The Underlying Truth of the Prodigal Son (continued)
There are two other lessons that we might mention as being set for the "new man," which are a part of the education and training of the spirit or "inner man of the heart." He has to learn a new walk. Many slips and perhaps tumbles may be him experience here, but such are honorable if they are marks of a stepping at the request of God, rather than a sitting still in fleshly disobedience or fear. The "Prodigal's" new relationship meant new shoes, and in later significance this meant "walking after the spirit and not after the flesh" (Romans 8:4). We have shown that the nature of this walk is that reason, feeling, and natural choice are no longer the directive laws or criteria of the spiritual man. For such an one there are frequent experiences of a collision and contradiction between soul and spirit. The reason would dictate a certain course, the affections would urge in a certain direction, the will would seek to fulfill these judgments and desires, but there is a catch within, a dull, leaden, lifeless, numbed something at the center of us which spoils everything, contradicts us, and all the time, in effect, says "No!" Or it may be the other way around. An inward urge and constraint, that finds no encouragement from our natural judgment or reason, and is flatly contrary to our natural desires, likings, inclinations, preferences, or affections; while in that same natural realm we are not at all willing for such a course. In this case in everybody's life, but judgment, desire, and volition all joined against intuition. Now is the crisis. Now is to be seen who is to rule the life, or which road is to be chosen. Now the natural man or the outer man of sense, and the spiritual of inner man have to settle affairs. To learn to walk after the spirit is a life lesson of the new man, and as he is vindicated, as he always will be in the long run, he will come to take the absolute ascendency over the "natural" man and his mind, and so by the energizing of the Holy Spirit in the spirit of the mind of flesh - which in spiritual things always ends in death, and in the enthroning of the spiritual mind which is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
This, then, is the nature of the walk after the spirit, and its application is many-sided. But we must remember that law of this walk which is faith. We "walk in the spirit", but "we walk by faith."
(continued with # 10)