Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Countless times the Bible makes it clear that there are things of the flesh and things of the spirit; and that God wants us to be spiritual people.
There are joys of the flesh, for example, and joys of the spirit. The two are as disparate as night and day. There is absolutely no relation between what the flesh considers joy and what the spirit considers joy. Some preachers would want us to believe contrariwise, but no, there is no Biblical basis for that.
You cannot compare the joy of a Christian who is walking in spiritual victory, totally free from the vagaries of the flesh, the world and the Devil with one who is rejoicing in the hollow delight of owning material, or physical things. Those are two types of joys that are as different as night is from day. Last Sunday I was preaching in church about walking in freedom and I made the statement: “There is not a greater joy for a young man than to be able to walk down the street and be free of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes!” I had recently posted an article about this subject on my blog and it was still fresh in my mind.
After the service a young man who had recently joined our church came up to me and Pastor Joshua as we were chatting and said, “Can I see you aside, dear pastors?”
We obliged and he proceeded to tell us with tears about how he was living a life of fornication with a girl he was secretly “engaged” to. He had been saved for a long time but apparently he had never met with the power of God. Today he felt that God had spoken to him and he wanted to repent.
I looked at the young man and marveled at the grace of God. This young man lived a good life and from what we knew about him he was self-sufficient in every respect. He was capable of living an independent life if he wanted to. There were many young men like him running in the streets, free from any moral obligation. But this young man’s spirit had a hunger for something spiritual. At that time he did not need a new car or a green card to the U.S. All he wanted was the spiritual inheritance that God promised Abraham and his seed. He wanted to be set free in his spirit! He wanted to walk in spiritual victory.
The kind of joy found in the spiritual world is something that neither the flesh nor a worldly mindset can understand. Unfortunately, many Christians today have a worldly mindset.
But we need to wake up in the Spirit and stop mixing the two. If God blesses us with worldly stuff, we should go ahead and thankfully enjoy it (without forgetting the poor, of course); but we should not for one moment think that that is our spiritual inheritance! Our spirits crave after, and actually need something else, something not of this world. We crave after spiritual things.
Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:14-15, which he wrote under the anointing of the Holy Spirit: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”
What is born of flesh is flesh, and what is born of Spirit is spirit. We are born of the Spirit of God.