1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I think the NIV does its readers a disservice by translating this as “the man without the Spirit.” The Japanese sticks with the more literal, “a natural person,” as in, the way we were born. We tend to get all defensive when we’re told we don’t have something, but Paul makes it clear we all start with a level playing field. The whole point of this verse is that it takes the help of God’s Spirit for anyone to grasp things that are of God’s Spirit, so we had better be humble about it. Any time we find we are not understanding what God is saying, we need to ask for the help of the Spirit. Even someone who has been baptized in the Holy Spirit is often tempted by the devil to think of things from a strictly materialistic, humanistic viewpoint. That will always lead to our misunderstanding what’s really going on. We can’t say, “Well, I’ve got the Spirit now, so I can understand everything.” We all need to grow in our sensitivity to the Spirit, learning better and better how to hear Him and allow Him to control us. We shouldn’t be surprised at all when other people don’t have a Biblical world view, but simply pray for the Spirit to help them, all the while being careful that we aren’t deceiving ourselves.
This certainly applies to me! Because I have quite a background in the Bible, I tend to think I always know what’s right. How foolish! I too need to be active in my submission to the Holy Spirit, asking and allowing Him to illuminate my heart and mind. Right now I’m at a gathering where almost everyone else is not yet a Christian, but the Lord has allowed Cathy and me to witness to them over the years. I can’t assume they’ll understand anything I say about God, so I need to ask and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me to touch their hearts. They do see me as a man of God, which is a big help, but they have no foundation for real understanding, and so need revelation from the Spirit. The couple we talked with after dinner last night believes in spiritual healing, but they don’t know the Healer, and so are still walking in deception. I don’t know what opportunities the Lord will give me today, but tomorrow morning I’ll be leading a memorial service for the children who have already died from the families in this group (The Japan Cockayne Syndrome Network). I do that each year, and several people have really had their hearts prepared, I think. However, I cannot save a hair on my head, much less someone else’s eternal soul, so I’ve got to let the Holy Spirit use me to do His work. If I will do that, there’s nothing He can’t do.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I have such trouble with stupid pride! Help me indeed be fully submitted to You and Your Spirit, so that I may be fully useful to You in accomplishing Your will for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!