March 15, 2013
” This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law,” Galatians 5:16-18.
In this context we are touching on one of the battle fronts in this war between flesh and Spirit. Certainly this is an important part of the war, but not the front I have in mind for present exploration. Rather what I am thinking about and wanting to address in this post is the war that goes on between flesh and blood family members and the presence of the Spirit in our lives.
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law,” Luke 12:51-53.
This is the war that we have in view in this post.
Interesting that Jesus begins His answer with “For from henceforth…” This suggests a point of demarcation between how things once were in flesh and blood families, and how things are about to be in families. The last thing that Jesus said before this, as recorded by Luke was:
“But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!”, Luke 12:50.
This suggests the possibility that what Jesus is looking at here in His Baptism of sorts has consequences that might also impact our lives, and especially our family lives once we have undergone the fall-out from His baptism, in our case, the baptism of The Holy Spirit. The baptism changes our position or location, certainly our priorities where relationships are concerned. Baptized in the Spirit we find ourselves in a new love, with new and different people, and this is very threatening to those we have been associated with to date, especially our own flesh and blood.
This is much like what happened in the heart of Cain when Abel came along and displaced Cain from his central place in the lives of his parents. This kind of displacement can and most often does cause a relational war. Flesh and blood relationship is no longer our highest priority, and unless the flesh and blood people in our lives come under the influence of the same Spirit with some understanding of the magnitude of the difference that makes relationally, as likely as not they will make war on our new lives and relationships in Christ.
Make no mistake, this is a real war. It is very painful all around, because it is born out of woundedness, resentment and not love. It is the number one killer of spiritual relationships. Flesh and blood will put up with this intrusion provided it is limited to flesh and blood marriage, and that, likely as not, for the sake of the perpetuation of the flesh and blood family.
Spiritual relationships, however, are not bound by or to the flesh. They may be reproductive in the Spirit, but that reproduction has to do with the family of God, not the family of the flesh.
This front in the war between flesh and Spirit is one of the most telling, where our ability to move forward in Christ is concerned, because moving forward in Christ is first and ultimately about Spiritual relationships first with Him, and ultimately including each other. This transition in relationship begins in this present age where the war is still going on. It is little wonder that Jesus addressed this reality early rather than late, because it is such a big obstacle to receiving Him and Him in each other.
The Holy Spirit changes our relational priorities, if only we are strong enough in The Spirit to Let Him have His way with us.
Please note, this is not a call not to take care our own, where flesh and blood is concerned, but only to be aware that in Christ we have a new “our own,” and taking care of them is also a priority of the highest order.
This battle is very real, and is accurately described here. As I read this post the words of Jesus ran through me.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Yes, the battle is very real. And in many cases, lethal. What stands out for me in what Jay wrote is this:
“The Holy Spirit changes our relational priorities, if only we are strong enough in The Spirit to Let Him have His way with us.”
We must remain strong in who He is making us, and who He is making us to one another. That is how He is building His Church.
Jay said that he believed worship is agreeing with God. Do we agree with who He says we are? Do we agree with what He is doing in our lives – putting us together with one another in particular?
Thank you, Jim, for your words. I believe this is confirmation for what you wrote.