The problems of humanity arise from allowing the flesh to take control, rather than the spirit. For instance, a miserable person under the influence of drugs cannot figure out the reason for survival. A person is as good as dead, as long as not in control of his/her body, which focuses on being interned into the soil. The earth is a dead matter, consuming anything organic, including human bodies.
Nothing organic survives longer, without being reduced to rotting. A dead person’s body cannot be kept for too long, due to putrefaction. As long as taking charge, the body deteriorates towards decay, as human bodies are a component of the earthly system requiring fertilization. This may be unbelievable to some, but true.
Each considered normal person walking around wants survival. But the survival of humans depends on their willingness to control their bodies, rather than their bodies controlling them. As the flesh and the spirit form an organism but are opposed to each other, there is no freedom before disentanglement.
At physical death, the spirit leaves the body, which then returns to the earth. As soon as the spirit departs, the person is pronounced dead. The spirit, in a physical body, does not enforce physical body submission. However, the physical body seeks to enforce its will, requiring the spirit to submit, without considering the effects, therein. This is how the person loses the battle.
The spirit is effective, as long as controlling the body. The person’s survival is sustained by the spirit’s ability to control the physical body. The most appetizing things, commonly causing spiritual capitulation are harmful. The deadliest being the sexual drive. The greatest spiritual characters are known to have fallen prey to sexual desires. For that reason, Jesus insinuated castration.
“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery”. The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. Some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it” (Matthew 19:9-12)
The spirit and the body are not related, except as constituting the structural survival unit. The body needs food, shelter, sex and water supplies. However, the spirit does not need any of those revered necessities. The spirit is self-sufficient, as not stimulated by any of those physical components.
The spirit agitates towards creating, while the body agitates towards destruction. For survival, the body requires bonding with other organic materials. The body does not survive without vegetables, fruits, water and other species for food. Humans have to kill something for consumption, to survive.
Those materials are provided by the earth, making the person indebted to the earth. However, the spirit is senior to the physical body, which agitates for absorption into the earth, after death. As subservient to the spirit, the body ought to listen to what the spirit requires, regardless of pain.
A person is dead when he or she fails to control his/her body. Being alive requires hard work in creativity, whereas the body, considering hard work painful, prefers idleness. Pensioners, who prefer idleness, cannot live longer, before succumbing to their demise. The body prefers receiving benefits without hard work.
Conversely, through hard work, the spirit prefers providing benefits to other people. Jesus clarified this point to His disciples, who had all along considered that greatness meant being served. Nevertheless, greatness comes from serving other people.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NIV)
The flesh prefers abusing other people, more than being abused by other people. Yet, a person is a failure, as long as insisting on being served by others. He is also a failure, as long as seeking to satisfy fleshly desires. Jesus came to clarify the misunderstanding, providing a standard to be adopted by those in need of survival. Jesus is Lord, only as he satisfied the needs of others more than His own.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:3-9 NIV)
Peter’s protest, considering Jesus as Lord, having to wash their feet, emanated from the assumption that the greatest deserved service, instead. However, Jesus was emphasizing the point that greatness is in serving others, rather than the opposite. After having washed their feet, Jesus then took time to underline this vital principle:
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:12-17 NIV).
Foot-washing is commonly espoused, ceremonially, by most religious Christian organizations. But Jesus was emphasizing servanthood towards others, as spiritually applicable. A person cannot be spiritual and yet seek to be served by others, at the same time. The desires of the flesh are opposed to Spiritual desires. Paul also highlighted the same point, when addressing the Galatians.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They conflict with each other so you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of god.(Galatians 5:16-19)
Adopting the idea of serving others cannot be acceptable, without opposition, as going against accepted traditions of this world. This world considers greatness as signifying being served, rather than serving other people. It is only the spirit that advocates selflessly serving other people. Just as the grave consumes fleshly bodies, the flesh attracts being served by others, instead.
When enabling the spirit to take control, a person naturally acquires honour, even in this world. The indelible honour accorded to humans, like our icon, Nelson Mandela, confirms this reality. Nelson Mandela was not that foolish, as to agitate being served and honoured by others. The only reason Jesus remains Lord, after approximately two millennia, is His selfless service to humanity.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 3:3-10 NIV).
The greatness in man is in his ability to serve others, including loving, even with good reason to hate. The most frightening reality is observing Christian advantages being used for selfish ambitions. Many Christians use Christianity to their advantage, unaware of the hazards, therein.
The physical body leads, as long as one feels conceited about attainable worldly achievements. The Spirit leads, as long as one is willing to serve others. The most important datum lies in knowing the juxtaposed interests of the body and the spirit. One does well when duplicating the services of Jesus.
Death confirms the cessation of life. But how does that apply to those created in God’s image? As being spiritual, God does not perish. This implies that it is impossible for one created in God’s image to die. Allegorically, humans adopted death, after the pronouncement of death to Adam.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die(Genesis 2:16-17 KJV).
The above Scripture reveals the meaning of death, as applicable to humanity. Death, adopted after Adam took the wrong tree, is accustomed to humanity. The Prodigal Son parable reveals the mystery of human death. On appreciating his son’s return, the Prodigal Son’s father stated: “He who was dead is alive again”(Luke 15:32). This particular quote reveals the death mystery, consuming humanity.
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus exposed the meaning of death, to potential followers. Another disciple said to Him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” And Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22 NIV). How could the dead bury the dead?
This cannot be understood when not appreciating the significance of death in Adam, having died on the day of taking the wrong fruit. Physical existence cannot be life, necessarily. Without Jesus, humanity remains under a death sentence. The Prodigal Son had cut off his relationship with his father.
It is in that context that his father considered him as having died. His resurrection was made possible by the sacrificial altruism of his faithful brother. Hence, the Prodigal Son parable perfectly conjoins the redemption of humanity, espoused in Jesus, more than any other. Everything becomes clearer when understanding that parable.
Most humans are completely oblivious to being Spiritual. They classify themselves with other species, yet are foreign to those earthly species. While the pigs enjoyed food provisions from the farmer, the Prodigal Son did not enjoy them. The Prodigal Son was special, among those beasts.
The spirit, buried inside him, reminded him of his origin. That was the moment at which his condition changed, although opting to persuade his father to treat him as a slave. He was surprised that his father had a different idea. The Prodigal Son parable significantly highlights the deliverance of humanity.
It is impossible to enter God’s Kingdom in a condition of pomposity. The loyal son had a right to demand justice, suggesting the reversal of his father’s acceptance of that wayward Son. The length of time, the Prodigal Son shared food with hogs, is not revealed.
Nevertheless, although, privileged to select the best animal foods for his consumption, as an employee, nothing is admirable in that condition. Nothing takes away the obtaining miserable conditions. The farm owner portrays none other than Satan, the god of this world. The greatest cognition is appreciating spirituality.
The physical body needs discarding, by renouncing any urge towards personal glory. This requires humility, agitating the principle of service. Blessed are those who recognize the significance of spirituality as qualifying one to be God’s child.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those who have witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99