5 October 2015


Today I want to talk about the manifestation of the spirit man. My key scripture will come from a fairly long passage Colossians 3:1-17. But before I proceed, by way of introduction, I want to share briefly about the city of Colossae where the church to which Paul addressed this letter was domiciled. Many Bible scholars believe the church at Colossae was founded by Epaphras (Col  1:7) and had predominantly Gentile members.

Paul is believed to have written this letter, and the one to Philemon, who was a citizen of Colossae, primarily to address issues of doctrinal error and deception in the church.

What I personally find quite striking about this letter is its relevance to the church today, and how the truths that Paul shared with them can build our own faith today and help us understand that we called to walk after the spirit and not the flesh.

Many believers struggle to understand the distinction between walking in the spirit and walking in the flesh but I’m sure when we’re through with this session, we will have clarity in that regard.

In Col 3:1, Paul says one of the characteristics of believers who walk after the spirit is seeking “those things which are above”. Then in v2 he says “Set your mind on things above (where Christ is), not on things on the earth.”

I’ve observed that a lot of times we put our faith, calling, ministry etc. at the back of our minds throughout the week – during which time we are busy chasing the elusive dollar or rand, cutting deals and concentrating on our jobs. We will be busy minding the things on earth. Then when Saturday or Sunday comes, we put on our “spiritual jackets” and head for church where we begin to mind the things above for a few hours!

What am I saying? A Christian who knows who he is and walks in the spirit will not wait for Sunday to share the gospel and pray for the sick or even to hear the Word. He or she does these things every day and everywhere. Sometimes we fight for a few precious moments of glory on the pastor’s pulpit on Sunday. We fail to realise that there are so many pulpits out there in the streets, our communities, work places and business circles that have no preachers behind them but are calling out to those that walk in the spirit to stand behind them and do the real, gruelling work of ministry away from the cheering congregations.

Here you can have your 24 hours of “glory” because even if you’re employed or in business, this is full-time ministry. The dead have no opportunity to shine here, and verse 3 says “For you died...” Those who walk in the spirit are “dead” to the praise of men and the popularity that comes when we demonstrate the power of God and see miracles happen.

Man is made up of three components: spirit (the real you), soul (mind) and body (physical outer casing)

Salvation recreates the spirit and you become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). When God saves our spirit, we must renew our minds/soul (Rom 12:1-2) and discipline our body to submit to the recreated spirit and renewed soul. For the spirit, it is permanent, but every day we must keep our soul and body in check.

A lot of believers struggle in this area so their spirit man is subdued by the soul and the body. What happens in the end is the situation described in Colossians 3:5 where born-again, Spirit-filled and tongue talking Christians manifest the vices of “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” in the CHURCH. I emphasised “church” because this letter was not written to the entertainment industry in Colossae. It was not written to the politicians. It was not written to nightclubs or casinos. It was written “to the SAINTS and FAITHFUL BRETHREN in Christ who are in Colosse” (Col 1:2).

Sometimes the misreading of scripture leads us into error. Many believers love Romans 8:1, which they quote: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus...” And that is where they end. So, it’s like they are saying salvation has given them a licence to whatever they want because they are saved.

 But hold your horses and allow me to mess up your religion for just a while. Let’s look at what the second part of Romans 8:1 says. It goes like this, “... (those) who DO NOT WALK AFTER THE FLESH BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT...” So, the implication here is that salvation or the grace of God is not a licence to live anyhow as we desire, telling ourselves that God will forgive us because we have not been condemned.

Paul explains that an unwanton lifestyle will attract the condemnation of God: “Because of these things (fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and covetousness) the WRATH of God is COMING upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:6). So if unbelievers are sons of disobedience because they do these things, if you as a believer also do the same things, what does that make you? Whose son are you? You can do your homework.

What Paul says after is mind-blowing. He paints a picture of what God expects of us, of those born by the Spirit and who are expected to walk in the spirit. He explains something important that happened when you were born again. He said you received power to stop walking in the flesh... “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language... Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds...” (Colossians 3:8-9).

Take this old man we have just described and put him next to you. How far do you compare? I know you speak in tongues, yes, you are born again. But be honest. Check your language. Is it always clean? Are you easily angered? How many times do you tell those little “white” lies every day? If this is your character, then know that you’re walking in the flesh!

But the good news is you can put off the old man and his deeds and begin to walk in the newness of life. The power has been deposited in your spirit. Paul then says “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another; EVEN AS CHRIST FORGAVE YOU, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13).

This piece of scripture is self-explanatory, I think. You can also use it to measure yourself regarding how you relate with those around you. This will help you to establish whether or not you are walking in the spirit.

