Today we will talk about the difference in the spirit, which is the part of you that is alive unto God, and the soul, which are our mind, will and emotions. It is the soulish realm, our minds that keep us bound to strongholds. Simply put, it is the renewing of our minds that will set us free. When we accepted Jesus and His atonement into our hearts we were born again. Our spirits were alive unto God and we know we have eternal life with him. Our minds however, are still functioning out of our old patterns, records, lifestyles, etc. It is the mind that has to be renewed daily by God’s word to us that will begin to reveal and set us free from strongholds.
James 1: 22-25 says,
“But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth] For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
So, what determines the path you take?
- Sometimes it’s as simple as following the flesh’s desire, either to maximize our happiness, or to minimize our pain in whatever circumstance we are in. But, to simply do what’s easiest, what makes us feel good, what soothes our ego, or what is in our financial or personal self-interest, will usually work to our destruction if we are not listening to our spirits. We can easily lose ourselves just going along with the distractions of this age, be they too much entertainment, political arguments, or the mundane chores of life.
- At other times it can be far subtler, the still lingering coping mechanism that helped us survive childhood trauma, but now leads us to harmful routes.
- Religious obligation provides a compelling voice in most situations, especially since we’re doing what we have to do, not what we want to do. But it is all the more dangerous because it appears to be righteous even as it draws us into the appearance of self-denial.
- Even trying to build a ministry or an income stream from it, instead of simply making God’s gifts available will drive us to choices that will prove more hurtful than helpful..and create strongholds in our lives.
- We find the narrow road when we find rest in his love for us and then recognize his leading as he offers us a different way to see what’s going on around us. We often don’t even see a new way of thinking until he nudges us towards it. Then He shows us how to break the power of the past over ourselves.
- God speaks to all of us. You don’t have to be a spiritual giant. You only have to have a heart that wants to follow him and he will teach you how he speaks to you and invites you into life. He will show you those hidden areas we are bound up in.
- You may think you have never heard him, but that may only be because you have not yet learned to recognize how he speaks to you. I’ve no doubt he’s speaking, but you may be looking for a voice instead of a nudge or wanting him to say something different than what he is saying. Listening to him is not living by feelings, but by recognizing those impulses he brings to your mind and following them.
- One thing I know about people who listen to God, they don’t act destructively and they aren’t arrogant about what they think they hear. Learning to listen to God is a humbling process. You just have an impulse in your heart you can’t explain. It grows over time, but he is never forceful or manipulative, and that is also true of people learning to listen to him. They can be firm, but not defensive and are always willing to sacrifice for others, instead of asking others to sacrifice for them.
- He wants to be with us in those moments to help us navigate our experience in a broken world and be transformed through it. He invites us to participate with him, which is why love and obedience go hand in hand in the Scriptures. As you grow to trust his love you will want to obey him, and it’s in following him that you get to live in the fruit of his love.
- How we live either leads us more into his life, or draws us away from it, whether we’ll contribute to his redemption in the world, or be part of its destruction. That’s what Jesus meant when he affirmed those who followed him….,
“Well done! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25: 21)
- This is not about earning his life by our obedience, but participating with him as he transforms and sets us free.
Isaiah 29:16 says:
“You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay. Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, He did not make me? Can the pot say of the potter, He knows nothing?”
My personal Illustration follows in this podcast!!
For more information about my ministry, visit www.ReflectionsOfGraceHome.com