Monday, November 17, 2014


"Love not the world, neither the...things...that are in the world." 1 Jn 2:15
"Know His will and approve the...things...that are more excellent. Rom 2:18 
"But the natural man receiveth not the...things...of the Spirit." 1 Corth, 2:14 
"Set your affections on...things...above not on the...things of the earth. Col. 3:2 
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the...things...of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the...things...of the Spirit." Rom. 8:5
"Let no man glory in man, for all...things...are yours," 1 Corth. 3:21 

After writing the last verse mentioned above Paul made a partial list of the things that were theirs. [The Corinthian Christians]  Paul/ Apollos/ Cephas/ World/ Life/ Death/ All things present/ All things to come..were on the list.

But I'm a little bit confused. What are the "things" of the world/earth/flesh as opposed to the "things" of the Spirit? Where do I get my list of each? And if "all things" are presently mine as a gift from God, to which list is that referring. What are we to make of all this?

I did a study of the "things" of the world and the "things of the Spirit one time and found something that was a bit surprising to me. It appears to me at least that they are ALL THE SAME THINGS.

During my study I remembered a couple of facts from scripture. One is that the word "world" and the word "flesh" both had a neutral and an evil meaning when used in scripture. The neutral use of words like world/flesh is seen when it is  referring to creation and people. "God so loved the world..." But both can refer to evil as well. "Love not the world..." shows this. 

However, that was not a "thing" in scripture but an "attitude about things." John referred to it as "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life." The key word here is "lust". It is taking some "thing" and using it for an illegitimate purpose. "Self" is that illegitimate purpose.

That brings me to the second point I had to bear in mind and that is "self" is simply independence from God. So any "thing" I use or view independent of who God is, as He reveals Himself to be, is a "thing" of the flesh. But any "thing" I use or view dependent on who God is, as He reveals Himself to be, is a "thing" of the Spirit.

So, here are some lists of mine that illustrate the point I saw in scripture. [A partial list only.]

The "things" of the world list.

My Job
My Marriage
My Recreation
My Food
My Church attendance
My Bible reading

The "things of the Spirit list

My Job
My Marriage
My Recreation
My Food
My Church Attendance
My Bible Reading

Let me explain if I can. My Job, be it law, medicine, home making, or ministry is a thing of the flesh/world OR a thing of the Spirit/heaven DEPENDING ON MY MOTIVE. If it is a way to make money for things I want only or to get my strokes from people if I do well, or to show how good I am at what I do, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is, to me, a way of providing for my own and extending the Kingdom of God and enjoying that Kingdom reality, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My marriage. If it is a "thing" that gets me sex, or security, or love, or comfort, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is to me, a "thing" that pictures Christ and His Church relationship, or a way to be a loving and gracious resource to another person, or a way of enjoying Kingdom reality, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My recreation. If it is a "thing" that shows off my abilities, or to get the praise of men, or to prove I'm better than anyone else, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is a "thing" that enables me to keep the Temple of God fit, or to accomplish personal/team goals that are healthy, or to enjoy a respite from work, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My Church attendance. If it is a way for me to get acceptance from people or God, or a way to check off a list that shows I'm better than those who don't attend, it is a "thing" of the flesh/world___you see the point___don't you?

So in reality, every "thing" I do whether attending church, preaching sermons, motorcycle riding, making money, reading my bible, eating with friends, has the potential of being a "thing of the Spirit" or a "thing of the world." Since "all things" are mine according to Paul the Apostle maybe the only question is why I'm doing it, not what I'm doing. That's the determining factor of its nature whether good or evil, flesh or Spirit, earthy or heavenly. 

So I'm just celebrating the reality of God as He has revealed Himself to be in every "thing" in life.

WOW, that means the lists can be forgotten as a standard of behavior and all of life is spiritual. It's my motive/heart in what I do that makes it evil or good [the issues of life thing].......I wonder if this applies to blogging??

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


Thanks again!

Even Paul told the Colossians the very same thing in his letter to them 3:17, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,giving thanks to God the Father through Him".

Bob Cleveland said...

Or as Proverbs 16:2 says: All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Steve Miller said...

Thanks Paul. If I am right I believe you once described this as Jesus as the hub in a wheel and all the "things" if you will are the spokes flowing to and from the hub. He is not the top of a list but as Romans 11:36 says, " For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever."


Debbie Kaufman said...

Good post Paul. I was raised to enjoy all things on this earth that are good and not sin. To close oneself off creates a religious fanatic. A nut if you will for lack of a better term and the fact that I am pretty blunt. :) It also creates a grouch. None of the above are too appealing.