Spirit to Spirit
The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit. (I Corinthians 2:14)
I have had those moments when everything I want to understand just didn't make sense no matter how hard I try to make my brain focus on the matter. There are probably a whole lot of spiritual forces at work behind the matter - good ones, not just bad ones - making it a bit harder for me to fully get to the place of really understanding the matter at hand. Spirit can only be known by spirit - my spirit connecting with the Spirit of God brings clarity - maybe not to the fullest degree I might desire, but it is clarity nonetheless. I would like to know the end from the beginning, but it is the journey that makes the ending that much more meaningful. If I understood all it would take to get to the end of the journey, chances are I would throw up my hands and announce a loud, "Not going there!"
As new creatures in Christ, we have access to the mind of Christ - to really tap into a deeper understanding of both the good and the bad spiritual forces working behind the scenes. That may frighten some of us a bit because knowing which good ones are at work isn't all that scary, but realizing there are actually opposing forces at work can cause us more than a little trepidation. There is something quite common amongst believers everywhere - we try to 'understand' God with our minds, not through the mind of Christ - spirit to Spirit. God is known in the spirit of man - that knowledge making its way to our minds eventually, but it doesn't begin in our minds!
Our mind actually doesn't have the capacity for the spiritual understanding God wants to give us - we need to receive it in our spirit first, allowing it to grow in us until it begins to affect our soul (mind, will and emotions). The place where God communes with us is not in our minds - it is in our spirit. His Spirit entering our spirit and therein beginning to share the treasures of heaven, opening scripture to us, and giving us grace to embrace it openly and willingly. It took me a while to understand I could read every translation of the Bible and still not get what it said. It took the Spirit of God making it a living thing within me - breathing his breath into it. That takes place in our spirit - God's breath of life takes hold there first, making its way into our emotions, leaving us more than a little moved at times.
We can spend a whole lot of time spinning our wheels reading good devotions and even reading a whole lot of scripture on our own, but it is just time spent. We aren't connecting with God in our spirit and that leaves our time with him devoid of purpose - we aren't really gaining spiritual understanding, just head knowledge 'about' God. I did a whole lot of this when I went through Bible College - gaining lots and lots of head knowledge, but never really connecting it at the spirit level. It was some time after Bible College that God began to work on me in that area - asking me to stop being so 'educated' and allowing him to actually begin to impart his understanding. As I began to lay down the 'knowledge', he replaced it with 'understanding'. It is understanding that helps grace grow - not knowledge. Just sayin!