Knowing One Another by the Spirit

Jesus baptism

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Cor 5:16-17, ESV2011)

How often we have heard it said, “Oh, how wonderful it would have been to be with Jesus as He walked the earth 2000 years ago!” There is one thing to remember here, though. We would not have been given the Holy Spirit by which to know Him and, like the Jews of that time, would only know Him and regard Him according to our natural man and not with spiritual eyes to see Him as His Father does. Isaiah prophesied about Him saying, “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Even his own disciple, Nathaniel, said of Jesus, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

Jesus was born into a poor family and grew up in a backwater town in Israel. He was a lowly carpenter’s son, so in the natural He was not highly regarded. It was by the power of the Spirit that people could recognize Him for who He was,  and now we can see Him as He is by the power of His Spirit in us. Many of us have studied the Bible hoping to come to know Jesus in a closer way. Yet without divine revelation we can never know Him after the Spirit. Isaiah prophesied:

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isa 57:15, ESV2011)

Jesus prayed:

“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (Luke 10:21, ESV2011)

Jesus said that we must become as a child in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. We who have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us know Christ after the Spirit, not by our fleshly desires for Him to be what we want Him to be for us. We often hear Him speak to us and some of us have even had Him appear to us in a personal way. Yet, Paul writes that we should have this same spiritual interaction (after the spirit and not after the flesh) when it comes to knowing our fellow saints.

One time some elders in a church I was attending were putting me down to the pastor. This man was different from most pastors I had encountered in my Christian walk. He said to them, “You don’t know Michael as I do, because God has shown me his heart.” Most of us are still a “work in progress” in the hands of the Lord and it is easy for us to be critical of our fellow believers if we only know one another “according to the flesh.” But God knows our final end from the beginning (see Isaiah 46:10). That thing that He has started in us, He has promised to finish! He invites us to pray and ask Him how HE sees and regards those around us who we encounter in our daily lives.

Little David was about to be overlooked by Samuel when the prophet was sent by God to the house of Jessie to choose a new king over Israel. Samuel was about to choose one of David’s big handsome brothers instead of him. David was the youngest son but he had a heart after God that none of His big brothers had. So God said to Samuel:

“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature… For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1Sam 16:7, ESV2011)

In our natural humanity we are drawn to “the beautiful people.” We tend to shun people who are dwarfed or overweight or deformed or socially inept, but God looks on their hearts and invites us to know them as HE does. How quickly we judge and shun someone for their outward appearance or their awkward personality. Or worse, we look on the outward beauty of a person and desire it instead of getting to know them after the Spirit.

Once I was on a church “worship team.” I got to be up front of everyone as we performed. We would often practice a bit before the service and one Sunday morning as I walked into the auditorium, the Lord drew my attention to a deformed young man in a wheelchair who was severely handicapped. The Lord said to me, “What you have done to the LEAST of these you have done unto me.” Right then He was giving me an opportunity to really worship Him by spending time with and showing this person His love. He got so excited when I knelt down by him and sang a simple song to him about the love of Jesus. From then on I have remembered Jesus’ words, “Verily I say unto you, Since you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me… Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

18 comments on “Knowing One Another by the Spirit

  1. Kenneth E Dawson says:

    MIKE : THAT IS A VERY BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT I WILL PRINT THAT ONE AND MAKE IT MY GOAL TO PUT IT INTO ACTION.I HAVE A FRIEND THAT I HAVE KNOWN FOR 54 YEARS AND I RECOGNIZED,BY THE DICTATES OF THIS POST THAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT HIM IN THE FLESH.THANKS FOR YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT TO INSTEAD START TREATING HIM IN GODS SPIRIT.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Kenneth, this is an easy mistake to make. I am glad that what I wrote was a help. May the Spirit give you spiritual sight in this relationship.

      Blessings in Christ, my brother!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written in its simplicity.
    Thank you for the reminder in making us see the beauty of seeing the person through the eyes of God’s Spirit and not the flesh. God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      LCB, thank you for your edifying comment. Our God is a God of mercy and we do well to pray that we may see with the eyes of His Spirit in all these matters. Bless you as you follow the Son,

      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • Amen. I so agree.
        We each are born with the spirit of rebellion, to oppose our Heavenly Father, whether subconsciously or not. Or both, for sometimes our subconscious thinking becomes reality. (What is in our hearts materializes.) He makes it possible in His infinite wisdom, to make us realize how much we need Him in our lives, (He always knocks on the door to our hearts). Our own spirit cries out to Him for unity, clarity, help. In that moment we humble ourselves, and in doing so, in giving Him our heart He begins the transformation, the renewing of our hearts. His Spirit infuses us to see things through His eyes. If we’re honest with ourselves, we are never the same, we can’t be. The truth that was hidden inside us comes to the forefront. In that honesty we see ourselves in need of His assistance, His salvation.
        We see the world in all its complexities. The rebellion from His precepts has destroyed our true self. The world and its actions are conflicting with our discovery of how precious we are to our Heavenly Father. We can only say, ‘thank you’. Ask Him to abide in us, to help us see ourselves, truthfully. To help us to be what He wants us to be, to continue with Him not apart from. To understand we are not alone, with Him anything is possible, in faith.
        His Spirit is light, life itself, truth. Kinder spirits feel drawn to each other and pay it forward. Letting the world see how much our Heavenly Father cares, how much He has changed us by giving us His Spirit to reflect His love by our changed life. ‘Actions speaks louder then words’. That’s what we should see, that spirit of love in each other. Be reminded that no one is perfect, we all need a helping hand. A simple smile goes along way.
        We renew ourselves daily through His word, through prayer, through fellowship, for everyday brings its own challenges. Our spirit is alive through His Spirit in us. A wonderful invitation to follow Him, free to all who sincerely believe in their hearts, there’s Someone bigger, higher then ourselves. Our Creator, our Heavenly Father, our friend, who wants the very best for us.
        He IS Spirit and we worship Him in that Spirit. The spirit of love.
        Thank you Michael, for your inspirational words. Thank you for letting me express the thoughts from my heart (although a bit extended). Blessings always as we continue our journey home. Shalom!

