Sun, 28 August 2016
Thus far we have discovered that those becoming like Jesus will have a thought life that is centered on God; setting the mind on things above and letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. Those becoming like Jesus will also increasingly enjoy the positive feelings that accompany love, joy, and peace.
Becoming like Jesus also includes the transformation of our wills. Our will is the executive center of our lives. It is the power to choose and to create. Its primary power is to select what we think about and what we do in response to our thoughts and feelings.
The interplay between our mind (thoughts and feelings) and our will is important to understand. In the moment of choosing, our will is completely dependent upon the thoughts and feelings guiding it in that moment. The thoughts and feelings cannot be changed in that moment. Thus, our will is completely dependent upon our mind in the moment of choosing.
Sun, 21 August 2016
Feelings are essential to life. God made us to feel and to feel deeply. Jesus is a person of deep feeling. He was "fightin' mad" when He cleared the Temple, He openly wept at the tomb of His close friend Lazarus, and in His anxiety, He sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Feelings, per se, are not the problem. There are at least two challenges with regard to feelings. One challenge is not to be ruled by our feelings. The other challenge is to learn to cultivate the feelings that ought to characterize us as followers of Jesus.
This may be a new idea for some of us: that we can and must learn to cultivate specific feelings. But this is a hopeful discovery particularly for those of us who struggle with negative or destructive feelings. With God's help, we can replace destructive feelings with the good feelings that flow from our relationships with Jesus.
In the transforming of our feelings, we must realize feelings cannot be changed by a direct act of the will.
Sun, 14 August 2016
Ideas rule our lives.
We are shaped and driven by our ideas of success, family, friendship, marriage, patriotism, fairness, God, freedom, happiness, "the American dream", work, self-worth.
Last week, Leo shared he was taught, "the world is out to get you". That is an idea. What attitudes and actions might flow from the notion, "the world is out to get you"? Fear and paranoia on one end of the spectrum and on the other, aggressiveness and violence.
Ideas rule our lives. Images also significantly influence our lives. Images powerfully reinforce ideas.
Sun, 7 August 2016
The spirit (will), in union with and subject to God, guides the mind to seek the things above, to set the mind on the things that are above. The Godward mind, in turn, brings order and harmony to the soul. The body, energized and guided by a healthy soul, serves the other aspects to accomplish God’s will in its social and physical settings.
This order is what the Apostle Paul describes as "the mind set on the Spirit" which is "life and peace". It is important to note that in a life in union with God, the body is subservient to the other five aspects of the self. In a life away from God it is not.