David Jennings - The Right Spirit

Matthew 13:13, "Another parable spake He unto them, 'The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.'" In this verse, it speaks about the good spirit being like leaven. The spirit is like leaven, whether good or bad. Jesus spoke about the good spirit which a woman took and hid it in three measures of meal.

I would like to share with you a little line of thought that has been a help to me and which has enabled me to enjoy life more. In Leviticus 2:11, it speaks about leaven, and the good spirit was never to be sacrificed for any reason. This is a rule of thumb and true always. What the Lord was saying was this matter of the spirit should never be sacrificed. As workers, we sometimes sacrifice the spirit for efficiency. If everything runs smoothly, it doesn't matter about the spirit, like at preparations. Never sacrifice the spirit for efficiency. The more efficient things are, the easier it is on the spirit. If things are handy, it is easier on the spirit. If you have a thought for the spirit, make it as handy as you can but never that efficiency comes first. Sometimes in gospel meetings, we like people to sit up in front, but we must not sacrifice the right spirit in order to have this accomplished.


The spirit helps a person to have an outlook in life that makes life a lot better. Sometimes duty might seem more important than the spirit. We have a duty to perform and we go and do it but not with a good spirit. We feel "someone has to do it." It would be far better to withdraw and not to do it and retain the spirit. A person can have the Spirit of God no matter what and that is a wonderful thing.


The Lord has planned the ups and downs of life. Wonderful if life can find us .. no matter what comes or goes .. having the right spirit. Then God asked Jesus to be the Saviour of the world, He never asked Him to sacrifice the right spirit in order for others to be saved. His body was broken and bruised and bleeding; His life was snuffed out and His soul was made an offering for sin, but on the cross Jesus could say, "Into Thy hand I commend My Spirit." Think of the great sacrifice Jesus made that mankind could be saved. One thing that God didn't ask was that He would lose the spirit.


This matter of having the right spirit is something we should be very conscious is a reality in our lives. Sometimes Jesus had a troubled spirit, but He never let His troubled spirit go bad. The first thing that happens when fruit is bruised is that it goes bad. If bruised, humanly one would feel it had a right to go bad. The miracle of Jesus was that though bruised, He did not go bad and this gives us a wonderful hope. He was troubled in spirit. In fact, in one of the gospels it says, "He was angry." You can be angry and sin not. It would be difficult for some parents to do what they have to do if they didn't get angry. Being angry and losing the spirit is two different things. When angry and sinning not, one can do the things you could not otherwise do. If this is true, then afterwards there is no need of apology. You never need to regret what happened.

The devil knows when a person is troubled or angry that it is a very easy thing for them in their rightness to lose the spirit. Whenever that experience comes, we should be as careful as we ever are. The devil knows if he can bruise a person it is very easy to move in and cause them to go bad. When righteously angry and worked up about something that needs to be done, the devil knows this is his chance. The person is so intent on what needs to be done, he is so incensed about it that the devil moves in and can give him a wrong spirit in it.


This matter of the spirit is not an easy thing. The Lord is very interested that this right spirit might be enjoyed by His people because the spirit they have is their hope of Heaven. It is the spirit that goes back to God. One would wonder if, when the spirit goes back to God, maybe God doesn't ask if the spirit came from a male or female body on the earth. Maybe the Lord doesn't ask, "Were you a worker or a saint?" These kind of things hardly matter, do they? It is the ultimate end of the thing that is most important and the great thing is the kind of spirit that returns to God. It matters little what has formed it or where it abode on the earth. Every person is different but one thing we know, if we feel our need of God and humble ourselves before the Lord, the experiences in life will enrich our spirit.


Mostly every experience that has any meaning to it as far as our spirit is concerned, is regarding our relationship with people. The thing that puts something within us and develops the marks of Jesus is always concerning our giving and taking, our relationship with people. Of course a person may discount that as an unimportant part of life when it is not so good. Jesus said it is the love that is between you that really is the spirit. It is not so much doing nice things for people that is your spirit but that which dwells within. The love that binds God's people together isn't so much the nice things they do for each other, but the spirit within us that is in harmony with others. We could find a lot of reasons for doing things different but if the ultimate end leaves us with a spirit like Jesus, it doesn't matter what the reasons are.


