know the will of God in even the minor details of life.
God communicates with the spirit and not with our reasoning faculties. As we instantly obey our spirit, we will find that we are obeying the Holy Spirit. God said in His Word, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly” (Proverbs 20:27). This means that God is going to use our own spirit to guide us. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.
Rule 1 – Meditating in the Word of God
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
After Moses’ death when God anointed Joshua to lead the children of Israel, God told him at the very outset of his ministry of the importance of meditating in the Word. Another translation of the last phrase of Joshua 1:8, quoted above, says, “You will be able to deal wisely in the things of life.” Certainly we wouldn’t have good success if we could not deal wisely in the things of life. God told Joshua to meditate in the Word, and that if he would do so God would make his way prosperous and he would have good success.
The most deeply spiritual men and women I have known are those who give time to meditation. One cannot develop spiritual wisdom without meditation in God’s Word.
One pastor once told me that he had been trying to make a success of his church. He flew all over the country visiting many of the larger churches, studying their methods and trying to find out what made them successful. He would bring home various programs and ideas, but it seemed that they didn’t work in his church. After hearing me teach along these lines of meditating in God’s Word, he decided to follow this course. Daily he set aside a certain time for meditating rather than asking. After thirty days had passed, at the close of his Sunday morning sermon a landslide of souls was at the altar. More people were saved in that one service than had been saved in that church in the past two or three years. His people were revived and he began to have good success.
His testimony can be that of any believer who will follow his example and spend time meditating in God’s Word. Shut yourself alone with your spirit, and shut the world out. If you have ambitions to do something worthwhile, I suggest that you begin by taking ten or fifteen minutes daily for meditation. Begin the development of your spirit.
Rule 2 – Practicing the Word of God
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Practicing the Word is what James called being a “doer of the Word.” Some people think that being a doer of the Word is keeping the Ten Commandments. However, under the new covenant we have one commandment – the commandment of love. If you love someone, you won’t steal from him. You won’t lie about him. Paul said love is the fulfilling of the law. If you walk in love, you won’t break any law that was given to curb sin.
In this verse of scripture James was urging believers to do primarily what is written in the epistles, to act upon this Word. For example, Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). The Amplified translation says, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything. But in every thing by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God with thanksgiving.”
Usually we practice only part of this. We don’t mind practicing the part that tells us to pray. But if we just practice one part and not the other, we are not practicing the Word. We are not a doer of the Word.
First of all, the Lord said not to fret. If we are going to fret and have anxieties, then it isn’t going to do any good to make requests. If God said not to fret, then this means that we can keep from it. God is a just God and He won’t ask us to do something that we cannot do. There was a time when I believed that I could make my requests known unto God, but I had difficulty believing that I couldn’t fret. However, God said that we don’t have to fret. So I would say then that I refuse to fret or have any anxiety about anything. I would tell the Lord that I bring my requests to Him, and then I would thank Him. This quiets my spirit and pacifies the troubled spirit that the devil would try to make me have. If this inner turmoil persists, I simply go right back to this verse and read it again. I keep claiming it.
If we follow Paul’s advice and “do not fret or have anxiety about anything,” then we can believe God for the promise of the verse that follows: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Many people want what this seventh verse talks about, but they don’t want to do what the sixth verse says in order to get it. However, to receive this “peace … which passeth all understanding,” we must “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (verse 6).
“God’s peace will garrison and mount guard,” is the Amplified Version of verse 7. It will keep guard over your heart and your spirit.
The education of our spirits comes by practicing the Word. Can you reap the results and have peace without being a doer of the Word? No, we really can’t. Be a doer of the Word and you’ll grow spiritually.
Rule 3 – Giving the Word First Place
20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
With so many different voices surrounding us, it is often difficult to stop and listen to the voice of the Word of God. Family and friends are always ready to give us their opinions and advice. However, an essential of training the spiritual man is learning to listen to what God’s Word has to say to us. It is giving the Word first place in our lives.
In the verses quoted above, God tells us to do three things with His Word: to listen to it, to read it, and to memorize it. In verse 20 we read, “… incline thine ear unto my sayings.” Anytime the Bible is being read aloud – in church, in family devotions, on a gospel radio or television program – give careful attention to its words. Then verse 21 tells us, “Let them not depart from thine eyes …” In other words, spend time alone reading God’s Word. Let it sink deep into your thoughts and your heart. Memorize it, as the second part of verse 21 tells us. “… Keep them in the midst of thine heart.”
If we will do these three things, we will find that God’s Word is “… life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (verse 22). We will enter into the life more abundant in Christ Jesus. We will find physical healing for our bodies. All we need to do is to give God’s Word first place in our lives.
Rule 4 – Instantly Obeying the Voice of Our Spirit
The human spirit has a voice. We call that voice conscience. Sometimes it is called intuition. We call it an inner voice of guidance. It is our spirit talking to us. Every man’s spirit has a voice, whether he is saved or unsaved. But the new birth is a rebirth of the human spirit. As your spirit meditates upon the Word, this is where your spirit gets its information. Learn to obey your spirit.
Your spirit has the life and nature of God in it, for the Holy Spirit dwells within you. The devil can’t be giving you the information because he is not in you. He is on the outside of you. God has to communicate with you through your spirit because that is where He is. He isn’t in your head. He isn’t in your reasoning faculties. He is in your spirit. Your spirit gets its information through Him. Learn to obey your spirit.
Some people say that conscience isn’t a safe guide. But this isn’t always true. The conscience is a safe guide in the Spirit-filled believer because God is dwelling within him. The believer’s conscience, the voice of his spirit, becomes the voice of God. God is speaking to him. Paul said that he obeyed his conscience (Acts 23:1).
“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord …” (Proverbs 20:27). God will use your spirit to guide you. He will use it to enlighten you. As your spirit meditates and feeds upon the Word, then it becomes more and more a safe guide. It is trained in the Word.
With those of us who have certain ministry gifts, the Holy Spirit does speak a little differently. But as a rule in the lives of believers the inward voice is the voice of the spirit speaking, not just the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit often speaks to me about others, but I never hear Him for my own benefit. A prophet’s ministry isn’t given for his benefit. It is given for the benefit of others. I have to receive guidance for myself through my own inward voice.
As we learn to obey the voice of our spirit, we will come to the place where we know what we should do in all phases of life. The Lord will guide us. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
Memory Text: “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly” (Proverbs 20:27)
Faith in Action: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only ….” (James 1:22)
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