The human spirit has the nuance of motivator, or the wind and breath that drives you.
If your feeling a bit frustrated by the “spirit” of much of the population of the world currently, I’ll share with you something a just read in G.K Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, published in 1925: “It is necessary to say plainly that all this ignorance is simply covered by impudence. Statements are made so plainly and positively that men have hardly the moral courage to pause upon them and find that they are without support. The other day a scientific summary of the state of a prehistoric tribe began confidently with the words ‘They wore no clothes.’ Not one reader in a hundred probably stopped to ask himself how we should come to know whether clothes had once been worn by people of whom everything has perished except a few chips of bone and stone. It was doubtless hoped that we should find a stone hat as well as a stone hatchet. It was evidently anticipated that we might discover an everlasting pair of trousers of the same substance as everlasting rock.”
People have and always will believe the silliest things and simultaneously claim to be brilliant. It is fallen man’s art of self-justification and it has always gone on and it always will go on. The fact that man has a spirit is what makes him capable of passionate ignorance. As we will see, God always means for the spirit of man to be spiritual, meaning to think, move, and revere that which is holy.
Our responsibilities concerning our own inner, human spirit: rule over it with God’s will and fervently keep it refreshed with God’s will.
The flesh can hijack the spirit. So God tells us in proverb that the man who can rule his spirit is mightier that he who captures a city.
Fervent in spirit, ROM 12:11 (fervent - zeo = to be hot, to boil)
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
The commands for good deeds and good thinking continue for three chapters. We are to have zealousness for these good deeds and good thinking, diligently searching and looking for every opportunity.
As children of God, having the spirit of a child of God, we would be fervent for the life that is directed by this code in Rom 12-15, often termed the honor code of God’s family.
Simply put, anything other than living by the code of God is sin. Instead of love one is selfish or filled with self-love. Instead of gracious giving there is greed. There is no middle ground. I cannot be ungracious without being greedy.
Mankind likes to measure sin in terms of pairs, meaning that we like not to think of sin as absolute, as the Law of God would reveal it. Human reason is a lovely gift, perhaps our greatest gift, but it is fallen and will always flatter itself. It will reveal sin to itself but not the absoluteness of all sin, for to do that, human reason would have to conclude that all men are slaves of sin because they have natures of sin.
So, pairs are easier and fit human reason quite well. The man says, “I’m not as greedy as those other people,” or “Though I show hatred towards my enemy, I love my family very much.” But both camps are in error, no matter how many people you can get to agree with you that one of them contains less error.
Satan is behind this. Satan always promotes error in pairs so that we’ll argue amongst ourselves about which one is the worst, and then pick a side. The devil is relying on our personal dislike for the one error so that we gravitate to the other error. And in thinking we won a victory because we think we won the argument we conclude we are in the right camp. But our option was between two wrong camps. Satan promotes error in pairs.
The child of God runs straight through the pairs of errors and follows the life of truth with fervency.
Sin is error and so it blocks sight of reality. Jesus is the only Man to resist all sin, therefore, He is the only one to truly see human life. He is the only realist.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
Laying aside every encumbrance allows us to run which allows us to fix our eyes on Jesus the author of life and the only One who ever knew what life really was. He knew what life was and yet He set aside His joy and endured the cross. He willingly suffered because of love. His suffering was not for the benefit of Himself, but of others.
Laying aside every encumbrance and running after something by faith. Running after the Author of faith.
The fervent child journeying as quick as he can, not so he can find fame or renown or prove something to others, but simply for the sake of what he could see.
I think it is in this way that Christ told us to have faith like children. Think of the difference between a child exploring a cave he has just found and an adult scientist looking find some specimen that he can publish about in some crusty archeological magazine. Both may have drive, but the child will see everything as a wonder and look for wonder in everything he sees, whereas the scientist is there for another reason, for his career, for the admiration of his colleagues, for another grant from the NSF - for himself.
Notice that seeing this life, His life, is set alongside the phrase “striving against sin.” We are fervent to do something positive, run the race set before us and we are striving against something negative, which is sin or anything outside of that life to which we are so constantly tempted. But we fix our eyes on Him who resisted every temptation, not because doing that will guarantee every success, but because He is the only One to have ever seen life the way it should be lived, which very often will give us victory. There is nothing as conducive to confidence that victory.