You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your strength
and with all your mind…
~ Luke 10:27 ~
I am heart, an emotional being. I am soul, an eternal being. I am strength, a physical being. I am mind, an intellectual being. These four aspects represent the whole of every human; of me.
Some time ago, I began to search for language to describe the inner process always percolating within my very busy mind. It came out of a need to understand the wrestling between my old and new natures. I reasoned if a seasoned Apostle is unable to understand his own actions (Romans 7), how on earth am I going to get any handle on the war raging within me. I felt a little like I was stuck in a room with about 14 large screen televisions, all turned on, all turned up to “stun” and ALL playing nothing but brash, hyper-speed commercials, (I ordered my straight-jacket a long time ago).
As God began to speak, He led me to see something very simple that has helped me sort through the cacophony of voices vying for my attention. When I sit in familiar scriptures now about flesh and spirit, the old language has fresh meaning and my heart resonates.
Here’s the gist. God showed me that 24/7 I’m offered invitations, simply inviting me to respond to the scene in front of me in a particular way. Those invitations come from two sources. One is my adversary, who speaks to my old nature; my flesh. The other is God, who speaks to my new nature; my spirit. Seems painfully obvious on the surface. It also seems tidy, as if the 3 of us are sitting around having a civil discussion about how I ought to handle the situation in front of me. But that’s hardly the case.
One of the first things I oriented to as I thought about being invited, was the big dent this would put in my theories about victimization, to say nothing of the nurture vs. nature argument. Because an invitation, by nature, is something I am presented with, becoming mine to do with as I please. It exposes my position as decision-maker, rather than one to whom life is dictated. Coming to grips with that took a good deal of time and even longer to settle inwardly. But I now firmly believe it. In my adult life, I have and continue to choose for myself, how I respond to the life in front of me.
Secondly, I began to wonder how I was going to become sensitized to these invitations. I had an idea that most of this was happening in my subconscious, and that no longer seemed acceptable. It took time, of purposing to pause and take a breath before my eyes began to open to the invitations that had always presented. Most invitations I reacted to without even seeing because I’d hard-wired my brain through decades of rote behavior. I had become reactive rather than a thoughtful responder.
In all of this orienting, I’m asking God… begging Him really, Open my eyes! What’s really been happening all around me that I’ve never been aware of? And, BTW, is Your voice in this chaotic mess in my head?
Here’s one more thought, in what I think will be more than one entry about invitations. One thing that has jumped off the proverbial page the last 6 months is this. My enemy does NOT appeal to my eternal nature. His objective it to saturate me with the here and now, to keep my finite senses attuned either to what I don’t but should have, or to what I desire and could have. As long as my attention is inward-focused, he is satisfied. God, in stark contrast, asks me to look out and up, to be about things altogether other than what my adversary would have me focus upon.
So, what if you began to ask God to sensitize you to the invitations all around you? What if you asked Him to open your eyes and especially your ears to reveal the content of what you are being offered, and most importantly, to listen for the eternal component. It might not be there, and that is a massive clue. This is a conversation that deserves more thought and time. Until then…
For I delight in the law of God
in my inner being
I see in my members another law
waging war against the law of my mind
and making me captive to the law
of sin that dwells in my members.
~ Romans 7: 22-23 ~