“And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven." (1 Corinthians 15:49) God created man in His image. He made him with a soul and spirit so that we could function in two realms: natural and spiritual. We see in Genesis 2:7 that God formed man from dust and then breathed into him. Thus, we have dust as the soul life and the breath of God as the spirit life. Adam's sin of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil brought death to his spirit. (Genesis 2:17) With a dead spirit, we are unable to function the way God intended. That is why Jesus, the Word incarnate, came to earth. He came to redeem and restore what Adam lost. When we repented of our sins and asked Jesus to be our personal Savior and Lord, we became a "new creation" and the Spirit of God took up residence in our spirits.
Look at John 3 and read about what Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee searching for truth. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless He is born of water and the Spirit." (Verse 5) Jesus was saying we should develop the nature of Christ through both our natural and spiritual senses. And, according to Romans 8:29, we are "predestined to be conformed to the likeness (image) of His Son..." Not only are we predestined to be like Jesus, but the body of Christ is to be built up "until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:13)
How do we reach the fullness of Christ? It seems we are more comfortable in the soul life than in the spirit life. That spirit life must be nurtured for us to grow and attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. The nurturing occurs as we abide in the presence of the Lord and submit our wills to His will. God has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us, so it is important that we practice listening to His voice. Our spiritual capacity grows as we make a commitment to trust the Lord and His working in our lives and are obedient to follow His instructions.
We must make a commitment to put the Lord first and seek Him in our daily lives. Brother Lawrence knew how to do this. He became an expert at connecting with the Holy Spirit amid his daily activities. He called it practicing the presence of the Lord. He wrote, "In all things, we should act toward God with the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly and imploring His assistance in our affairs just as they happen." Brother Lawrence continues: "I am aware of my obligations to love God in all things."
Our challenge is to live with Christ as the center of our lives. Let us pray the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3:16-17. "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."
Joan E. Mathias