A couple of months ago, an acquaintance was talking with us about some of the conflicts and changes we have experienced in the last year. He began to pray for us and paused, saying, “You know, there is a type of Christianity that is born of the flesh and one that is born of the spirit. The type that is born of the flesh always wars against the spirit.”
He was talking about a type of Christianity that looks Christian, talks Christian, feels spiritual and meaningful and by all intents and purposes looks exactly like (and sometimes better than) a Christianity born in the spirit. One cannot judge these things from the outside–even within your own community or church, these two types exist.
It is very difficult to personally discern which of the two types is driving, especially within oneself. Most of the time, it’s a mixture of both. But one thing is for sure–they are at war with each other.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other… (Galatians 5:17)
The Christianity born of the flesh leads to death in the end… it will look good but still manage to kill. It will kill our sexuality, our marriages, our relationships, our imagination. It will survive on stimulants and emotional bondage. It will make us paranoid and join in gossip. It will torture us with guilt and even our religious activities will survive on obligation or self-consciousness. It is jealous of Him, even though we are not aware of that. (This is my interpretation of Galations 5!) Inevitably, the one Christianity will attack the other, most often for very convincing spiritually-minded reasons.
I believe that the world is in a season of huge transition, and nothing is sure. It seems as if the tiniest tremblings going on in the world are like sparks that turn into a bonfire of anxiety. If previous confidences, even in spiritual activities or relationships, feel so unsure, you have a good guess that there is something radically different and truly born in the spirit waiting to replace those so that your relationships become more fully grounded in His way and life.
Perhaps he is hiding in the whisper, as he did with Elijah, and the dramatic ways we thought we knew him are not how he is going to be with us in the next season of our lives. There are times when the shaking is good.
If this idea of the two ways is new to you, I highly recommend two books: There Were Two Trees in the Garden by Rick Joyner and The Three Kings by Gene Edwards. “Two Trees” was one of Rick Joyner’s first books and I think is a book all Christians should read. It’s about a narrative that runs through the Bible: there were two trees, there were two sons (Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael), two types of kings (Saul and David), two types of law (law of the spirit and law of the flesh).