Your Soul is in the Way

In a day when psychoanalysis is trendy and just about anyone who is anyone has their own psychologist we can lose sight of the Biblical realities about our inner life. The truth is that your soul gets in the way of your freedom and happiness.

What is the Soul?

Freud dissected the inner workings of the human mind with his Id, Ego and Super-ego. Many others have thrown their own two-pence worth into the ring, hoping to make much more than two-pence out of it. So the water is pretty muddy for anyone trying to understand the mind and man’s inner self.

When I studied first year Psych at Sydney University in the early 1970’s much of the course consisted of learning about competing schools of psychological thought. Each one seemed to make sense in its own right, but none could co-exist in harmony with the other. Psychology was a free-for-all game of eclectic self-determined theories and therapies. Things are even worse with the passage of a generation.

The Bible presents a very workable dissection of the human condition, given by the Apostle Paul in a letter he wrote to one of the churches he established, in Thessaloniki. In his first letter to the Thessalonians he prays that God will preserve their spirit, soul and body.

“… I pray to God that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” Paul, 1Thessalonians 5:23b

Spirit, Soul and Body

The Spirit of a man is that internal part which enables the man to relate to God. This part is somewhat unfamiliar to us, since westerners do not give particular attention to their spirit. It may be best understood by saying that it is the internal part of us that is not our soul. Man’s conscience is part of his spirit.

The Soul of a man is that internal part which enables the man to relate to the world around him. This includes the mind, emotions and will, or thoughts, feelings and choices.

The Body is the physical and visible person.

Spirit in Control

Man was originally designed to be in intimate fellowship with God, so man was created to live out of his Spirit. The Spirit is meant to be in control of each person’s life. Note that Paul listed man’s components by itemising the spirit first. Mankind is ‘spirit, soul and body’, not ‘body, soul and spirit’. The spirit is supposed to be pre-eminent.

However, when Adam and Eve ate of forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, they chose to make their spirit secondary to the soul. They exalted their mind, emotions and will over their conscience.

Soul in Control

What we have now is mankind living out of the soul. Our mind, emotions and will demand to be gratified. We demand to understand things. We react to anything that upsets our feelings. We refuse to yield our will.

The soul is in control in humanity. That’s why the soul is in the way. The soul blocks our ability to live out of our spirit, because it won’t give up its place of executive control over our lives.

For example, consider a person who feels touched by God and who wants to drop their career and dedicate their life to Christian ministry. What are the things that their friends say to them? People will tell them it doesn’t make sense (that’s the Mind issue). People will say they don’t feel right about them throwing away their studies and career (that’ the Emotions). Others will challenge the decision and pressure the person to re-think their decision (that’s related to the Will).

The person will have their own battles with their mind, emotions and will when they sense God leading them to a radical decision.

God Separates Soul and Spirit

The Bible speaks much about our soul and spirit. Just one verse will be sufficient to show that God wants us to separate our mind, emotions and will away from our spirit.

“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

We are not going to fulfil the perfect will of God by having our soul in command. We will live by faith and please God more, by being led by the Spirit of God.

The book of Hebrews exalts the Bible as being God’s tool for piercing into people’s lives and separating the soul and spirit.

Your highly trained mind will not make you a better Christian. Your strength of emotion or will is not an asset when it comes to living for God. You are much better off learning how to put your soul (mind, emotions and will) in their place, under the Lordship of Christ and out of the way, so they don’t interfere with your life in the Spirit.

Hyman Appelman – little jew with a big Jesus

This is the day that … Hyman Jedediah Appelman was ordained, in 1930.

This remarkable evangelist began life in White Russia on 7 January, 1902, born to an Orthodox Jewish family.  He was reared in the Jewish faith, emigrated with his family to America in 1914, became an outstanding scholar at various schools and universities and eventually (in 1921) was licensed to practise law.

During a holiday in Kansas City a newspaper reporter named Daly witnessed to him concerning the claims of Christ.  The next morning a Mr Garrett invited him to church – the first Protestant service he had ever attended.

It was later that year – now in Denver, Colorado – that Appelman was directed to Dr James Davis of the Central Christian Church.  There the 23 year-old Jew found his Messiah, was baptised the following Sunday, and sent a wire home to his family telling them the news.  His family disowned him, the Jewish law firm dismissed him, and his fiancée broke off their engagement. His father said to him, “When your sides come together from hunger, and you come crawling to my door, I will throw you a crust of bread as I would any other dog.”

