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Up to this point I have emphasized the authority of the spirit and its heart (spiritual mind) over the soulish, or carnal mind. The soul and its mind ought properly to be the servant of the spirit. When the soul's mind does not understand the things of the spirit, it tends to stage a revolt and take over control. It restructures the revelation of the spirit to fit its own mold (understanding).
This has been recognized by many in the past, particularly in the Pentecostal movement of a century ago. In fact, they became so fearful of the mind that they downplayed education in order to keep it ignorant. Sermon after sermon told the people to "shut down the mind," rather than to subject the mind to the spirit. For a long time they refused to set up Bible schools, because they feared learning.
Some went so far as to discourage reading the Bible, as if it were harmful and even evil. "Just pray and get your own revelation," they said. "Don't eat yesterday's manna." In so doing, they cut themselves off from the true education that the soul desperately needs in order to defer to the mind of the spirit. You see, the spirit will not subject the soul; the soul must submit to the spirit.
The soul is a servant. A strong servant is more useful than a weak servant, or employee. An educated servant is more useful than an ignorant servant. Proper education is good for the soul. Truth is not harmful. What is harmful are the "traditions of men," which are the soul's limited perception, beliefs, and understandings of the word, which, when not subject to the spirit, torture the word into arriving at a preconceived conclusion.
When God created Adam a living soul (Gen. 2:7). He was part of the material and mental creation that God pronounced "very good." The biblical account of creation forms the foundation of all Bible philosophy. It runs contrary to Greek philosophy, which claimed that matter was evil and that it was created by the "demiurge," a lesser god that was evil (i.e., Satan). Thus, the Greeks were always trying to escape from the body and return to the purely spiritual form in the heavens.
But the Bible says no such thing. Matter was created good, because a good God created it--not the devil. Secondly, He did not create it out of nothing; He created it out of spirit and out of Himself. Matter is only disguised spirit. If you think of spirit as water, matter is ice--frozen spirit that has been given structure. Matter is not merely a form of spirit; it is spirit with form. Thus, in Gen. 2:7 Adam was "formed"--like all of creation, shaped by the Master's hand. God used spirit as the building blocks of creation, gave them form, and called each thing by its appropriate name.
But sin distorted it and caused the body and soul to revolt against the spirit. The purpose of history and the goal of the Kingdom of God is to bring all things back into subjection to God, who is spirit. This is accomplished in three phases depicted by the three feasts of Israel: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
Passover justifies us; Pentecost sanctifies us, and Tabernacles glorifies us by giving us an immortal, glorified body. It does not eradicate matter as evil; it glorifies matter, bringing heaven back into the earth, so that His will can be done in earth as it is in heaven. The great example is Jesus in His brief transfiguration in Matt. 17 and in His permanent condition after His resurrection.
The good purpose of matter and also the soul (mind) is to provide structure for the things of the spirit. Think of the spirit as water. In order to make it useful, it needs something to give it structure, whether we turn it to ice or give it form by putting it into a glass, or channeling it within the banks of a river. Structure is not evil--it is useful for spiritual purposes. When it ceases to be useful--that is, when it begins to limit and cramp the spirit's purpose--it ought to be discarded in favor of a different structure.
So also is the case with a denominational structure. If it is subject to the spirit, it is useful for the Kingdom of God. But when the spirit becomes cramped and hampered by that structure, it ought to be discarded in favor of something else. Consider Israel in the wilderness. They were forbidden to build houses in the wilderness. Instead, they lived in tents, which were flexible and movable. It is not that God wanted them to sleep under the stars, but rather that they would not build permanent structures that prevented their progression toward the Promised Land.
A denominational structure is good if it remains a tent, rather than a permanent house. It must change with the progressive revelation of God. But normally, they set forth creeds, file IRS papers, and construct granite buildings out of fear that their current revelation might be distorted by future generations. They assume it will degenerate--with good reason, no doubt. But the motive is still fear, rather than faith. The very structure that is supposed to protect the denomination from heresy also becomes its prison, preventing the spirit from revealing anything further. They have heard all that they need, and now their ears are closed. It is the equivalent of Israelites building a house by an oasis in the wilderness, where the water is good, and then refusing to leave when the cloud moves on.
There was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived three centuries before Christ. His name was Epicurus. He postulated that all matter and the soul itself was built of tiny particles that could not be reduced or split into anything smaller. He called them atoms (Greek word: atomos). The Apostle Paul refers to him extensively in his writings, but never mentions his name, lest he promote Epicureanism.
Epicurus was correct in his assertion that all things were created from irreducible particles, but he did not believe in spirit. To him, all things were material. He was a classical materialist. He did not understand that matter is spirit that has been given form. Modern scientists proved the existence of small particles of matter, which they called "atoms," using Epicurus' word. The problem is, what they called "atoms" were not really atoms at all, because they were too big. When scientists split the atom into smaller particles, it proved that atoms were not really atoms at all. But now we are stuck with calling these reducible particles "atoms."
In fact, divine atoms are particles of spirit, and they are formed into matter by the power of love. Love shapes spirit and forms creation. Therefore, you are a combination of spirit and love. Many try to do love or act loving, when in reality, love is our being. Many covet the gifts of the spirit in order to do spiritual things, when in reality, we are spirit. Only when our structured actions flow naturally and unrestricted from our being can we manifest divine love and spirit.
How does one come to this place of being? It cannot be done by doing, but by the soul's submission to the spirit. In this way the restriction is removed and you are allowed to be what you are--as God formed you and purposed you to be. When we are filled with all the fullness of God and know how to speak the truth in love, then we will have the power to do the things that Jesus did while He was on earth.