Monthly Archives: February 2014

Body, Soul, and Spirit – The Soul

Peninsula Community Church

Body Soul and Spirit – The Soul

February 23, 2014

Romans 8:1-8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Today, we will continue our study on the body, soul, and spirit. However, we will transition from looking at the body to looking at the soul. As we make this transition, know that we will end the series by looking at how the body and soul interact with each other and then how both of these interact with the spirit.  

One of the problems that exists for us today is that mankind has lost the understanding of the soul. This comes as a result of the writings of Darwin and others and their belief that man is simply a higher form of animal life. Darwin’s view says that man is just a more highly advanced animal therefore he does not have any specialness about him. It is for this reason that our current society is able to so willingly abort babies at any age and to engage in euthanasia. Whether the consequences were intentional or not; the result of diminishing man to not much more than an animal, devalued the worth of God in man and the purpose of creation itself. Such a view of man runs counter to God’s design because man is a created being. He is one that has had the very breath of God breathed into him. Mankind was created and set in place to rule and reign over God’s creation. To believe anything less diminishes the value of man. To believe anything less changes the creational purposes of God. The outcome is not just a diminishment of man but of God in the eyes of man.

As we turn to our study, we find that the soul represents the mind, the will and the emotions. Note that the mind is that part of us that represents our intellect. It is the place of reasoning. The will is that part of us that motivates us to action or inaction. It is noteworthy that we have been created with what has been defined as “free will.” Free will empowers man to make choices. We have choices in our life, and how we carry out these choices will determine the kind of person we will be and the kind of actions we will take. As believers, we also recognize that while we have free choice, we are also empowered by the Holy Spirit and that we are given boundaries and guidelines for our choices. The Word of God plays a major role in this process. The Word defines the boundaries within which we should live. Finally, we are emotional beings. We have been created with emotions. These emotions run the gamut. We laugh, we cry, we worry, we become afraid, we trust, we have anger, and so on. We are emotional beings. Once again we must understand that the mind, will, and emotions interact without one another and must be in balance to be most effective.

Today, we will focus on the mind. We will review the subject of the mind over the next couple of weeks. While the five senses are the gateway into the soul, the mind is the vehicle that processes information, relationships, and experiences. We must understand that the mind includes the intellect and and it includes reasoning. Both of these serve a purpose in our lives and must not be ignored. The intellect is the knowledge that has been received. Let me note here that for the believer intelligence is not the goal as much as wisdom. Intelligence is not beneficial if we have not learned to appropriately apply the truth we have. In the book of Proverbs, this is known and described as wisdom. You see wisdom is the proper application of truth.

The second idea presented by the mind is reasoning. God has created us with the ability to process information and to determine that which is truth and that which is not based in truth. The problem exists when reasoning and faith are running counter to one another. It is my belief that these two items do not have to be counter to each other, but can work jointly together when we commit our ways to God and to His will.

Because we have been created with both intellect and reasoning we must be careful and not check our mind at the door when we become believers. One of the issues that I run into is that somehow some believers in Christ believe we are to disregard data, intellect, and information. To do so can be dangerous. When we make decisions solely on the emotions or the will of man we can make less that effective decisions. Jesus reminded us that we are to count the cost. That is reasoning and faith linked together. The reason for this is that we do waver in our faith but our faith grows and matures in Christ as we get to “know” Him.

It is interesting to note that many religions and in particular new age type religions call us to empty our minds. Emptying our minds is not the secret to our success but filling our minds with the right stuff is critical. The problem with emptying our minds is that where there is a vacuum, the vacuum will be filled with something either by choice or not. It is not by chance that Paul commanded Timothy to study to show himself approved (2Timothy 2:15). While we have the spirit of God in us to teach us, and direct us we do not forget that we are to do our part and that is to study and fill our minds with the Word of God.  Notice, that Christ reminds us that we are to serve the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind. 