But Hyman Appelman never faltered in his new-found faith.  He joined the United States Army, joined the Baptist denomination, and began preaching.

Shortly after his ordination by the Southern Baptists, he married Verna Cook (on 4 September, 1930), and commenced a remarkable evangelistic ministry that took him around the world, including Australia … in 1948. Just as the highly educated Apostle Paul laboured ‘more abundantly’, so too did this modern Jewish convert. It was hard to find a day when he was not ministering. He averaged two weeks at home out of a year.

Appelman looked directly to the Holy Spirit for his enabling. “The all-pervading, all-controlling, all-achieving Holy Spirit is the only Source of power. It is not in our schools, not in our churches, not in our organizations. It is not in our separation, not in our busyness, not in our attractions. It is not in our programs. It is solely the Holy Spirit who gives this power to do exploits for God, to promote the interests of God’s kingdom, to overcome Satan, to win the lost. There is no separating of spiritual power from the Holy Spirit. It is not power; it is the Holy Spirit. You cannot have power without the Holy Spirit. You cannot have the Holy Spirit without being flooded by Heaven’s power.”

Time Magazine once reported: Overflow crowds jammed Detroit’s Convention Hall to hear a sensational evangelist, Dr. Hyman Appelman, who calls himself “the little Jew with a big Jesus.”

This Russian-born Jewish American Baptist died in 1983.

Logophile – Afflatus

From whom would one normally expect an afflatus?
Afflatus comes from a root which means wind or breath. In centuries past much was made of the notion of breath – even back to the Greek word for spirit being pneuma – breath. Similarly the word ‘inspire’ comes from a root that means ‘to breath upon’.
And where does the most powerful breath come from? Where does the greatest inspiration originate? The breath of God has always been regarded as the source of true inspiration. And so it is with an afflatus. It is an inspiration, resulting from being breathed upon by God.
One dictionary definition for afflatus is: divine communication of knowledge
Now, in common usage, the term afflatus has been secularised to simply mean personal inspiration, as if ideas came from within a person. A poet’s afflatus may be seen as his own personal gifting to perceive and convey notions. But the place we would normally expect an afflatus is from God, Himself.
Example: Peter the fisherman, disciple of Jesus Christ, once declared that Jesus is the messiah they were all expecting and also the Son of God. Jesus’ response was to declare that Peter had an afflatus, although He did not use that terminology. Jesus said, Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, by My Father in Heaven revealed this to you (Matthew 16:17).
May the pneuma of God blow on you, by His Holy Spirit, to inspire you, so you enjoy a daily afflatus and have much divine revelation to guide and empower you in the purposes of God.

The Holy Spirit as a Dove – Poem

Last week I posted on the image of a the Holy Spirit being like a dove in our chest, stirring when we worship and seeking to soar into the heavenly places. However we tend to restrain that impulse out of our sensibilities to those around us, not wanting to be out of step or to look foolish. The imagery developed to the picture of a dove being released, soaring into the skies and transforming into a powerful eagle. The sense that came with this imagery is that of the great benefit we can enjoy if we would only get past our self-consciousness and allow the Holy Spirit to be freely expressed through us. We would soon find ourselves mounting up with wings like an eagle and soaring far above the things of earth. 

Some days after capturing the initial imagery I found myself in another poetic frame of mind and so I penned the following verses to encapsulate the concept outlined above. 

A DOVE FLUTTERS IN MY CHEST – stirred by worship and the Word. Chris Field Friday April 18, 2008

A dove came down upon my chest and settled there to make its nest.
How sweet the tune and soft its wing and Oh how sweetly it did sing.
My life transformed by heaven’s dove, who brought me stirrings from above.

At times the dove doth stir and move, as worship lifts me from my groove.
When I embark on heartfelt praise I sense the dove doth lift its gaze.
It warms me so to sense things such, as if refreshed by God’s own touch.

At times I must restrain this dove, which stirs and coos of God’s great love.
I almost feel my chest will burst and so I quell my rising thirst.
My worship held my soul is calmed, yet I wonder if I’m harmed.

Then in a burst of free delight I let the dove take glorious flight.
I did not hold it back again but let it fly at will and then…
The dove transformed before my eyes into an eagle as it flies.

