DeeDee: Ole, the only thing to do is say, “Here You are, Lord, now what does this mean…what are You up to?” You will ever so gradually sift through to your direction. Actually your soul and your emotions are one and the same…moving together in sync. Your reason will be the thing that pushes you in a different direction saying that this cannot be. These are the two things we have to ‘sort through’ and find the Lord’s purpose and direction. Soul expresses what your spirit/Spirit is doing.
Ole Henrik: Without a soul it would be impossible to express our spirits in their union with the Spirit. Right? Without our souls it would impossible to know when God embraces us in a special way. Right? Our souls are God’s means of expressing Himself to the world. Right? And directing our steps….
Ole Henrik: Many speak about “letting” Him. “Let God be free in you.” What does that mean? Can we somehow bind God? In that case, it is unbelief that somehow causes Him to be “unfree” in us?
DeeDee: When I came out from under the law and living life as though I was separated from God and had to “do” the Christian life to please God, I began to redefine words that seemed like I had to or could do anything to accomplish living the Christian life. We will redefine “let” as “recognize” or “agree with God” and go joyously with the flow of Christ, our life. In saying we must “let God” we are usually speaking from a point of view that somehow we (our actions and reactions) are more powerful than God (although folks would never admit that, but it is the natural outcome from having a separated mindset) and must ‘let’ or ‘allow’ the Creator of the universe freedom within their great hold on themselves and life. What a joke!!!
But I suppose in some small way that our unbelief and non-cooperation limits (I use that instead of bind) us as we constantly check ourselves against our false image/idea of Jesus and how He was on a daily basis. We have a very ‘sterilized’ idea of Him…blond, white and almost floating around Israel in a calm and angelic way…disturbed a couple of times in His life, but for the most part calm. At least that is how I once pictured Him…and it was SO far from how I behaved on a daily basis! The joke was on me when I discovered the fully human side of Jesus.
Ole Henrik: I was thinking about bitterness yesterday. The Bible admonishes us to not allow any bitter root to grow in us. Why is that? Could it be that because of bitterness we are less receptive concerning the things God wants to give us?
DeeDee: Isn’t bitterness due to our refusal to find/see God in a person or situation?
Ole Henrik: Never thought about it like that before, but you are right.
DeeDee: Yes, and the longer we refuse the deeper the root grows entangling us in ways we never dreamed. Our only answer is “The cup my Father gives me” and “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning me”.
Ole Henrik: Which means suffering…….and it means to be taken on faith journeys that devastates reason and which are unique for every one of us….
DeeDee: Absolutely! And what does suffering produce but glory. God sees to that! It is His natural outcome from death to resurrection.
Ole Henrik: Do you mind elaborating on this: “entangling us in ways we never dreamed”
DeeDee: What was once a hurtful thing in our lives can turn into a much greater and more far-reaching hurt to us…poisoning our relationship and even other relationships…when we stand our ground and do not try to resolve or accept our hurt as “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” We become entangled in our ‘being right’ or justified…affecting many of our relationships.
Ole Henrik: For many it is difficult to accept the fact that also their souls are now reconciled to God and are perfected in Him and are for His use. Why is that?
DeeDee: The answer is so simple and yet difficult to resolve. It is not our souls that are “reconciled to God” but our spirits are when we receive Christ as our Savior. It takes some unlearning and training by the Holy Spirit to settle us. Our souls only express spirit/Spirit….either the Spirit of Error (before we are born-again) or the Spirit of Truth (after we receive Christ and are joined to HIm spirit to Spirit).
The real issue is simply that we live in the illusion that we have ‘life’ in us apart from God…that we can do good/be better or do bad/sin. Life is Spirit. We know this because what is death, but when our spirit leaves our body. Spirit IS life. What is expressed through/by our soul IS spirit/Spirit. Our soul has NO ability/life in itself apart from our spirit to express one thing!.
Ole Henrik: In what ways do our souls express faith?
DeeDee: In any word or belief that we utter in agreeance with God. This can be with His word through the Bible or by what stirs in us by the Holy Spirit to believe. Because we are accustomed to think that these stirrings are ‘just’ us we miss the glory that they are His life bursting forth from us.
It is imperative that we come to understand the simple basics of our human makeup. Man is tri-part…spirit, soul and body. Our spirit is our “created in the image of God” part of us and it is where we are joined to the Lord…”He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” This is pictured in a human marriage when the two become one. Spirit contains mind (We have the mind of Christ) knowing, will, choice. Spirit is ego…I am. Our souls contain reason, emotion, mind (“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind). Our body is our physical make-up.
