The Testing of the Fire (continued)
Human Relationships (continued)
Let us take our Bible and go right back to the beginning. The Spirit of God broaded upon the chaos, the darkness, the void. What was the first thing done by and through the Holy Spirit? Dividing between things; a process of division between the light and darkness. "And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness Night." (Genesis 1:4, 5). And then God divided between the heaven and earth. He "divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were under the firmament" (1:7). They had got too near; one was right down on top of the other, so that you could not discern or discriminate between the clouds of the heavens and the waters upon the earth. He put the firmament - an expanse, a space - between; and He called it Heaven. In the same way He separated the dry land from the waters, and He "called the dry land Earth; and ... the waters called He Seas" (1:10). And He "saw that it was good."
Now there are Old Testament things which have, as we know, a New Testament meaning. There are found in their counterpart in the new creation. And when you come to the Book of the Acts, the Book of the Holy Spirit at work in relation to the new creation, you find all the way through that divisions are taking place as a result of the Holy Spirit's activity. Indeed, you may say that that is the characteristic of the Spirit's work right through the New Testament: a dividing between light and darkness; a judging and a pronouncing. "That is darkness - that is one realm; and that is light - that is another realm; and these two can never, in the right and proper way, obtain together; they cannot co-exist. They are separated and belong to two entirely different categories." The Spirit of God has done that.
Interpret that spiritually, and you see what it means. What a tremendous amount there is bound up with that in spiritual life! It works out in this way, that anyone - and this is the test - who really has the Spirit is very sensitive to light and very sensitive to darkness. They know quite well about the big division that God has made and, when they touch anything that belongs to the darkness realm, they feel the darkness in their own spirit, they know they have touched darkness, they know they have come into another realm. That is a work of the Spirit, and a very important work indeed.
On the other hand, anyone who has the Spirit will be equally sensitive to light. When there is true light - we will define that in a moment - the spiritual man or woman at once leaps to it. Why? Because this kind of light is not cold light: it is the light of fire - it is living light, that has energy in it. You can have light, but it is cold. You can have imitation fire, but it is cold - like those things that you switch on, with the imitation of glowing coal, but it does not make any difference, other than psychologically! You see thing, and perhaps you imagine something, but really it is all an illusion. And you can have that kind of light, but it is imitation, it is artificial, it is false. You can switch it on and equally quickly switch it off. But that is not the light of fire, which is energetic. And the light of the Spirit, the light of God, the light of Christ, is always living, energetic light. When you and I who have the Spirit come into touch with light, it is not that we become mentally and intellectually interested, fascinated, charmed or captivated. It is that something within us leaps up and responds, because we have met energy.
These are marks of the Spirit, judging which is which and what is what, what belongs to this realm and what belongs to that; and these things are set apart: so that it is something quite abnormal if darkness comes into the day or light into the night. It is not the ordinary course of things at all. Do you see the point? You can have those differences of kingdom or realm within your own family, your own household; and there can be no fellowship at all because there is the division which is made by the Holy Spirit Himself. Many can confirm and testify to this from their own experience, and some are suffering because of it. But the point is that is how it will be if the Holy Spirit comes in, and the Lord Jesus was faithful and honest enough to let it be known that is how it would be. You cannot avoid it, you cannot get over it, you cannot bridge it. It is painful, but it is a mark that the Spirit has done something. Would that we, as the Lord's people, might be more and more sensitive to those different realms which are put apart by the Spirit of God! It is a mark of growth in the light of the Spirit to become more and more sensitive to what belongs here and what belongs there.
You may remember that on two different occasions Paul used that phrase: "the things which differ" (Romans 2:18; Phil. 1:10); and he said it to believers. He would have them know, as Christians, the things that differ. That was the true kind of division that ought to have existed at Corinth. The other was a false and a wrong division; but this was where things had got mixed up. Day and night had been all mixed up together; things which belonged to the night were present among the 'sons of the day" (1 Thess. 5:5), and they were not sensitive to them. And so the First Letter to the Corinthians has so much about the Holy Spirit - the real effect and work of the Holy Spirit. We must recognize that the life of the Spirit is a life of spiritual dividing; the course of the Spirit-governed life is that of discerning, being sensitive to the things that differ.
(continued with # 19 - (Christian Work)