‘And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.’ Mark 8:12
Today’s Insight: Mark 8:11-13
The Greek word used here for ‘sighed deeply’ means an intense grieving, inaudible prayer, or groan. This is intercession of the Holy Spirit, with groanings that cannot be uttered. Some Spirit-filled Christians believe this means groanings that cannot be uttered in normal speech and that this refers to speaking in tongues. However, this actually refers to a type of intercession different than speaking in tongues.
In John 11:33 and 38, Jesus groaned in the Spirit twice, and in those cases there were no words uttered. It was exactly as the Scripture states, a groaning in the Spirit. Everyone who has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit has or will have this happen to them. Paul was referring to this in Galatians 4:19 when he spoke of travailing in birth for the Galatians. This groaning of the Holy Spirit is not just a grief but a groan of anger and resistance against Satan’s devices in our lives. Many times, Christians don’t discern this because they think it is just their own grief over the situation. But, this is the Holy Spirit desiring to intercede with us against our problems.
Jesus drew on this ministry of the Holy Spirit. John 11:33 and 38 says, that Jesus groaned in the Spirit twice when He raised Lazarus from the dead. What infirmity did Jesus have that He needed this ministry of the Holy Spirit? Jesus had no sin, but He did have an infirmity. It was His physical mind.
Even a sinless human mind could not comprehend raising a man from the grave after four days. If Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to help Him when He didn’t know how to pray, then this should certainly be an important ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
‘But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it unto the dogs.’ Matthew 15:27
Today’s Insight: Matthew 15:21-39, Mark 7:24-37, 8:1-10
It is very clear in scripture that Jesus was sent to fulfill God’s covenant to the Jews. However, it was equally clear that Jesus would open up faith unto the Gentiles. Jesus certainly knew this, and had already ministered to numerous Gentiles without the apparent disdain that we see here with the Syro-Phoenician woman. Jesus could not have been forced into ministering to this woman’s daughter if it was not His will to do so. Therefore, His silence and rough answer to this woman must have been designed to accomplish a positive result.
Humility is an important ingredient of faith. This woman was a stranger to the covenants of promise and had no right to demand anything. Jesus’ silence and then comparison of her to a dog would certainly have offended an arrogant person, and it is possible that for this very reason, Jesus tried her faith. Jesus didn’t need to do this with the centurion in Luke 7:6-7 because the centurion had already humbled himself.
An integral part of faith is seeking God alone with your whole heart. If we are concerned about what people think and gaining their approval (or honor), we will never take a stand in faith for anything. After all we might be criticized for it. This one thing has probably stopped as many people from receiving from God as anything else. You cannot be a ‘man-pleaser’ and please God at the same time. Satan uses persecutions to steal away God’s Word and, thereby, stop our faith. To see faith work, we must say with Paul, ‘let God be true, but every man a liar’ (Rom. 3:4).
‘For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders.’ Mark 7:21
Today’s Insight: Mark 7:17-23
These verses (21-23) further establish the fact that our heart includes more than just our spirit. Even Christians still struggle with things like pride and foolishness, which Jesus said comes out of our heart. It’s certain that our born again spirit is not the source of these sins; therefore, the heart encompasses more than our spirit.
The word ‘spirit’ is used in different ways in scripture. The most frequent usage refers to either the Spirit of God or the spirit of man. In that context, it denotes the person of the Holy Spirit or identifies a part of our three-part being (1 Th. 5:23). But the word ‘spirit’ can also describe a mental disposition (Strong).
In Ephesians 1:17, Paul is praying that what is already true in our spirit will become our ‘mental disposition.’ He’s praying for a release into the physical of what is already present in our spiritual being.
The Christian life is not an attempt to get more faith, or more anointing, or to get closer to the Lord. We already have these things in their fullness. We just need a revelation of what is already ours. Understanding this takes a lot of frustration and doubt away. It’s much easier to release something you already have than to try and get something that you don’t have. And why would anyone doubt whether or not he could receive what he already has? Through Christ, we are already blessed with all spiritual blessings. All we have to do is appropriate what is already ours, through the renewing of our mind. If you will change your thinking to believe what God says in His Word about who you are and what you have, then this agreement between your spirit and soul forms a majority, and your flesh will experience the life of God that has been deposited in your spirit.