So now I soar in heavens above, since I released this heavenly dove.
With eagle wings I fly alone up to the place of heaven’s throne.
Hold not the stirrings of God’s dove – t’will lift you to God’s arms of love. 

The New Dreaming

While Dreamtime and Dreaming are part of Australia’s ancient indigenous mythology the New Dreaming represents today’s departure into fanciful thought and abandonment of facts and reason.

Australian Aboriginals refer to “Dreamtime” as the earliest times, when spirit beings formed the world. They also refer to the “Dreaming” to identify their localized myths, legends, fairytales and folklore, accounting for formation of animals, geographical features and the like.

What makes these forms of ‘dreaming’ significant is how they give a notion of ‘reality’ to a people group. Dreamtime is a mythological and magical time in which amazing supernatural processes took place to form natural phenomena. Dreaming, then, continues the process of applying imagined forces to validate current tangible reality and to assert personal value in the broader context.

It could be said that ‘dreaming’ represents the chosen beliefs of a group of people from which they gain their identify and validate their place in the world. It does not matter if the ‘dream’ is ridiculous or practical, because its role is not scientific, but personal. It often defies logic, but it speaks to the heart of a people, conferring on them a sense of identity and shared values.

So now, enter the New Dreaming. Today otherwise perfectly rational and logical people abandon their common sense to embrace a whole new set of ideas and values, without regard for reality. We live in a generation where people embrace personal and group beliefs with the fervour of a tribal community. People now find identity in their chosen mythology, even to the point of alienation from those who do not share their folklore.

Populist causes abound and are asserted and defended with zeal. Ideas have become tenets of faith. Things that defy definition and proof are taken as gospel – from big bangs, to black holes and impossible evolutionary miracles. If a mind such as that of Hawkins conceives a thing, then many take the resultant idea to be as good as proven. Meanwhile world leaders and popular figures have become high priests of ideas that informed scientists decry as folly.

Of the many reasons for such a state, one is that people have chosen to ‘dream’ rather than to live reality. “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”, has become the option of choice for the children of yesterday’s thinking populace. It is as if logic and empirical realities are deliberately abandoned in an intellectual protest movement. Intellectual suicide is the sport of the nations and a fad of compelling proportions. So allow me to make a few observations about this state of affairs.

Dreaming has never created reality. Sweet as the dream may be, we wake to the cold light of day. Those who seek the dream must lose their life to do so, for they cannot live in today’s reality and also live their dream. Reality does not bow to silly notions. Even if the entire world were to believe nonsense, that cannot make the idiot idea real. Gravity will still be gravity, human life will still be mortal and God is still God.

What makes Dreaming a matter of concern, is that the world has taken to it with enthusiasm. Those who see clearly find many around them walking in a dream. Vain people are building their lives on holographic images projected before them by people intent on beguiling the gullible. The populace has become fodder for the peddlers of peculiar ideas.

We came to this place by abandoning foundations. People have long followed the piper’s tune, lured from logic and even common sense. Now, lost in the woods of competing and un-provable notions, they have forgotten that there ever were foundations on which to stand. They apply the dream to their strained situation, as salve and solace to insecure souls.

Three millennia ago the Psalmist asked, “If the foundations be destroyed, what will the righteous do?” Today we might well ask, if the foundations are abandoned, just how far from reality can we go?

Two thousand years ago the Christian zealot, Paul the Apostle, spoke of a spiritual reality causing this very problem. He said that the God of this world, a fallen angel we call the devil, has blinded people’s minds. Paul was commissioned through a divine visitation from the resurrected Jesus Christ, to turn people from demonic blindness to the truth. The need to continue that endeavour is as real today as it has ever been.

Dreaming is a demonic seduction. It is not the next step in our evolutionary journey, but a step back to the dark ages, fostered by a spirit being that is keen to steal man’s freedom and kill our potential. Thank God Jesus has defeated the devil and Christians have authority to resist him.

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of the Living God, I take authority over the lying and seducing spirits which pull today’s world into the stupor of dreaming sleep. I bind the power of the lie and it’s anaesthesia and I break its right to exalt itself in the nations. I declare that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and I exalt Him over the nations. I release the glorious light of the gospel over the nations of the earth and I banish all that beguiles and deceives. I break the power of the lie and I exalt the one who is the Truth, in and of His own being.

I invite you to join me in rescuing the nations of the earth from sleep walking toward the abyss. The truth sets people free, so let us proclaim it and turn people back from the brink.