By Larry White
May 12, 1985
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Lk. 10:21)
When the long awaited Messiah, the holy one of God, came to Israel, he didn't seek out the mighty leaders or the wise counselors or the rulers of the people to deliver to them the riches of the promised kingdom; but sought out the lowliest of the people, mere babes in comparison.
But why was this pleasing to God? Paul deals with this subject in I Corinthians chapter one, and explains that God has ordered his wisdom and clothed it in the garb of what is foolish and base to the world, so that he might destroy the pompous and fleshly wisdom of the world. “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (v.29) The flesh blinds us to the things of the spirit. The realm of the flesh is where to see, hear, touch, and taste are the only reliable things to a person, and where the things of this physical and worldly life are sought after to bring pleasure and immediate gratification to our lusting members; where pride and position and power are vital and precious.
But all of this is diametrically opposed to the spirit. The spirit is unseen. The spiritual mind looks away to the heavenly and eternal things and finds its satisfaction in the truth, and rejoices for the just and right cause to win. It's kindly disposed and finds its gladness in righteousness and the strength of love and mercy. The spiritual mind's own self is not the most important thing in its estimation. Jesus points to the child and says, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat. 19:14) If we would have a spiritual mind and grow into an effective member of Christ's kingdom, here Jesus points for us the way.
We need to take stock of how much the world has had an effect on us. The world hardens us to the things of the spirit. We are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb. 3:13) The hardened, callous, manly, sophisticated, “adult” hearts of the world, can't receive the things of the spirit, they are foolishness to them, (1Cor. 2:14). They are counted as mere fairy tales to their intelligent minds. The soft, meek, humble, and child‑like heart with which we were all born, can receive the things of the spirit. Because this kind of heart can believe and trust and can “see”; it's not blinded by the corruption of the world. (Eph. 4:18) That's why you have the constant prerequisite for someone coming to God, of repentance, of circumcising the heart, of humbling oneself, of becoming “as a little child.” (Mat. 10:15) That's why in the Beatitudes it's the pure in heart that shall see God. That's why the meek will inherit the earth. That's why the poor in spirit have the kingdom of heaven. Only these “little ones” can see. Only the contrite ones can dwell with God.
“For thus saith the high and lofty one that
inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell
in the high and holy place, with him also that
is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive
the spirit of the humble, and to revive the
heart of the contrite ones.” (Isa. 57:15)
Not many wise after the flesh are called, not many mighty of the world. You can't be mighty and “macho” in the world and be of the spirit. The spiritual mind is lowly and meek, humble and contrite. Anger and pride – a big ego – envy and hatred – are works of the flesh and they war against the soul. They snuff out the life of the spirit. But if you walk in the spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
We shouldn't get the idea that the spiritual man is some morally weak, sickly, cowardly and vapid wisp of a man. The truly strong of the world, those who will finally overcome in the end, those who have the real might and courage, are the spiritually minded. Paul said, “For God has not given us the Spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of self‑discipline. (1Tim. 1:7) With this kind of Spirit there is no reason to be timid.
Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Mat. 11:29) When we are truly meek and lowly in heart, and when we understand that God is of this same character, then we begin to see him and our eyes become enlightened; then we begin to see afar off; then we can begin to be spiritually minded.
After Jesus had spoken of the little child in Mark chapter 10, there came a rich, young, ruler asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said to him, “One thing you lack; go and sell all you have, give it to the poor, and come, follow me.” This, he was unwilling to do, and went away sorrowful.
What, in all, was Jesus asking this young man to give up for his sake? Money? Yes, he would have to stop trusting in is wealth and trust only in God. But is that all? Along with his money would go his power, his pride, and his position in the world. He would have to give up the world. Jesus is asking him to become a little child again, to give up all his manly, mature, sophisticated, social standing among his peer group and put his trust in God.
To be in the spirit, that's what we have to give up also.
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. (1Cor. 3:18‑19)
The way we develop and maintain a spiritual mind and godly attitude is by submitting ourselves to God. We let his word have its purifying and purging effect on our lives and hearts, humbling ourselves and placing ourselves under his mighty hand, and trustingly obeying his commands. We give up the world, and more and more as we grow in understanding, we see with the eyes of Jesus, and we take our stand along his side, taking up our cross and sharing in the sufferings of Christ. We set our affections and goals in heaven, for there is our exceeding and great reward.