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The Spiritual Man, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

39- The spiritual level compared to the sensual and carnal levels


Spirituality is, first of all, acting according to the spirit.

Much has been said about that in the Epistle of St Paul the Apostle written to the Romans, as he said: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit (Rom 8:1). And also said: For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God... so then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom 8:5-8).                     Divider of Saint TaklaHaymanot's website فاصل - موقع الأنبا تكلاهيمانوت

Then spirituality here means an elevation above the level of acting according to the flesh.

I would like here to tell you that man consists of three elements: The spirit, the soul and the body.

St Paul explained this matter when he said in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless... (1 Thess 5:23).

Then man consists of spirit, soul and body. And we say here that the spiritual man does not act according to the body or the soul. To be carnally minded is very clear to all...

Like the one who acts according to the lusts of the flesh such as adultery, craving for food or clothing..etc. But then, what about the sensual behaviour? We say first:

Our fathers the Apostles fought and condemned the sensual behaviour.         Image: Saint James The Apostle, Yacoub, Jacob the Apostle صورة: القديس يعقوب الرسول Image: Saint James The Apostle, Yacoub, Jacob the Apostle.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القديس يعقوب الرسول.

St Jude the Apostle says in his Epistle ,There would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lust. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the spirit (Jude 18,19) . We notice here his saying:

Sensual persons... not having the spirit.

They walk according to their own ungodly lusts. By these words, it is probably understood that lusts of the flesh are led by sinful, sensual factors, far from the direction of the spirit...

St James the Apostle also differentiates between the divine wisdom and another wisdom about which he says: This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. And it causes bitter envy, confusion and every evil thing (Jas3:14-16)... We notice here that the description of sensual is connected to earthly, demonic.... What a harsh description...

May be these details are not often used. People usually talk only about spiritual behaviour and the carnal behaviour. Very rarely do they talk about hateful, sensual behaviour...                     Divider of Saint TaklaHaymanot's website فاصل - موقع الأنبا تكلاهيمانوت

The sensual man is led by the senses with all their instincts and their feelings, not having the spirit.

This is a matter that has mistakes and sins, as well see.

And the carnal man is led by the lust of the flesh and its desires. Then what about the spiritual man?                     Divider of Saint TaklaHaymanot's website فاصل - موقع الأنبا تكلاهيمانوت

The spiritual man is distinguished by two characteristics:

1- He overcomes the flesh and the senses and acts according to the spirit.

2- The second characteristic is that his spirit submits to the Spirit of God.

There is a man who has inside him a struggle between the lusts of the flesh and the spirit (Gal5:16,17), as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. As for the spiritual, his flesh has completely been submitted to the spirit. But this alone is not enough because the sins of man are not caused only by the lusts of the flesh. He may sin only by his spirit... Dont be surprised by that because the devil is a spirit, and in spite of that he has sinned. He is a rebellious and evil spirit.

The Holy Bible talks much about evil spirits.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave His Disciples an authority to cast away the evil spirits, that means the spirits of the devils. Then it is possible for the spirits not to sin and it is possible for man to sin by his spirit...

As for the spiritual man, he does not sin by his spirit because his spirit is completely submitted to the Spirit of God...                     Divider of Saint TaklaHaymanot's website فاصل - موقع الأنبا تكلاهيمانوت

The spiritual man then has: His senses and his body submitted to his spirit, and his spirit is submitted to the Spirit of God.

Therefore we read in the Epistle to the Romans, a very beautiful phrase which is: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Rom 8:14). These are the spirituals who are submitted to the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God leads them and they are obedient to the leadership of Gods Spirit. In order to be led by Gods Spirit, the Spirit of God must be dwelling in you.

For this reason, God made His Spirit dwells in us.

So the Holy Bible said: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16). And the Spirit of God that is in you, gives your spirit, knowledge and guidance, leading her on the way..., rebuking her over sin and urging her to do good, bringing to her remembrance all things that the Lord has said and will teach her all things (Jn 14:26).

Therefore the church grants you the Holy anointing, the anointing of the Spirit.

St John the Beloved talked about this anointing twice in his First Epistle and said: The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you (1 Jn 2:20,27). And we receive this anointing in the Sacrament of the Holy Myron. They used to receive it at the beginning of the Apostolic period by laying hands.                     Divider of Saint TaklaHaymanot's website فاصل - موقع الأنبا تكلاهيمانوت

Then depend on the Spirit of God to lead you and not only on the human wisdom...

The human wisdom on its own is foolishness with God (1 Cor 3:19). And St Paul the Apostle explained this matter in great depth and details, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 2...

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