Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Tale of Two Realities

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way-in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

If you have ever traveled outside the country, you know there can be a distinct difference in culture, especially if they speak a foreign language. Over on Kingdom Bloggers I wrote about one of my favorite verses a few days ago. It had to do with the reality of the new man living inside the old man.

I'd like to take that thought a lot further in this blog. There is always a spiritual reality, and a natural reality. The Tale of Two Cities is like that. There are the unseen and the seen by faith realities in life. One is temporal, and one is eternal. Here is an example:

This is Elisha's Reality:
1 Kings 6:15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

This is Elijah's Reality:

1 Kings 6:16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

In the natural we will always have trouble. our body is going to die as a result of sin (Romans 6:23). our heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and and eve if we are close to God, we will have trials (1 Peter 1:6) that shape our faith.

There are many examples of two spiritual realities: one seen, and one unseen.

Mark 8:33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

The disciples must have been standing there, jaws hanging.

Within our own body, there are two spiritual realities: one seen, and one unseen. There is the one that needs to eat food, and the one that needs to eat heavenly food. There is the receptor of water and the receiver of Living Water, the regenerate spirit.

In this world we have exalted knowledge (knowing stuff) to an all time high. Educational institutions claim that knowledge is power. We have all sorts of emotional tools, teaching and understanding, yet we still can't get along. We have, for the most part, placed God after calling the doctor, and using the information of social workers.

Here is how that reality is working?
Romans 1:28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Our natural mind, our feelings, and all our senses we created to give us information about our surroundings while recording information for the future. They were not designed to run our lives. It is interesting that critical thinking and problem solving skills often take precedence over our spiritual reality.

Even our DNA, as Mike Manthei said this past Sunday, is a record of our generational blessings and curses. (Exodus 34:7)

Our reality, and our spiritual reality are not the same. In fact they are at war. The knowledge of God and the wisdom of mankind will always be at war. This is too often expressed in some fashion that somehow points to the fact that the sin nature and the spirit man are somehow linked; they are not. The new man lives within the human body. However; they are not linked anymore than the cabbage you had for dinner last night is.

What is the spiritual reality? It is one in which the Father is at work, and our job is to see what He is doing, and do it. (John 5:17) God is always at work in the unseen realms (Hebrews 11:1) creating an orchestra of encounters with his beloved creation. For those that yield to Him, he has created good works for them to walk into. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Our spiritual reality is to live (by faith) in the things that God has promised us. The word of God (logos) makes many promises. However; the only promises that will be fulfilled are those that are truly rehma (Rhema is the eternal and spiritual understanding of God's will.) and we received them by faith.

Living out our spiritual reality is quickly doomed by the lack of faith. It is further in trouble when we try to make something that God did once, a formula for spiritual success time and time again. I always liked the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Religion seems to be doing the same thing over and over expecting the same results. (More on religion very soon!)

It is important to note, our faith doesn't give God power or is faith power in itself. The Holy Spirit is the messenger of God's power as he transmits across the power line of faith.


photogr said...

" The Holy Spirit is the messenger of God's power as he transmits across the power line of faith."

I had always felt the the Holy Spirit was the intecessor for God with us not only in prayer but also sending messages from God.

Our bodies will eventually die of course because the flesh is sinful and it stops working but not because of sin.

Naturally, no one of the flesh deserves the mercy of God but He so loves us as His children He will forgive us if we change our hearts and follow Him through Jesus.

What better hope in this life if we have faith that our Jesus will some day come to call us followers up to the Kingdom of God. Lets look at David, Moses, Paul,and Noah plus others. Not your ideal Saints but God loved them and changed their hearts for His purpose. That can happen to us too if only we would listen and take notice.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tracy said...

Interesting thoughts.

Sometimes I've pondered the whole two realties thing. Looked at passages such as the one you bring up here from 1 Kings 6 and wondered what's really going on around me. I regularly pray that God would open my eyes to the spiritual reality so that I would act accordingly; that rather than getting all upset at people in some situations, that I'd have insight into the spiritual reality and where my real enemy lies.

Appreciate your point about the fact that faith is not power in itself, nor does our faith give God power.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

I know this wasn't the thrust of your post but I do want to comment I think, though not sure, I disagree that the old man and new man are totally different. Though we are radically transformed, practically speaking I do think there is still at least some link between the old and new. I definitely want there to not be and I understand why people say there isn't, and maybe I've only seen the cases where people aren't totally changed. That's why I say God started a work in us when we met Jesus, but he didn't polish it off right then and there.

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