God is a spirit, or “Spirit”. He said, “I am what I am” or similar. We can talk about the spirit of a person as having some inherent characteristic. The human personality is variable in this regard, perhaps showing some strong dominant feature of their character or personality, maybe to the point where we say they are obsessed, and sometimes to the point where we say they are “possessed”.
We can see what the spirit of a television set is, it just sits there and delivers one unchanging thing, pictures and sound. The spirit of a refrigerator is to simply be cold. A motor vehicle delivers movement and transport. These things are fixed and unchanging unless they change by breaking down, wearing out, cease to function or they function inadequately.
Animals have spirit character. A dog barks, eats, poops, bites, digs holes, sheds hair, etc. They can have nice characteristics like faithfulness, akin to love, or they can be dangerous.
So what kind of spirit is God? And what kind of spirit are we? God would appear to be unchanging, to have one inherent characteristic, and that is love. Because we were said to be made in his image, we see various traits of ours ascribed to God. From what we are, we see God as a person with similar traits, depending on what our own traits are, depending on “who” we are.
Because we are such complex and complicated creatures, we can manifest ourselves, or appear to be, many different things, depending on our circumstances, which also vary. Living in a community with others, tends to give some degree of stability, because we are accountable to others, and we tend to operate within some normality, because we want to be a part of whatever “normal” is accepted to be. If we are isolated for some reason, we could tend to wander off on some individual characteristic which may then dominate our being, person, thinking and action.
Depending on the circumstances and the pressure we are under, the spirit that develops and appears as being the core of our operations, may be “good” or “bad”.
When we were separated from God, from his Spirit, we suffered separation anxiety. We did not have him to rely on – we did have our parents, mother, father, who were our human form of “God”, and from whom we derive a lot of our thinking about God and his characteristics. Our spirit develops along the lines of these influences in our development.
So while we attribute to God, human characteristics, is it true? Can we and should we be thinking of God in this way? If he is unchanging, and appears to be love and only love, with all the characteristics that only love can have, why should we ascribe our own lack of love type of spirit to him? Since we have multiple and many characteristics to our spirit, how does this sit with God being only one, and having only one dominant spirit?
Jesus had one dominant spirit, his father’s. But it had to inhabit an earthly, human body. “It”, his Father, had to dwell in the sphere of his earthly existence.
But “it”, or God, is not just some fixed unchanging property, like some element as we find on the periodic table, he is also intelligence, so he is intelligently directed love, or lovingly directed intelligence. Perhaps we could say that this is the property, the core feature, the true identity of LIFE, and therefore the intended design, purpose and destination, of the highest form of created life, US.
The spirit of man, as we find it, is self-obsessed. This is only natural, because “self” is who we are, as given by nature. But this nature, this “spirit” is separated from God who is THE [eternal] Spirit. By nature we find we are not IN the image of God, but outside looking back TO that “lost” image, or somehow that latent image somewhere “inside”us.
Law reinforces that “lost” image, or that defaced image, or that damaged image of God within us. We see ourselves as responsible for the defacing of God, as somehow responsible for all the ills of the world, because we are a part of it, instead of being A-PART from it.
Jesus managed to remain apart from it, even though he was IN part of it, and instead, was tied to God his Father, by his Spirit, which he was in reception of in the form of a dove at his baptism.
This spirit dominated him, even though at the same time, he was subject to the earthly forces of his body and his environment. He chose to dwell in the environment of the one he knew to be his Father, albeit remotely.
Where does this leave us, what kind of spirit are we? What kind of spirit should we be, or could we be? And how could this be?
The Spirit was given at Pentecost, to be freely available to all men. Certainly there were special circumstances of the time, they being to inaugurate the new age, to declare the time had come for all men to return to the living God, to partake of this “new” Spirit, who was freely available by faith in God’s redemption of us because of Christ. Now through the “Spirit of Christ” we have the power of identity with him. The sense of loss, the sorrow, make sense in the light of him showing us who he really is. [and hence who we really are]. It makes possible the reunification with our Godly image, through the reconciliation with God himself in Jesus.
Jesus has become our reconciling Spirit, to join together again those lost elements of ourselves, to turn this complex jigsaw of broken personality back into its intended design as a child of God. This “multiple diverse spirited” person, is to be at one with the one Spirit.
What is the spirit of peace? Surely it is the spirit of perfect harmony, that no piece is out of place, that the puzzle fits together without disharmonious elements causing disruption to its being, that LOVE may be the SPIRIT that drives this entity of creative matter, as it is in submission to God himself. Peace is when love is present. Non-peace is when things other than love are present. Paul said “I, of myself…” He dwelt in futility. We are not to be “of ourselves”, but to be of Him and his Spirit. Not to be created to be of diverse spiritual manifestation, but of singular Spirit manifestation, though at this time it is the “Spirit of Christ”, because we are in these bodies as he was, yet we have the victory he achieved, and the power that love is, to overcome all things.
This is what we should be, this is our inheritance, this is HIS Spirit. – Jealousy, rage, and other such manifestations of man have nothing to do with him, and are simply the focal point of our frustration with the circumstances of our separation from him. Yet we have within this human context, the connectors of parental love, of nurturing, of relationship. In this world, such humanising in a good way sometimes goes astray and causes even more problems as dysfunctional families continue to support the world of non-love, and their offspring suffer from their “earthly inheritance”.
We are not to be of the earthly inheritance. We are not to be the subjects of the kingdom of earthly laws that do nothing other than to confirm our identity as lost ones, embedded with the spirit of death. We are to be subjects of his kingdom of love, embedded with the Spirit of life, and producing the good fruit of life, that others might also have a better chance of gaining true life.
Through Jesus, we have again been given freewill with which to do good, to choose life over death, having been freed from being captives to the spirit of death, and having had made freely available to us the Spirit of his life, which is eternal life.