Ole Henrik: Seems to me that all this adds up to that we are safe in our new marriage/union. I have one last question. I notice how my soul also is impacted by outer stimuli. I get nervous, sometimes I have slight anxiety attacks, I get fearful etc and all these reactions or responses are triggered by what I encounter in the outside world. Any thoughts?
DeeDee: If our bottom line is that our soul has no ability in us but to express Spirit/spirit then we must say that the anxiety is Spirit being expressed….but for a much different purpose than I have ever realised in the past. These ‘attacks’ are simply there to produce faith.
It is our spirit that is impacted, but we are so used to knowing ourselves only on a feeling level…soul or body feelings…that we misinterpret our souls. We immediately think there is something wrong coming against me from an outer source….when in truth it is Spirit/Christ/God expressing Himself for an upward purpose when I move into faith about what I am feeling.
I learned this some years ago when jealousy rose in me like a flash toward a long-time and much beloved friend of mine. I had known my union with Christ and freedom from the law for several years, but I did not yet have any understanding of the all-encompassing rightness of my feelings and reactions. All I knew was to say, “I am not jealous of her, I am Christ in my form.”
The words that came back to me forever changed my life. I heard as clearly as I have ever heard anything…”You are not jealous OF her, but jealous FOR her. It is My jealousy in you FOR her to know Me as you do.” All I could do was humbly say with the Lord that she would know Christ as her life also.
My mind reeled as I began to realise the totalness of what I had just ‘heard’. ALL of my feelings were made right by His life within me…His Spirit joined to my spirit and being expressed through my soul. I looked at Scripture and realised the hard things to understand that God says about Himself. Three emotions that I had always thought that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) could never express, He says about HImself….hate, jealousy and anger! If they are right in Him then they must be right in the born-again person…because Christ IS our life!
Each of us have a part of our personality/soul that we have feared and fought all of our life because we have seen it as some thing WRONG (with a capital W) about us, when in fact it is the MAJOR thing right about us. It is THE vehicle for the cross of Christ to operate in us…Him laying down His life BY/IN US and taking it up again for those whom WE are given.
Jesus tells us of this work of the cross in Matt. 16:24-26. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what has a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
This passage comes after Peter has declared Jesus The Christ and Jesus says that flesh and blood did not reveal this. Jesus declares this response is the rock/FAITH (the Person of Christ Himself) on which He will build His church. He then gives us the keys to bind or loose by OUR word…which comes out of the desires, pressures and agonies of OUR SOUL.
The next happening in this most interesting exchange is that Jesus tells them he must suffer, die and be raised. Peter rebukes this and Jesus calls him Satan…by not wanting God’s way of the cross. Jesus then tells us that our way to FOLLOW (to come or go after; to move behind in the same direction) Him is through the cross.
What does “take up OUR cross…lose OUR life…forfeit OUR soul ” mean? The real key here is OUR; not cross, nor life, nor soul.
It is the very nature of God to lay down His life for His creation. That is Who love is…a Life laid down. That is what HE WILL BE in and AS US…the cross of Christ constantly operative. To lose OUR life is to lose any consciousness we have of a SEPARATE or INDEPENDENT life that we THINK we have. In reality there is NOTHING in us apart from Christ…our spirit joined to His Spirit expressed through OUR body and SOUL. There it is…OUR soul. What possible way do we have of expressing Him if we want our soul flat-lined, inoperative, placid…thereby giving it up!!!! To lose the FULL expression of our soul is to lose the only way His Life and cross can bring about life for others. This is truly finding OUR life…right and hidden in Christ Jesus.
THIS is what we have to give to the Body of Christ…THE FULL, TOTAL, RIGHTNESS AND RIGHT USE OF OUR HUMANITY…ALL about US made right in the death, burial and resurrection of our beloved God and Lord, Jesus Christ…who has come again a second time by His Holy Spirit to live IN and AS His most beloved creation…US!!! Christ FULLY alive and expressed in every aspect and nuance of our souls. “So Christ was was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for Him shall He appear a second time WITHOUT SIN unto salvation”…Heb. 9:28 I believe this second appearance is when we KNOW no sin/wrongness/separation in whatever way the Spirit comes through us.
Only the FINAL battle…our personal Armageddon…of losing OUR life will bring us to complete rest…me loving my God-created-in-His-own-image-and-called-very-good-ME…
my depression, fear, jealousy, anger… I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…in my soul and body. Our souls are our glory…revealing our Treasure in earthen vessels…Christ in us.