A farmer had cows and the law said he could not add any water to the milk, so what did he do? He put the water in the bucket first, and then added the milk to the water. As far as he was concerned he had not transgressed the law. It wasn't the letter .. that was right or wrong, but the ultimate outcome. There is no literal situation in which the law of love is a "No." For example .. this apple is kind of wormy .. the tree wasn't too good. The apple is justified for being a bad apple because the tree is bad. We don't judge on that basis. Sometimes a person would feel justified because of the conditions that led up to that .. they might be justified in a lot of things but never justified in not having a spirit like the spirit of Jesus.


Happiness in life is really based on how our spirit is. It is a wonderful thing that no matter what happens, God has provided power and blessing that can keep our spirits right no matter what. There are no loopholes in the law of love and sometimes we look for them. The farmer found a loop-hole in the law, but there is not one loophole a person can find in the law of love toward our fellowman, that can justify us in the sight of God. The Lord has us over a barrel. We need to bow to the fact that unless I obey the law of love, I am wrong.


To abandon oneself to the truth of that gives one a sense of liberty and tranquillity, no matter what we are passing through. Sometimes when a person is right, they know the struggle of what it means to have a right spirit. This is what is going to determine heaven or hell. This very subject is maybe the ultimate of our life. How could something in that category come easy or be automatic, or happen out of the blue? When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, a young brother said, "The flesh of Jesus was crying for a different situation, but the spirit of Jesus was asking for a different will." That struggle of the spirit to be willing for what God was asking of Him cost Him a battle that caused Him to sweat like great drops of blood. There is no wonder when tests face a person that it is the same kind of battle for us, and it is only in that that we understand what Jesus faced in all His rightness. Jesus was right and so unjustly treated. The disciples were sleeping when Jesus was battling. Think of the spirit that could have filled Jesus when He had taken His three good buddies, that understood the best, and were His closest friends, spiritually, into the garden. Jesus asked them to tarry and He battles and prays that His spirit might be right, and comes back and finds them sleeping. He might not have said anything, but in His heart there might have arisen a spirit that would have put them down in His own estimation. There was a lot to test the spirit of Jesus.


I appreciate the fact that when He had to drive those moneychangers, and those who bought and sold doves out of the temple, maybe He was protecting his spirit .. doing no more than was necessary. When He spoke to his good friend, Peter, the one that slept later in the garden, "Get thee behind Me, Satan." All condemned in that statement, but maybe Jesus was protecting the spirit. When something is behind you, you don't see it.


The devil capitalises on others' mistakes to make us feel badly toward people. We should condemn what is wrong. David said, "I hate every false way." But he didn't hate all who were in it. When we do what is wrong, wonderful when people hate that, but we must be careful we have the right spirit toward the person. Even a judge condemning a prisoner to death .. it is a very serious and difficult experience for everyone involved to order an execution. But there is no reason for the judge who condemns the prisoner to have a wrong spirit. Can he not do his duty as a judge and yet have a right spirit toward the prisoner? He doesn't have to have a hard and nasty spirit. He doesn't feel that because this man is so wrong he has to have a hard spirit toward him.


There is no situation in which the Lord will demand of us to sacrifice our spirit. When that is so, there is a great peace that dwells in the heart and fills the soul when the spirit is right. I appreciate in the book of Jude the story about Michael, the archangel contending with the devil. There was quite a confrontation between the chief angel and devil concerning the body of Moses. It was a subject very near and dear to the heart of God. It seems like the angel in all his rightness felt things were getting on pretty shaky ground and so it says, the angel durst not bring against the devil a railing accusation but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." The angel withdrew from the situation. Doesn't that give us a to feel that now the angel felt if he would keep contending with the devil, I am pretty soon going to bring a railing accusation against him and the angel's spirit would get wrong toward the devil. It wasn't that the devil was put down, but the important thing that the angel kept the right spirit.


