The Rule of the Heavens (continued)
What Spirituality Is (continued)
Coming then to the matter of the increase of spirituality as the governing thing, you will remember that Paul said: "I could not write unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal, as unto babes. I fed you with milk, not with meat" (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2). And yet Paul's letter is full of the spiritual. "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren" (Chapter 12). The significance of this is that these people were exceedingly interested in spiritual things. They were perfectly fascinated with spiritual things. The "spirituals" were the things which occupied them tremendously. Speaking with tongues, and many other things called the spirituals. Yet Paul says, "I could not write unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal." It is possible to have a carnal interest in spiritual things. A good many people today are interested in speaking with tongues, but carnally interested. It is something you can demonstrate. If you want spiritual thing for display purposes that is carnality. If it is because they are evidences to your senses, that is carnality. If you want just to be able to prove things in that realm; that is carnality. And so you can be interested in spiritual things, and yet be carnal. And you know what follows, how he speaks of their saying "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos ... are ye not carnal, and do ye not speak as men?" The spiritual man cannot speak as man, but as God. You are commanded not to speak as men. Interest in those things is no mark of spirituality. It may be just the opposite (1 Corinthians 3).
The proof of spirituality is that you are able to walk with God without any demonstration at all. When He hides Himself, when you have to walk in sheer faith and you do. Like Abraham, when everything was seeming to deny God, not when all the time you are wanting something to demonstrate God. He is seeking to bring His children to the place where He can count on them to walk with Him by faith without His giving a multitude of evidences to their senses that He is there. It is infancy when we have to depend on God to give us proof. Very often in the history of Gods work among the unenlightened He has done wonderful things to demonstrate His power. But, as soon as they begin to really stand on their spiritual feet, gradually those things were withdrawn and God called on them to trust Him for Himself. That is growing up and increase in spirituality.
And are we not being brought to that place in these days? Where He can wean us from signs and wonders and the satisfying of our senses? Where we will walk with Him by faith? Where He will not always be saying to our senses, "It is all right, I am here?" And you notice where the Apostle lands them at last. He says, "Now, concerning the spirituals, brethren," and went through the whole catalogue of them, and then he said that when all that was said, and when you have dealt with all that which you are so interested in, after all there is a spirituality which transcends that (1 Corinthians 12 and 13). Though I have all these spiritual gifts and the lacking in love, I am not complete. So the spirituality presented is the presentation and manifestation of the love of God according to 1 Corinthians 13. When you have read that through carefully, you will see that represents spiritual growth. If only we could come up to that standard, we would be growing spirituality. Of course, love is not a substitute for spiritual gifts, but an indispensable foundation and governing principle of them.
So these Corinthians represented retarded spiritual growth, even while they were so interested in spiritual things. Thus you have to go on to see more of the meaning of spirituality, which is getting God's side of things. It is, to begin with, a matter of state. "He that is spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:9-15). It is the condition of our life, and we never apprehend spiritual things only as we are in the spiritual state. And after a spiritual state, it is a matter of spiritual things.
(continued with # 31 - (The Nature and Power of Spiritual Knowledge)