By Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin
In a time when people are searching for answers, children of God can rest assured of getting the right answers. While others turn to false religions, psychics, or friends for guidance, the Spirit of God will lead us. But in order to be led by the Spirit, we must learn to be more spirit conscious.
To understand this more fully, let’s examine these scriptures:
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." —Romans 8:14
"The Spirit [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." —Romans 8:16
"The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." —Proverbs 20:27
According to these scriptures, we Christians can expect God to enlighten us—to guide us—by our spirit. Many times, though, we seek guidance by some means other than the way God said we should. When we do, we get into trouble.
For instance, sometimes we judge God’s leading by being conscious of what our physical senses tell us. But God doesn’t say that He will guide us through our physical senses. The Bible does not say that the body of man is the candle of the Lord.
We judge things going on around us from a mental standpoint too. We endeavor to use only our human reasoning as guidance. But God does not say He will guide us through our mentality. The Bible does not say that human reasoning is the candle of the Lord.
No, the Word says that the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. God will guide us and enlighten us through our spirit.
Living Betwixt Two
We can better understand how God leads us and guides us through our spirit, after we first understand the fullness of man, particularly the dimension called the spirit man. According to First Thessalonians 5:23, man is a spirit; he has a soul; and he lives in a physical body.
Jesus said in John 4:24 that God is a Spirit, and Genesis 1:26–27 says that man is made in the likeness of God. So man must of necessity be a spirit. It’s important to know the spirit part of man is eternal. Even when the physical body of man is dead and in the grave, the spirit lives on. We can see that through Paul’s writing to the Philippians.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
According to this passage, Paul is going to live whether he is in the body or out of the body. If he abides, or lives in the flesh, he can teach the church at Philippi and be a blessing to them. That would be needful for them, Paul says, but it would be far better for him to depart and be with Christ. So, we can see here that Paul was actually saying, “I am going to live somewhere, either here in the body, or I am going to depart and be with Christ.”
But who or what is going to depart?
Paul said, “I am going to depart.” He wasn’t talking about his body. His body was not going to depart. Paul was talking about the inward man—the spirit man—who lives inside the body.
Now some cults teach that when a man dies, he no longer exists. Others say that when a man dies, he is in “soul sleep.” Still others teach reincarnation, saying that the spirit does depart—but it comes back as a cow, a dog, or as someone else. The Bible does not teach any of this.
Stay with the Word of God and it will solve your questions along this line. Through his writings to the Philippians, Paul told us where we Christians go when we die, saying, “I am going to depart. I am going to be with the Lord, which is far better.” (I like that. He didn’t just say it’s going to be better there, he said it would be far better!)
The Real You
Paul preached the same truth and taught the same precept to all the churches. Let’s look at Second Corinthians chapter 4 to see what he taught the Church at Corinth:
2 CORINTHIANS 4:16
16 . . . but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Here we see that man is more than a body. There is an inward man [spirit], and there is an outward man [body]. The outward man is not the real you. The outward man is only the house in which you live. The inward man is the real you. The inward man never grows older. He is renewed day by day. The inward man is a spirit man.
So then, how important is it to be conscious of the spirit man? Well, keep in mind our introductory texts. Romans 8:14 says, “. . . as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Then verse 16 gives us a little insight into the leading of the Spirit of God: “The Spirit [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” In other words, the Spirit of God bears witness with the spirit of man. And Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. . . .”
According to these scriptures God will guide us through our spirit; therefore, it’s extremely important that we become more conscious of this dimension of man.
The Reborn Spirit
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “. . . Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Nicodemus, being natural, could only think naturally. So he said, “. . . How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (v. 4).
But Jesus was not talking about a physical birth. He clarified His words for Nicodemus saying, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth.
The part of man that is born again is his spirit. Man’s spirit receives eternal life—the life of God and the nature of God. It is man’s spirit that is made a new creature in Christ.
Speaking of the Heart
Paul calls man’s spirit “the inward man,” and Peter calls man’s spirit “the hidden man of the heart.”
1 PETER 3:4
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
In many instances when the Bible speaks of the heart, it is speaking of the spirit. This is the real man. In the New Testament, wherever the word “heart” is used, substitute the word “spirit” and you will have a clearer understanding of what the Bible is talking about. It will help you in your faith to think this way.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This passage is talking about the inward man too. It couldn’t be talking about the outward man because when you are born again and you become a new creature, you do not receive a new body. The outward man is just like it was before. For example, if you were bald before you were born again, you are still bald afterwards. If you had brown eyes before, you still have brown eyes. The outward man does not change. You do, however, have to do something with the outward man. First, you discover from the Bible what God wants you to do with the outward man—and then you do it.
But God does something with the inward man. He makes the man on the inside a new man in Christ, a new creature — a new creation.
The Proper Order
Paul writes in First Thessalonians 5:23, “. . . I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless. . . .” Notice that Paul began with the inside, the innermost part of man—the heart of his being, which is his spirit—and moved to the outside. Yet most people misquote this verse, saying, “ . . . body, soul, and spirit . . .” That’s because they are more body conscious than spirit conscious. Natural things are more real to them than spiritual things, so they put physical things first. But if we are going to be led by the Spirit of God, we must become more spirit conscious, or we will miss His leading.
Many years ago, I received a revelation of this and I set out to become more spirit conscious. At first, I would say this out loud to myself: I am a spirit being. I have a soul. And I live in a body. Saying that helped my faith, because faith is of the spirit, or the heart. Looking at it like that helped me to grow spiritually.
I’m sorry to say this, but most people are more body conscious than spirit conscious. And some are more mental conscious, because they live more in the mental realm. But I encourage you to put your spirit first. Yes, you possess a mind and you live in a body. But realize that you are a spirit being and that you became a new creation created by God in Christ Jesus. Then as you become more spirit conscious (more conscious of the inward man), you will find it much easier to be led by the Spirit of God.