THE WAY TO BECOME SPIRITUAL PERSONS
We must not live in ourselves. We should live in our spirit, which is mingled with the Holy Spirit, and be spiritual in our whole being, including our mind, emotion, and will. For this reason the New Testament charges us to pray unceasingly (1 Thes. 5:17). To pray is to be "spiritualized." The more we pray, the more we become spiritual. The New Testament also charges us to have fellowship with the Lord and with the church. The fellowship with the Lord and with the church always makes us spiritual. We are also charged to set our mind on the spirit (Rom. 8:6). This is mostly accomplished by reading and pray-reading the Word. Prayer, fellowship, and getting into the Word are crucial and vital for our becoming spiritual persons. Without these practices, we can never be spiritual. Our mind has to be renewed (Eph. 4:23), and our whole soul has to be transformed (Rom. 12:2). By our constant prayer, fellowship, and reading and pray-reading of the Word, our mind will spontaneously and unconsciously be renewed from being natural to being spiritual, from being earthly to being heavenly. In Romans 12:2 Paul says, "And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind." When our mind is renewed, our soul will be transformed. To be transformed by the renewing of the mind is to be made spiritual. How proper our living is depends upon how much we have been made spiritual.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: In Romans 8, are minding the things of the Spirit (v. 5), setting the mind on the spirit (v. 6), and being in the spirit (v. 9) the same experience?
Answer: Romans 8 is not a chapter of doctrine but of experience. Verses 9, 5, and 6 refer to our experience in three stages. Verse 9 refers to our experience after regeneration. If the Spirit of God is in us, we are not in the flesh but in the spirit. In verse 5 is the experience of practicing to be spiritual, but the experience of verse 6 comes after we have had further practice. At that point, we not only have life through regeneration, but we also have peace subjectively. After we are regenerated, we have Christ in our spirit. Then we have to learn to mind the things of the Spirit. Eventually, our mind will be on the spirit, and we will have life and peace.
Question: At what point do we know that we have become spiritual persons?
Answer: It is better not to know or to seek to know when we have become spiritual. We should simply be what we are. If we feel that we are sufficiently spiritual, we are really not spiritual.
Question: Romans 8:13 says, "For if you live according to flesh, you are about to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live." If our putting to death the practices of the body relates to our self-control, how is it "by the Spirit"?
Answer: Verses 13 and 14 are joined by the word "for" and should be read together. Verse 14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." Both verses refer to the same practice of putting to death the practices of our body. If we are led by the Spirit, we can put to death the practices of our body.
(Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)