For me, when you put all these things into practice then I know you’re a spiritual and not carnal Christian. It means you’re mature. These are things we should exercise every day. It may not be easy at the beginning and it’s not automatic. You have to make a personal decision that this is how I will walk from today and then do it... one step at a time and slowly, your steps will become leaps. It is my prayer, in closing, that may God give you the grace to exercise these things and see them produce fruit in your life.

11 February 2015



IN this contemporary, Pentecostal church age of extremes played outside all known biblical margins, it appears like anything can be acceptable. I have been in churches were mass prayers are conducted to denounce a believer's perceived enemies.

You hear a thudding sound, like the rhythmic beating of a drum that goes deep into the night at some gothic ritual … Die! Die! Die! I call this the back-to-sender doctrine...

 If you are among those who have been caught up in this tide, I am sorry that I have to disappoint you. But in the same breath, I am glad that I am going to bring you a word that will deliver you.

I remember talking to someone who said it is biblical to “send fire” to your enemies so that they will have a taste of their own medicine because that used to happen in the Old Testament. Well, we belong to the New Testament church and we have never been under the Old Covenant handed down to the Jews.

If you are a Christian and often find yourself longing for revenge, wishing your enemies ill and praying that disaster strike them, you need to stop in your tracks and do a serious self–introspection. You are trapped in a mould that needs to be broken.

If we are to follow Jesus Christ as our role model, then we should equally subscribe to His own system. One of the reasons why the Pharisees and Sadducees were always on a collision course with Jesus was his revolutionary messages which re–invented the wheel. For instance, at one time He “re–wrote” the law. “You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matthew 5:38–39).

This was Jesus Christ speaking. If we profess to be His bona fide followers then, it means we concur with Him on this point.

The reason why we often want to use the Bible to justify our hunger for revenge is because we have not appreciated what Christ has done for us. As he hung on that rugged cross, his body torn and bloodied, He was able to stand in the gap for those responsible for his agony and humiliation.

If anyone tells you that it is easy to forgive and forget, then they are obviously lying to you. But what we need to appreciate is that God has given us the grace to forgive. One major reason why some Christians fail to see progress in their lives or to receive healing in their bodies is because they will be nursing some bitterness in their hearts. Unforgiveness is a lethal poison.

Seeking ways of avenging ourselves is an act of rebellion. One thing I love about that shepherd boy who ended up on the throne, David, who constantly pursued the Lord, is that he had some revelations that were way, way ahead of his time. I often describe him as an Old Testament prophet with a New Testament revelation.

In one of his many reflective meditations, David remarked that in the scheme of things in his life, his enemies were not a factor. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” (Psalm 23:5) This is quite striking. Why didn’t David pray for God to rain fire down upon his enemies? It was because there was something that he understood – it is not our place to wish anyone, friend or foe, evil.

When Jesus Christ finally appeared on the earth, He confirmed David’s understanding. Jesus functioned under the Old Testament, so it is not surprising that during His time, the reigning philosophy was that you fight back your enemies: whatever they did to you, you also did unto them. 

But He tore the form book into shreds and offered a better way. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy’. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” (Matthew 5:43).

This is a hard saying, no wonder why many fail to embrace it.

Naturally, when someone has hurt you, used you or done some kind of evil against you, you want to hit back. Think of those that have cursed you, hated you, used you and persecuted you… How do you feel about them? Given an opportunity to do something about what they did against you, what would you do?

Jesus said unless you love them, then you are not a child of God. This stakes do not come any higher than this.

I will conclude with a passage that I find very challenging – but enlightening – on how God expects us to deal with this matter. Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul instructed believers in Rome not to hit back with evil.

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17–21).

It is clear here that even if some people wish us ill, we are to respond in love. Paul contends that when we seek to revenge the evil done to us, we are taking God’s place. He says if you want those that have hurt you to feel your pain, you don’t hurt them in return but you do good unto them.

In our sinful state, separated from God, we did not deserve to live. But God did not kill us. We were His enemies, but He loved us and reached to us. He has given us a ministry of reconciliation. So why should we seek to condemn others to death? It’s almost a sadistic approach to ministry – delighting in the misfortunes of those to whom we are supposed to demonstrate the love of God.
Jesus demonstrated His message. In his most painful, most humiliating circumstances as he hung on the cross like a common criminal, he said of those responsible for His crucifixion, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Finally, it’s important to appreciate that personal spiritual growth comes at a cost that demands sacrifice. Loving those that despise you is a sacrifice.

May God bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you!