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The mind says, "I think ...."
The will says, "I can" or "I can't."
The emotions say, "I feel ...."
The flesh says, "I desire ...."
The conscience says, "I believe that ...."
The spirit (for the Believer) says, "I should or should not do ...."
One day I came home from a long, hard, day of counseling. My wife had fixed some dinner and set it out on the counter. I got my plate, filled it with food, and sat down before the TV to eat. A program came on the TV and there was a board meeting about the show.
The mind / intellect said, "You are a counselor.
You can handle this."
The will said, "You can cut this off any time you want."
The emotions said, "This is quite exciting."
The flesh said, "This is stimulating."
The conscience said, "I believe this may be wrong to watch."
The spirit said, "You shouldn't be watching this."
Some twenty minutes later, I found myself still watching the ungodly program in spite of the fact that I believed that it was wrong and there was the voice of the spirit saying that I should not watch it. For twenty minutes, I allowed the enemy to control my life. Finally, I thought, "Stop!" "I have had enough." "Holy Spirit, I know that I should not be watching this program." "I commit myself to do whatever you would have me do." "Holy Spirit, what would you have me to do?" Immediately, the Holy Spirit spoke to me in my spirit saying, "Go study such and such in the Word." Since I had already committed myself to obey the Spirit, it was easy to turn off the TV and do what the Spirit had directed. VICTORY.
God did not create us to live by our will-power, mental-abilities, or emotions! "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). What we can do and should do is to commit our will to His will and act in faith upon His power working in us. Another verse that demonstrates this principle is: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). We must always submit before we attempt to resist.
For the unbeliever, his spirit is dead to the things of God and has no positive influence. See: The Most Important Decision. However, the Believer's spirit is alive to hearing from Holy Spirit of God and not subject to the powers of the enemy. However, a new Believer may be "weak" in the spirit allowing the others on the board to dominate. The Holy Spirit primarily speaks to the Believer through the spirit. Of course the Holy Spirit may also stir the conscience as well. The Holy Spirit may also speak to us through the Word, godly spiritual authorities, other Believers, prayer, dreams, and visions.
The Word says that we are
to test the spirits (ref.) and bring every thought
captive (ref.). One way to test a thought
is to simply add the phrase "in the name of Jesus" (ref.).
For example: "I am going to be depressed in the name of Jesus."
This sounds utterly ridiculous! It is obvious that the thought about
being depressed is not from God, but from the enemy. Another way
to test the spirits is to compare what we are hearing with the Word of
God (ref.). Of course this also requires that
we have a knowledge of the Word (ref.). One should
also consult with the godly spiritual authority over them (ref.).
Another way to test what we are hearing is to pray and ask God. Generally
if there is peace, the thought is good (ref.).
God did not make us to be robots! He has given us a free will. Think about it ... if God made us like robots, he could simply program everyone to love Him. Would you want a robot that went around saying, "I love you ... I love you .... I love you ..."? The Bible is quite clear! "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9). The Greek word translated "shall confess" calls for an act of the will, a decision. Please note the words of Paul, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (II Timothy 1:12). The phrase "that which I have committed" implies without question that Paul made a decision to commitment his life to Jesus as his Lord.
Some men have suggested that God's grace is irresistible; however, this false belief negates man responsibility! The concept of "irresistible grace" is a deception of the enemy to keep people from a making decision for Jesus and to keep true Believers from sharing the Gospel with others would make a decision. Luke records, " And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house" (Luke 19:5). Zacchaeus had to make a decision at that point to either obey Jesus as his Lord or to resist. He could have thought, "Who does this man think he is telling me what to do." Instead, Aacchaeus made a decision to obey Jesus. Look at what Jesus said in response, "And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham" (Luke 19:9).
When the eunuch asked about being baptized, Luke records, "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). "If thou believest" is a decision, a choice. Believing is always a conscious decision. Sometimes people tell me that they have always believed is Jesus. FALSE! At some point in time they may have made a decision to believe and still believe, but they have not always believed. Luke also records Paul's witnessing to king Agrippa. "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" (Acts 26:28). The phrase "Almost thou persuadest" involves a decision which Agrippa was unwilling to make. The choice was his.
When a rich young man came to Jesus and asked him
what he must do to have eternal life, Jesus responded, " ... If thou wilt
be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me" (Matthew 19:21).
The young man was unwilling to obey because he had great wealth and just
walked away. Is there something that has
kept your from making a decision to make Jesus your Lord?
Today is the day of salvation! Today you can turn away from whatever
has kept you from making that decision. Jesus can become your Lord
today. The Holy Spirit will come to live
inside of you and give you direction within your spirit.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). return ^
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" ( II Corinthians 10:5). return ^
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17). return ^
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:16-17). return ^
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). return ^
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Hebrew 13:17). return ^
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). return ^
"Bringing Every Thought Captive, Vol. I" by Basil Frasure, Ph.D.