Paul talks about 3 types of people in the following scripture passage: the natural man, the spiritual man, and the "fleshly" man. Let's look at the three types of men and how they relate to the Holy Spirit. We will see the critical differences pertaining to spiritual life which exist between these three kinds of individuals.
1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3
14. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15. But he who is (a) spiritual (man) appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. 16. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor 3:1. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. 2. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able [to receive it]. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3. for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
Let's take a look at this diagram to get a little better understanding of what the Natural Man is like.
(click to enlarge)
1. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2. in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
This is a pretty concise description of a person before salvation. They are spiritually dead and living a life apart from God. This person sins as a matter of fact. He has a soul of course in that he can think, have emotions and choose. His mind, will, and emotions are not directed by God, but by his own flesh, his "old man".
The Natural Man's spirit is dead, living apart from Jesus. He cannot fulfill the purpose for which God has placed him here on earth.
This person is independent of God, and if affects his will. This independence from God gives sin the opportunity to dwell in this person's body and mind. He may try to find purpose in life apart from God, but it will be futile and temporary. He may wander from "place to place" physically and emotionally without ever finding happiness and satisfaction in life. He makes wrong choices and decisions out of habit. He cannot get off the cycle of sin.
Toxic emotions take over this person, envy, bitterness, anxiety. Obsessive thoughts and fantasy life, strife, anger, immorality; anything that rules your life and controls your thinking. Inability to forgive, love, or have sympathy. These are all attributes of a person that does not know God. As believers we still have some of these traits, but hopefully they do not dominate our lives.
He has a body that because it is not directed by God can be completely dominated by illness and disease. Now I want to give my own opinion here out of experience. I've had to adjust my thinking and ideas about "health" and healing, from this book. I have some physical ailments, yet I walk by the Holy Spirit. Do they influence me, yes they do at times, but the difference is that they do not "dominate" me. You and I may have some physical issues but the key is to not let them "define" who you are. Now, I still believe in healing, but I am not healed yet. A controversy? No. Not for me.
There are many hard line Christians who say if you're sick, well then something is definitely wrong with your spiritual life. Sin can of course affect our physical life. It's in our attitude and trust in God. I may not be completely healed, but I'm believing that God is in control, and I'm moving forward. I'm not living in fear or dread or unbelief. I believe that God wants me well and that when His timing is perfect I will be walking in it. It's not black or white. "The Healing Doctrine" can be simple, yet at times it is multi-layered and personal.
It is clear that living a lifestyle that is controlled by stress, abuse, and neglect, a person can easily become ill and then later disease ridden. "Possessing peace of mind and the calm assurance of God's presence in our lives positively affects our physical health".
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
If you are affected by illness or physical disease, do what I do; seek God for His healing touch and thank Him in advance, everyday, that you are getting better and better.
Next time we'll look at the "Spiritual Man"; how we relate to God, after being born again. Remember, if you have questions or comments we would all love to hear them. Just say "Hey!" and let us know you're here. Hope you're having a great week.
love, in Jesus,
(concepts and quotations taken from
Victory Over the Darkness
by Neil Anderson)