We need to protect the spirit at any cost. Far better to be accused of being a shirker in one sense, than to be accused of not having the right spirit in what we are doing. The angel just withdrew, but he withdrew with a good spirit. He didn't withdraw in failure. Lots of people withdraw in failure. "I am just going to stay away, I hate him." There is no loop-hole in the law of love. Sometimes it is best to withdraw from a situation, but in the withdrawing, a person has to withdraw with a good spirit toward them. To protect the spirit is saying, I am going to protect my future relationship. It is a matter of that something within a person retaining the right spirit to everyone on earth. Jesus spoke about loving your enemies. I don't know whether you have any enemies, but you have people that disagree with you, and upset you at times, and to just class them as an enemy sounds pretty severe, but then I wonder if when these difficulties arise, differences of opinion, if there isn't found a little bit of enmity. It is at those times where love is necessary if you are in the right to have a kind feeling toward them - so this matter of loving one's enemies always comes into the picture when there is a confrontation of a little point where is the chance of loving your enemies. It doesn't mean you agree with them, but you have a spirit toward them that is like the spirit of Jesus.


The Bible tells us that God's people are like little lambs and you know of course a lamb has lots of enemies, but if you are a lamb, you will not be an enemy to anybody. You may not be in agreement, but you will not have the spirit of an enemy toward anyone. You might wonder why a lamb is so happy. Maybe that is the reason, not because they are always so safe, but a lamb in its heart doesn't have enmity but love. That is the secret of life. I appreciate the fact that the archangel when contending with the devil withdrew and kept the right spirit. That time when Jesus met a man filled with devils, and Jesus dealt with the devils .. they came out of him. These devils spoke to Jesus and asked that He would let them go into the swine. There was something about the wonderful spirit Jesus had. He could have ridden rough-shod over the devil. Jesus gave them leave to go into the swine. I like to think His spirit in that is a wonderful example. He operated and worked from a spirit that gives us the picture of the spirit of love, and of course, that is the thing that will be most important when we are united by the love of God. Have you ever wondered what the wedding garment was? When the King came in, the only thing wrong was that one man did not have on the wedding garment. He just didn't have the love in his heart. This is the only thing that God is going to judge. It is the only thing that is important. The devil is very tricky, he would like everything else to be known .. doing nice things for people, etc .. but the Lord knows a hard spirit.


This matter of having a right spirit doesn't come easy but yet you can have it and it can be genuine. A person should deal gently with the sinner because when a person in wrong, they have a defence and our spirit could be very un-Christlike. Jesus was so definitely against what was wrong. A person can stand against what is wrong, tooth and nail, but it is wonderful in the standing against wrong it doesn't affect our spirit. Jesus knew what was in Judas's heart. Sometimes we know what is in people's hearts and they don't know that we know. Jesus said to Judas, "Friend, why comest thou?" I appreciated the thought that Jesus didn't have to generate that within Him .. that is the secret of a right spirit. We don't always do what is right but there are times in life given a person concerning whether the right spirit is in them. Jesus had a thrill in His heart when He knew His love for Judas was genuine.


The first words Jesus uttered from the cross were, "Father, forgive them." That spirit in Jesus would have given Him the assurance that God was His Father. "If you love your enemies, you will be the children of your Father in Heaven. When Jesus needed it most, to have the assurance that God was His Father, it just kind of came out spontaneously in the expression that registered the fact that His spirit was right. You cannot generate the right spirit. All you can do in your terrible battle to have it, is just to ask God .. will you give it to me? Am I willing to pay the price to get it? You can blaspheme against God, and against Jesus, but if you blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, you have had it. It was like Jesus was putting the emphasis on the importance of our respect and reverence for the Spirit above all else. The Spirit wasn't greater than Jesus or God, but it was as if He was telling us, now this matter of the Spirit is something that is very sacred to God. May God help us to enjoy the possibility that no matter what comes or goes, God has made it possible, whether right or wrong, that the genuine spirit of Christ is possible. I would like the Lord to give me the grace to bow to this fact more fully.