As noted above, the mind and the emotions often battle each other but they don’t need to. The mind, emotions, and will do not have to battle one another but rather they can and should interact with one one another. They support one one another. This can be illustrated by Paul’s words. In Romans he stated that “Faith comes by hearing.” The emotion of faith is solidified by the words of truth. John also notes this congruence when he stated that the truth sets us free. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31- 32). Emotions do not set us free. The will of man does not set us free. It is the truth that sets us free. This should not confuse or distract us. If this occurs, we must attempt to understand why we feel confused and why we are distracted by the truth. Perhaps the reason for this is that the basis of our truth is skewed and needs to be reconsidered. 

As we close today, let me make one more comment. The mind is to be renewed daily. We must acknowledge that we are in need of transformation. Dallas Willard has noted that the problem is not that we have been formed but that we need to be transformed or reformed. Let me explain what is meant by this. Throughout our lives we have been formed and shaped by a number of things.

We have been shaped and formed by our environment. We have been shaped by what we are exposed to in life. We are shaped by our experiences. We are shaped by the theological input in our lives and our view of God. We are shaped by the voices that speak into our lives. The problem therefore is not a problem of formation but the need to be transformed into the image of God and the image of God’s purpose for us.

The key to transformation is the renewal of our minds. And, this renewal must be a daily practice because we are so easily formed and shaped by the the things around us. The formation of our thoughts are not always in alignment with God’s will or His purposes so we must renew our mind on a daily basis. When that happens we must find out what God’s will and plan is and then conform ourselves to that plan. 

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Body, Soul and Spirit – The Body

Peninsula Community Church

Body Soul and Spirit – The Body Part 2

February 9, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Two weeks ago we started our study on the Body, Soul and the Spirit. In the first week of our study we looked at the overall concept of the body, soul, and spirit. In the study, we confirmed that we are a creation of God; and as a creation of God we are a three-part being. In our study from last week, we looked at the body specifically. During the study, we saw that the body is made up of the five senses and that these five senses are a gateway to the soul and the spirit. We found that what we allow to enter into our soul and our spirit, by way of the five senses, impacts who we are and what we are becoming. It also impacts our view of God. The impact of the five senses can be positive or negative depending on the information or experiences being filtered through the five senses.

We also discussed that the fact that what we feed grows and that we become what we eat. It is for this reason that we say that what we focus on will determine the formation of our hearts and how well the mind will be renewed. If we feed the flesh and fail to walk in the spirit, we will see the flesh begin to control our lives. If we feed the spiritual man, we will see the spirit grow in us which results in the spirit controlling our lives, as it should. In Romans 8:5-8 we see this expressed by Paul. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

One of the illustrations I used last week was about dieting. I shared about the cake that I began to devour by eating one small piece at a time. I ate a small sliver and then another until I had almost eaten the entire cake. I also noted that I did not feel an immediate response from my body although I did much later that evening when I began to feel sick to my stomach. The opposite is true as well in the sense that when we continue to study God’s word, pray, and stay in fellowship’ we may not have an immediate response but as we are faithful, we will have a positive response of growth and development in our lives. We remain faithful to do the things we need to do even if we don’t experience an immediate response. 

We had also talked about the eyes as one of the gateways to our heart and soul. We recognize that what we see, what we watch, and what we read effects who we are and what we are becoming. David in Psalm 101:3 stated I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Job added to this idea when he stated I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin (Job 31:1)?  I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word (Psalm 119:15-16).

Why did these guys make these radical statements? They wanted to remain pure and holy so that they would not be tempted toward sin. They understood that the eyes were a gateway to the soul. It for this reason that the quote “The eyes are window to the soul” is an accurate statement in that the eyes are a gateway to the soul’s foundation and formation. The eyes reveal the depth of the soul.

