Those who believe with their heart, who obey and follow with their heart, are born again
1 Peter 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Ezekiel 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
So we gain a heart of flesh which means we gain sensitivity. Since God is love and compassion God is all about sensitivity. Losing sensitivity creates separation from God. How can we fulfill the greatest commandment of love if we do not embrace it? Sensitivity, feeling love and understanding love through experience is essential. The New Testament seems to add a twist to this idea of flesh. Authors in the New Testament in general seem to view flesh as a physical guide often times urging us away from the spirit. The spirit ought to become our guide and to hear or sense it's nudging, we ought to increase our sensitivity to the way God communicates - emotions. For certain there are destructive desires prompting us into self-gratification, but to block attention toward our feelings for fear of obeying destructive urges is to avoid love/God. We ought to grow in discernment with our feelings and thoughts increasingly becoming more responsible with and attentive to them. We ought to resist our evil desires and follow our spirit of sensitivity toward love and compassion. Living by fear or control is not embracing God's path.
Mark 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.
Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?
Galatians 5:17 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, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—
It would be easy to get caught up in semantics with these terms which would drive us further away from doing God's will. God's main interest is for us to love. We ought to make that our highest priority, but instead we get stuck on semantics, proper definitions, history, and theology. All that is good, but certainly they are not greater than growing in love. Our new purpose is to love others as Christ demonstrated. We are to follow our hearts as we read and learn about Christ's demonstration of love. Much of what we are called to do will be challenging for us: Purify our heart, confess our sins, examine ourselves, serve each other, be gentle, compassionate, forgiving, merciful, patient, kind, and generous. These attributes ought to be our primary focus as we learn through trial and error to grow in righteousness and deny our selfishness.
The video clip below demonstrates what it means to follow a new understanding. Our old habits automatically attempt to repeat old behavior. We are to resist our old ways as we consciously seek God's will in what we do. Please watch this video completely. There is a good point at the end.
Notice how everyone anticipated the adjustment would be easy. We have a tendency to think we are better then we really are. Learning how weak, wrong, or off we are is a good thing. This humbling of pride helps us become better students. It's okay to make mistakes. If we are not making mistakes we are probably not growing or learning anything new. The difficult feelings we experience in relationships are there to teach us. The flame on a hot stove hurts our hands if we go near it. The hurt teaches us danger. Yet we continue to work with fire for its good purpose instead of running from it. We need to set limits with our interaction with fire. This is often referred to in relationships as setting boundaries. A fire out of control is dangerous, but a fire contained can be safe. Also in relationships if someone is out of control they might be dangerous, but someone controlled may be safe.
As we gain new experience we begin to realize there is so much more to life than we anticipated. We improve understanding regarding our limitations through failed attempts. Much of who God is involves interaction with relationships, close intimate relationships. There will be hurt feelings and that is part of the loving process. We seek guidance to make adjustments to limit the hurt. Mercy and forgiveness are essential to give and receive. Empathy, understanding, caring, and kindness need to be experienced regularly. Truth, correction, justice, rebuke, and setting clear boundaries are also important for healthy relationships.
God instructs us to trust in him and no other. Our worldly ways, school, science, and technology teaches us 'Knowledge is power.' Notice in the clip the person had to learn to stop relying on his old way of thinking. It no longer worked with this new way of riding the bike. The old knowledge kept trying to steer him, the old way which was disaster. He had to block out temptation, the way his motor neurons have been trained/habit, and focus on seeking/finding the new way. So knowledge/understanding can be in conflict with each other old and new. The new way of the Spirit can be in opposition with the old way of the world.
There is wisdom, Godly knowledge, knowledge from the spirit which we are to follow. It lies within us . Below is a list of scripture verses involving knowledge. Watch for the pattern, the difference between worldly knowledge and spiritual knowledge.
Luke 11:52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge (spiritual knowledge). You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
1 Corinthians 8:11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge (worldly knowledge).
1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge (worldly knowledge), it will pass away.
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (spiritual knowledge).
Ephesians 3:19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge (worldly knowledge)—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Philippians 1:9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge (spiritual knowledge) and depth of insight,
Colossians 1:9-10 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will (spiritual knowledge) through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
Here are some more verses to discern
Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 6:20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,
2 Timothy 2:25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 3:7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—
2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
This 'spiritual knowledge' is so different then 'worldly knowledge.' We are to see the world from an inner source where the love of God resides. We cannot see love nor measure it in tangible ways. We cannot capture it, put it in a package and send it somewhere nor hold it up to compare it. We cannot take a photo of it. Love is not a tangible commodity. We need eyes that can see it and ears that can hear it. Like the feeling of temperature we need to develop a sense of what is too hot or cold, when to wear a coat, and how hot is too hot to touch with our skin. We ought to engage with love seeking to understand through our senses it's beauty and learning the dangers for protection. The feeling of love we experience is in the Spirit of God, not something the other person or thing creates. To view another person or thing as God, top priority, most important, or greater than would be incorrect and dangerous.
Joel 2:13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
1 Corinthians 8:3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
Colossians 2:2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
1 John 2:5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:
1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
We have much practice and learning to do. Practice and learning about love. Love cannot be learned from a book. Love needs to be practiced and like riding a bike we will fall, make mistakes, and get hurt. We ought to keep trying. We can practice it until we get it right coming to God each time we fall for instruction and guidance. God's rules for us are in opposition with the world: mercy, forgiveness, peace, truth, love, patience, gentleness, and these qualities are absolutely essential for us to seek out and build today.
Just as the man on the bike in the video above persevered through countless failed attempts to learn how to ride it, we too through countless failed attempts can persevere deeper into God's love and peace. Jesus did not come to God for his own purpose, he did not seek out his own will, he served God and prayed to grow in his ability to serve God. We ought to love others as Jesus loved us.
Mark 10:18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
John 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
John 14:31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.
We are called to be more like that. We are called to be less concerned about ourselves because selfishness leads toward destruction. Instead, we are to grow in Christ-like attributes and Godly character.
Psalm 119:36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
Proverbs 18:1 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
2 Corinthians 12:20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
Galatians 5:20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
Philippians 1:17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
James 3:14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.