In my last post I talked about how Jesus functioned as a man and focused in on two key verses in a section of Philippians.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, …13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:5, 13 (NKJV)
Two important questions arising from this are,
- What did this look like in practice?
- Can we do the same thing?
Below are some verses from the Gospels that show an aspect of how this worked in Jesus life.
8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?” Mark 2:8 (NKJV) 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?” Luke 5:22 (NKJV) 46 But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Luke 8:46 (NKJV) 47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, Luke 9:47 (NKJV) 15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. John 6:15 (NKJV)
In the above verses Jesus was aware of things beyond His reasoning. The first verse tells us explicitly shows that He was aware within His spirit of what people were thinking and the rest describe the same process. If Jesus could function this way it still leaves open the question, what does it means for us? Can we function in a similar manner? Yes we can if we, like Jesus, are looking to and depending on the same Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This does not mean we can go around ‘reading people’s minds.’ It does mean as we learn to pay attention to the Holy Spirit we can hear what He is revealing about people and circumstances. This is what Jesus did. Another less obvious example is Jesus selection of the first 12 apostles.
12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Luke 6:12-13 (NKJV)
61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. John 6:61-64 (NKJV)
What is of interest in the two passages above is that while bible study aids do not cross reference them they are intimately connected passages. In the first Jesus spent a night in prayer before selecting the 12 apostles from among His larger group of disciples. Implied in the text is that He heard from His Father in making His choice. We find in the John passage that Jesus was aware in His Spirit (He ‘knew in Himself’) that what His disciples were thinking and there motivations. We also know from verse 64 that when He selected the 12 in the Luke passage above He knew then that Judas would betray Him. He invested His life in Him anyway.
Having provided examples of how the Holy Spirit worked in Jesus, can He work the same way in us? He did in Paul. Look at the verses below.
13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. 2 Corinthians 2:13 (NKJV)
5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:5 (NKJV)
In the first verse Paul was aware in his spirit that something was amiss and it produced a change in action from him. In the second verse he not only was aware of something in his spirit but the Holy Spirit revealed to him something he could not naturally know by showing him something in another geographic location. There is no honest way to interpret this verse otherwise even if it offends our minds or theology. While not physically there in a dream or vision, the text does not say, Paul saw what was happening in another location.
So, Jesus was and is God, Paul was a great apostle. Where does that leave us? Can we operate in this way? While I have functioned in some of these ways and know many others who have and do, we never establish doctrine or the ‘rightness’ of something based on our experiences. It must be established in scripture. The call to function in this way is right there in the New Testament if we have eyes to see. What did Paul tell us?
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (NKJV) 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:18 (NKJV) 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (NKJV)
I won’t address it in detail but in Romans 8:14-16 in more literal translations there is a differentiation, as there is in Greek, between children and sons (those who are more spiritually mature, this is not a reference to gender). We are told here that all of us as believers can be led by the Holy Spirit, which is what Jesus and Paul learned to do. Luke was clear about the process with Jesus.
40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40 (NKJV)
So, not only can we function to some measure in the same manner as Jesus and Paul, Paul encourages us to do so.
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NKJV)
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV)
The context is best appreciated by reading 1 Corinthians 12-14 as a whole. We are called to operate in spiritual gifts with love as our motivation. Operating in spiritual gifts is not a sign of maturity. The Corinthian believes were the most immature we find in the New Testament and seemed to function more than others in spiritual gifts. Paul didn’t tell them to avoid spiritual gifts so they could mature. He exhorted them to pursue them more diligently while at the same time exhorting them to pursue love – the more deeply we walk in love the greater our maturity.
So, how do we do this? There are some important pieces. Based on the scriptures we choose to believe it is available. We then seek intimacy with Jesus and ask Him to move in and through us. We find others and ask them to share with and mentor us. We find groups of people who function this way and engage with them in a meaningful way to see His church further established in the earth. Lastly, we by faith walk in the Spirit on an adventure with Jesus!
Since I started this referencing the Man Christ Jesus I encourage you to listen to the song below by Tim Reimherr from IHOP.
The Beauty of this Man by Tim Reimherr from IHOP