        Like

      • Michael says:

        LCB, You wrote,

        “Our spirit is alive through His Spirit in us. A wonderful invitation to follow Him, free to all who sincerely believe in their hearts, there’s Someone bigger, higher then ourselves. Our Creator, our Heavenly Father, our friend, who wants the very best for us. He IS Spirit and we worship Him in that Spirit.”

        With this I absolutely agree. In Hebrews ch. 8 we read about this very thing, the very nature of the NEW Covenant and how it has replaced the Old Covenant in every way…

        “For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. ​For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND WRITE THEM ON HEIR HEARTS, AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH, EACH ONE HIS NEIGHBOR AND EACH ONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR THEY SHALL ALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST OF THEM TO THE GREATEST. FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TOWARD THEIR INIQUITIES, AND WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.” (Heb 8:8-12, ESV2011)

        All this is possible because God wills it and empowers us with changed hearts and His indwelling Spirit (see Ezek. 36:27), not by our wills, but by His. God sovereignly moved upon me when I was a Catholic heathen, totally ignorant of what the scriptures say about salvation. The pressure of the Holy Spirit pulling me into His kingdom was so great that I finally got to the point where I made an unconditional surrender to God to do whatever He thought was good in my life. It was after that that He opened the eyes of my understanding to see how the scriptures applied to what had been going on. Thank God that the New Covenant is all “I Will…” and not “Thou shalt and thou shalt not…” Like Paul said, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7:18-25, ESV2011)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael, I really enjoyed reading your article now for the third time. 😊 By sharing this beautiful testimony about you singing a song to one of Jesus’ brothers, you proved it that it is often the seemingly little things that count for God the most.

    This other brother, the pastor, who knew you as you really are in God’s view surely had enlightened eyes of the heart. 🕊🌠👁👁🌠❤ He recognized the truth of what I have seen during the last 4 1/2 years that I have known you, my dear brother: You are a God-sent treasure! 💎

    Your sister and friend in Christ, 💓

    Susanne 🙋🏼‍

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Well said, Susanne. Paul wrote, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are…” This was true of the early church when it was led by the Spirit of God. Not so much today. This is why it is so important for us to listen to the Spirit and not look to the status quo for our instruction.

      You have been a blessing to so many of us, Susanne, as well as your family, and proven to be jewel in His crown.💎 I am so glad that He has made us members one of another in His body by His Spirit.💓🕊💓

      “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free [males and females] —and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1Cor 12:12-13, ESV2011)

      ​”The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” (Isa 62:2-3, ESV2011)

      “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. (Rev 3:12, ESV2011)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Patricia W. Orr (Pat) says:

    Thank you for the instructive blog. I pray to know people by the Spirit. I have no scripture for this, but I want to also know myself by the Spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful and insightful, Michael. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Anna, but it is our Lord who has invested so many wonderful teaching experiences in my life as I am sure He has done with you. He deserves all our love and praise. 💓🕊

      Like

  6. Patricia Lelión says:

    Gracias Michael por este bello mensaje, como siempre el Señor enseñándonos a través de ti, eres una gran bendición a mi vida, en estos siete años he aprendido tanto del Señor a través de tu vida y tu testimonio.

    Fénelon dijo que cuando amamos, lo hacemos en Dios y para Dios, ya no por nosotros mismos, amaremos al Señor que está en esa persona, a pesar de todo.

    Hay personas que son difíciles de amar, aún en nuestra familia de sangre y de la fe, pero cuando el amor de Cristo es perfeccionado en nosotros podemos amar con Su amor que todo lo perdona, con ese amor que no ve la fealdad sino el producto final, como tú dices.

    Solo el Señor nos conoce y nos puede dar a conocer a nuestros hermanos y verlos como Él los ve.

    Te quiero, mi hermano, en Cristo Jesús.

    Patricia wrote:

    Thank you Michael for this beautiful message, as always the Lord teaching us through you, you are a great blessing to my life, in these seven years I have learned so much from the Lord through your life and your testimony.

    Fénelon said that when we love, we do it in God and for God, not for ourselves, we will love the Lord who is in that person, in spite of everything.

    There are people who are difficult to love, even in our family of blood and faith, but when the love of Christ is perfected in us we can love with His all-forgiving love, with that love that does not see the ugliness but the final product, as you say.

    Only the Lord knows us and can make us know our brothers and see them as He sees them.

    I love you, my brother, in Christ Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Dear Patricia,

      Thank you for your very encouraging comment. Your quote from Francis Fénelon was very good. What he said reminded me of the story of the infant John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb when Jesus came to see them in His mother’s womb. If Christ is in someone, we should be looking at Him in them and encourage them to let Him manifest His presence in them. Or like Jude wrote,

      “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” (Jude 1:20-21, ESV2011)

      Thank you, dear sister, for sharing our writings on your website and all the work you do in translating them. https://enlaescueladedios.blogspot.com/

      Love in Christ,
      Michael

      Like

  7. Patricia Lelión says:

    Gracias Michael por recordarnos lo de Juan el Bautista en el vientre de su madre, es una maravillosa reflexión al respecto. Amén.

    Para mí es una bendición poder compartir tus escritos y deseo que mis hermanos en Latinoamérica los lean y sean también edificados.

    Abrazo fraternal,

    Patricia

    Liked by 1 person

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