We live in an age that is increasingly hostile to the Gospel. Men and women who stand up for Biblical values are denigrated and called "judgemental" or "hate-filled."
It's as if our culture is becoming increasingly blinded to the things of God, refusing to even listen to any teaching that calls into question the "do what feels good" philosophy.
Many in the church are in confusion about the nature of God, about sin and about salvation. They read the word or listen to sermons and remain unchanged and unenlightened.
We should not be surprised or perturbed by this. Scripture tells us that the things of the Spirit can only be discerned by spiritual people.
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets... But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (1 Corinthians 2:10,14)
The world cannot understand the stance of people who preach the gospel because the gospel is a spiritual matter.
They don't understand the concept of holiness because holiness is a spiritual issue.
They cannot understand grace because grace is a spiritual term.
These things cannot be understood without the Spirit of God.
Jesus said that conviction of sin, judgement and righteousness is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11).
People in the church are also unable to understand Biblical truth for the same reason. The Bible was written or inspired by the Holy Spirit and so to understand it fully we need the interpretation of the Holy Spirit.
While we can understand the meaning of the words with our intellect, the true application of the word can only come in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Our human spirit must be attuned with God's Spirit, allowing Him to speak to us to teach our spirit about spiritual truth.
Many of us prefer to read the Bible just with our minds and then get frustrated because it seems dry. We wonder why others seem to grow in their walk with God while we get left behind.
The key is this: live in the Spirit.
We live in the Spirit by learning to put everything we do in the context of our relationship with God. We are called to live in a constant on-going relationship with the living God. Every part of our lives is to be spent in listening to the Spirit, meditating on God's word, praying for the world around us.
The problem is that we divide our lives into compartments and we allow God into only some of those compartments.
So if you struggle with the idea of living in the Spirit, it's quite possible that you have Him excluded from much of your life. Invite the Holy Spirit to come to work with you. Invite Him to direct your relationships. Train your thoughts to turn to God in your relaxation times.
As you follow these steps you will find your mind conforming more and more to the ways of the Lord. You will discover the ability to discern the things of the Spirit because you will be becoming a spiritual man or woman.