Today, I want to move to a second sense that makes up the body. This would be the sense of listening. The ears have a role to play in the formation of who we are. The fact is what we listen to impacts the formation of who we are and what we are becoming. To illustrate this, think about how music effects your attitude. What kind of music do you listen to? Have you ever had that song that comes on the radio that reminds you of an important point in your life. For the longest time the song “Angie” by the Rolling Stones had a major impact on me. You see I was 16 and my girlfriend had just broken up with me. On my way home I had stopped to get a big gulp to drown my sorrows when this song came on the radio. I sat in my car and cried. I thought my world was over. For a few years every time that song came on I was ushered back to that place and time in my life. 

It is to be noted that researchers have found that music impacts us in both positive and negative ways.  For example, researchers have found that if you listen to peppy or happy music, the brain begins to produce serotonin which in turn makes us feel more happy. The same goes for relaxing, soothing music that relaxes us or hard, loud, angry music that elicits strong emotions from us. The fact is music elicits all kinds of emotions.

In your reading of the Bible you might recall the story of David and Saul. King Saul was being tormented by a harmful spirit that had been sent from God to bring Saul to conviction. The writer of 1 Samuel rehearsed the story this way. And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him (1 Samuel 16:23). The playing of music by David transformed Saul’s heart and his spirit in the moment.

While listening can relate to the kind of music we listen to and what kind of TV shows we watch, it is more than that. Let me share this in this way. Do we listen to gossip? Do we entertain the evil words spoken by another? Do we listen to unwholesome words? Do we accept words of rejection and hurt that may have been hurled at us or do we take them for what they are, e. g. words spoken by one who themselves are hurt and wounded. 

When we listen to such things as gossip our view of others is skewed. This leads to a judgment and a distrust of others even though we may have not experienced any direct problems with the person being slandered or gossiped about. The problem with listening to lies and gossip is that we begin to believe the report given to us by another person and that report begins to effect our outlook of that person. It is interesting to note that the word “gossip” is the same word as “a whisperer.” It is one who does not want anyone else to hear what they are sharing but they do so any way. A second term that is synonymous with the word “gossip” is the word “slanderer.” The problem of gossip is that this it is so opposite of what God’s standard of living is all about. He desires we speak the truth in love and that we go directly to the person we have an issue with. God also desires that we remove the log of contention to put out the fire.

Listen to what the writer of Proverbs says in Proverbs 26:20- 22. For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,  so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

What we allow ourselves to listen to can reveal the nature of our heart and our soul. Do you crave gossip? When you hear gossip what do you do with it? Do you dwell on it? Do you add your commentary to the gossip and add your feelings to what is being said? When you think gossip remember that gossip and slander is included in the sins of Colossians 3:5-10. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

The other aspect of this idea of the ears as a gateway to the soul is that too often we listen to the lies of the enemy whose primary goal is to create doubt, regret, and insecurity in us. You see there is the aspect of physical hearing but there is also the emotional hearing that takes place. We have those voices that tell us that we are not good enough, that we are not worthy, and that we will never change. That my friend is the voice of the enemy and not of God.

The question we must answer is “do the things we listen to build us up or do they discourage us and cause us to live in fear, confusion, and distrust?” As many of you know I am a conservative and I love to listen to talk radio and watch Fox News. But, to be honest, there are times where I have to turn it off because I walk away feeling angry, discouraged, and unsettled in my spirit. The issue is not a matter of whether they are speaking the truth or not but rather it is the effect it has on my heart and my soul. The emotions experienced through excess negative news does not move me to positive action but rather creates in me an attitude of depression, anger, fear, and hopelessness. Therefore, I must choose to not listen to those things that create anxiety and fear. 

This leads us to a secondary aspect to this. If what we listen to is important then what we say is just as important. Notice the words of Proverbs 15:4. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Again in Proverbs 18:21 the writer states Death and Life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits. 

What we say and what we hear effects us. For that reason Paul made this statement. Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. While the above verse deals with what is being said, we can apply this to what we hear as well. 