I awoke this morning thinking of our exchange on the soul. Until the Holy Spirit gets this part of us settled in its rightness, we can never fully “be about our Father’s business”, because every time a negative emotion hits us we will either ask what is wrong with us, taking condemnation, OR confess it as sin. Imagine confessing the LIFE OF CHRIST within ourselves as sin!!!
We were created to bear Him and bring life to our ‘world’. His way of bringing mankind out of slavery to Sin was to die on the Cross, rise again, ascend into heaven and then send us His Holy Spirit. He will be the same dynamic IN US of death and resurrection and in doing so, bring those whom He gives us into light and freedom!
But we MUST first get settled about the purity of our souls…purely expressing Him!
After the Lord said to me “You are not jealous of her, but for her; it is My jealousy in you for her to know Me as you do” I began to search the Scriptures for what there was about our souls, because I knew if God spoke that word to me that it would be backed up by His Scriptures. What I found so far surpassed what I had hoped for! I began with a word search and found Matt 16:26…”What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
I was riveted and began to read back through that passage. The Spirit directed me as far as Matt 16:15. I will loosely paraphrase it all…
Matt 16:15 begins with Jesus asking His disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replies that He is the Christ and Jesus tells him flesh and blood did not tell Peter this, but it was revealed by His Father in heaven and upon this rock (of revelation and faith) He shall build His church. Jesus continues…with these ‘rock principles’ in place He says (19) He will give us the keys to the kingdom…that whatsoever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. This means that we have the power by our word to set folks free!
Jesus then says He must go to the Cross…to which Peter replies that he does not want Him to suffer (23) and Jesus calls him Satan! It is Satan that does not want the Cross…death to resurrection which is the very nature of God (giving Himself for others) and this truth will become part of every believer when we receive Christ Jesus as our Savior…which is receiving His LIFE! This LIFE is not just when we ‘go to heaven’ but also for every day we live on this earth in time and space. It is His nature, and now ours, to bear conflict in our soul and by our word, bring life to/in the object of our conflict…binding and loosing. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice…our reasonable service” as Ro 12:1 says.
Then comes the resounding climax (24 – 26) of this passage! “If any man will come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” This denying ourselves is to deny that we have ANY ability in ourselves apart from Him…NO independent self that is able to act on our own…nothing in our branch form apart from The Vine (Christ by the Holy Spirit) who IS our life! It is the clarion call to fully BE Who you are!
“For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.” I used to think the emphasis of this passage was on lose and life…but no longer.
I see the emphasis to be totally on “his”…again speaking of the illusion of an independent life apart from Christ…an independent ability to sin or do good. Lose THAT illusion!
And now to the verse that wraps up this exchange. “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Losing our soul…and ALL it is meant to be…is to be suspicious of our emotions and trying to get them under ‘control’. When we do not trust them, fear them or hate them we give up the ‘way’ the Holy Spirit is coming through us for those around us. It is Satan’s gospel that tells the Christian that his emotions are wrong and not to be trusted…and anyone telling us that is preaching Satan’s gospel!
It takes a ‘season’ for the Spirit to settle and train us in the right use of ourselves. We have been so used to fearing our anger, jealousy, hate love…yes, even love. Begin to say the truth about yourself…”Lord, here You are”. At first we will have to simply take these truths by faith, but ever so quietly the Holy Spirit will make them ours. Everything about me has been made right and God is living His life as me…for “In Him we live and move and have our being.” When we begin to see these truths about ourselves ALL of Scripture screams them at us. God will gradually expand our understanding to see that what we want is never for ourselves, but always for the other person’s highest good.
The last few words of these verses “…in exchange for our soul” are vital for us to comprehend. Most of the Christian world wants their souls to be flat-lined with no ups or downs…oh maybe the ups are OK, but God help them if there is anything negative! God MEANS for us to have a fully alive and extremely active soul. It is through the activity of our soul that God calls our attention to a person or situation we “bind and lose” as we saw in v.19. We move into FAITH!
As we stated earlier…God’s nature/being is always to give His life for the other. He did this before the foundation of the world when The Lamb was slain. God chose then to be for more than Himself. He chose to be for us and His creation. He will be nothing less/do nothing less than He did before we existed. He will always lay down His life and take it up again. This is His life and is to be our life in Christ. His final commandment to us was “Love as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12).
It is imperative that these deep realities are settled in us and about us, in order that we can fully be about our Father’s business…in oneness/union with Christ redeeming those He brings to us.