Walking in the Spirit
Updated: May 28, 2021
“Christ,” said Paul, “created all things that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” (Col. 1:16). Clearly there is another world, above and beyond the physical, material plane. It is the world of spirit – a world with its own set of laws and ordinances. The Bible also tells us that “the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:3). The things which are seen originate from the unseen realm.
We also understand from Scripture that the laws of the spirit world transcend and supersede the laws of the physical/material world. Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). In other words, what is impossible under the laws of the physical/material world, is not only possible, but is easily accomplished under the laws of the spiritual world.
As Spirit-filled Christians, we are unique beings insofar as we inhabit two spheres and possess citizenship in two very different worlds. We are in the world but not of it (John 17:14,18). We are, at once, citizens of the country of our birth and citizens of the kingdom of heaven (Phil. 3:20). And as dualistic beings, we are governed by the laws of the world that we primarily identify with at any given time.
Take Jesus as an example: he was confronted on a daily basis with situations that were considered incurable or impossible under the laws of the physical/material world. And in each instance he had to choose whether to live and act according to the laws of the spiritual world (where nothing is too hard and anything is possible) or the laws of the physical/material world (where poverty, sickness and death are part and parcel of human existence).
He alluded to this constant choice when he said, “Most assuredly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner … I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:19,30).
A dead end or a new beginning
On one occasion Jesus and his disciples encountered a funeral procession outside the village of Nain. The deceased was a young man, the only son of a much loved widow. Jesus made his way through the large crowd of mourners and approached the grieving mother. When he saw her, he had compassion on her and said, “Do not weep.”
Rather than accepting the sentence of death as final and irrevocable like everyone else in the crowd, Jesus chose, in that moment, to identify with the world of his Heavenly Father where all things possible and miracles are a regular occurrence. He chose the world of Spirit, with its limitless possibilities, over the world of material form, with its poverty, sickness and death.
Living and acting according to the laws of the spiritual world, he halted the procession, placed his hand on the coffin, and said to the deceased, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” Remarkably, the one who a moment before had been dead, sat up and began to speak! And Jesus, the funeral-interrupter and the death-destroyer, presented him to his mother in the most poignant of reunions! (Luke 7:11-17).
On another occasion Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Part way through the wedding feast, the hosts ran out of wine – a catastrophe which would have stigmatised the bride’s family for generations. Desperate to avoid such a huge embarrassment, Jesus’ mother asked him to intervene – to do something, anything! Jesus instructed the servants to fill the stone water pots with water, then draw some out and take it to the master of the feast (John 2:1-11).
However, it was not water that the servants took to the master of the feast, but wine! And not just any old wine, but a drop of extraordinary quality! I know a thing or two about winemaking, having worked at a vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula for several years. And I can absolutely assure you, no matter what kind of water you put into a vat, it will never of its own accord turn into wine! The constituency of water and the constituency of wine are completely different; one type of liquid will never naturally morph into the other, no matter how long you leave it to maturate in the barrel.
Quite obviously, this was a miracle – a case of heaven invading the earth; a triumph of Spirit over matter; the world of abundance and beauty superimposing itself upon the world of poverty and shame. The Bible says, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11).
Abraham identified with the spiritual world
Abraham had to choose whether to identify with the physical/material world which declared that he was impotent and his wife was infertile, or the spiritual world which declared that the aging process could be reversed and the strength and vigour of youth could be renewed (Isa. 40:31; Psalm 103:5). The Scripture says,
…those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.
Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Rom. 4:16-21).
The writer to the Hebrews described Abraham as “a stranger and a pilgrim on the earth who desired a better, that is, a heavenly country” (Heb. 11:13-16). Clearly, Abraham chose to identify with the spiritual world rather than Ur of the Chaldeans, or even Hebron in the land of Canaan, and thus became heir to the laws of the kingdom of heaven.
And according to the laws of the spiritual/heavenly world, water can be turned into wine, sickness can be turned into health, death can be turned into life, sorrow can be turned into joy, and curses can be turned into blessings!
Walking in the Spirit is a privilege and a choice. Let us, as redeemed people, choose to live our lives according to the laws of the Spirit.