How do we assure that our bodies are healthy? Our attitude will make all of the difference. First, we must remember that we belong to someone. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We have the privilege of the Spirit residing in us and working through us. The second idea presented here in this passage is that we have value. We are bought with a price. Therefore we do not want to tarnish our value by opening ourselves to things that do please God, which brings us to the last concept. Remember we have a purpose. Because we are a channel for the Holy Spirit and we have been bought with a price, we are then called to glorify God in our bodies and for that matter with our bodies. When we understand this, we also understand that this is why it is so critical that all that we are must be in alignment to God’s will and God’s purpose for our life.

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Body, Soul, and Spirit – The Body

Peninsula Community Church
Body Soul and Spirit – PART 2
February 2, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Today, we will focus on the body which is represented by the five senses: Touch, Smell, Hearing, Taste, and Sight. As we continue our study, we are reminded that the soul represents the mind, will, and emotions. We are also reminded that the spirit is that part of us that has been deadened by sin; and is the area of our being that must be touched by the Holy Spirit in order for us to truly live. As noted, the body focuses on the five senses.

To fully understand the role that the body plays in this we must acknowledge that the five senses are the gateway by which our soul and spirit are impacted. We are impacted for the good and for the bad by what we allow to enter our lives by way of the gateway of the five senses. What we focus our attention on will begin to impact our relationships with others and within us. What we focus on will determine the formation of our hearts and the renewal of our minds.

This is critical because we must understand that what we feed grows. It has been said that what you eat you become. If we feed the flesh and fail to walk in the spirit, we will see the flesh begin to control our lives. If we feed the spiritual man, we will see the spirit grow in us and begin to control our lives. Let us look at this in this way. If you continue to feed your body with sinful pleasures, you will forever enjoy the sinful pleasures of life. The result will be that you are drawn deeper into sin.

One way for me to illustrate this is to define what happens when we go on a diet. Have you every experienced going on a diet only to have your sense of smell and taste go through the roof. Suddenly, you smell foods and flavorings that you never smelled before. You begin to taste the food even though you have not eaten any of it. Have you also noticed that when you are on a diet that it seems that the TV commercials focus more on food than at any other time. There is another part to this as well. When on a diet and you are tempted to eat what you should not; you make a decision to try one piece of whatever it is that you are desiring. but one is never enough, it seems. It is like the Lay’s Potato Chip commercial. “Betcha can’t eat just one.” The enemy of our soul is standing behind us whispering those tempting words – “Betcha can’t eat just one…” before long we have eaten the whole thing and our bodies begin to tell us that we have fallen short of what we need to be.

The first of the senses is the eyes. As we look at the senses we come to the understand that what we see, watch, and read effects who we are. It is important to note that seeing alone is not the problem. It is the habitual returning to that thing that makes it an issue. David in Psalm 101:3 stated I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Job added to this idea when he stated I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin (Job 31:1)? I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word (Psalm 119:15-16).

Why did these guys make these radical statements? They wanted to remain pure and holy so that they would not be tempted toward sin. They understood that the eyes were a gateway to the soul. It for this reason that the quote “The eyes are window to the soul” is an accurate statement in that the eyes are a gateway to the soul’s foundation and formation. The eyes reveal the depth of the soul. I recently read an article that stated that scientists can now determine a person’s personality by looking at their eyes. This is why research is being done on using the eyes for computer access and proof of identity. The eyes have a role to play in who we are becoming and what we set our eyes to we will become.

How do we assure that our bodies are healthy? Our attitude will make all of the difference. First, we must remember that we belong to someone. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We have the privilege of the Spirit residing in us and working through us. The second idea presented here in this passage is that we have value. We are bought with a price. Therefore we do not want to tarnish our value by opening ourselves to things that do please God, which brings us to the last concept. Remember we have a purpose. Because we are a channel for the Holy Spirit and we have been bought with a price, we are then called to glorify God in our bodies and for that matter with our bodies. When we understand this, we also understand that this is why it is so critical that all that we are must be in alignment to God’s will and God’s purpose for our life.

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