For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” (1 Corinthians 2:11).
As Brenda and I traveled to Florida recently we began discussing things we would need to do soon after returning home. We found ourselves beginning a sentence, then having the other person answer it before the first speaker had even named the primary object or subject which was under discussion. After three or four exchanges we broke out laughing, amused that we were so much in tune with the other that we could immediately complete each other’s thoughts, even when they represented a total change of subjects. I guess that is one benefit to having celebrated a golden anniversary.
On reflection however, we agreed that this is about more than lengthy marriages. Is it not God’s intention that his people be so united in spirit with him, with Christ, and with one another, that communication becomes smooth and simple? Is that not what Paul taught when he commanded, “Be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement” (1 Corinthians 1:10)? And again, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
I believe that the most profound passage in the Bible on the subjects of inspiration and revelation may well be 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. In this wonderful text the apostle traces the mystery of the gospel from the mind of God (7), to the Holy Spirit (10-11) to inspired writers and preachers (12-13). But notice especially verse 14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” One cannot communicate effectively with God until his spirit has become attuned to the Spirit of God.
I use several different computers and devices in my work and travels. Thanks to the marvel known as “the Cloud,” I am able to work on the same document on my office computer in Alabama, my KBC laptop in Khulna, or my iPad in a hotel room wherever I may be. I can do that because those different machines are synchronized via the internet. What one “sees” they all can “see.” I may start a journal at home, add to it from my iPad in Kathmandu, Nepal, and then add still more using my laptop in Khulna, Bangladesh. At all times the document is complete and reads exactly the same from each device and from any location.
That may be an acceptable allegory for Christian unity and for our fellowship with divinity. If our spirits are synced together properly we have wonderful understanding and harmony. But if my spirit is significantly different from that of other Christians, we will inevitably face difficulties and may end up divided.
The ultimate failure of synchronizing spirits is expressed in these words, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).
The question is often asked, “Why can we not all understand the Bible alike?” This is not difficult. The answer is plain. Those whose spirits are not godly (that is, like God’s Spirit) cannot understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). It is impossible for one whose mind is focused on material things and self to understand God’s will. They are mutually incompatible.
Fellowship with God and unity among Christians both depend upon a transformation of spirit. It is only when we have received Christ’s Spirit that we are truly his (Romans 8:9-10). But if we have his Spirit (which includes the idea of acquiring his nature) we are in harmony with God and with one another. And that must be our goal.