I am a soul. Not sure what all that means, but it is something. I am physical and I am more than physical. I believe that the part of me that chooses, my will/spirit, comes from a will/spirit. I can’t help but think that the will/spirit which gave life to my will/spirit holds the answers to my life going like it should. My body disagrees. My body just wants Taco Bell.
So I have this pathetic little struggle going on inside of me. One voice says… just enjoy. The other voice says things about dignity and such. The voices don’t get along very well. I listen to one and the other gets miserable. One voice needs to go. Which one, and how?
Get rid of the ‘virtue’ voice. Then I can… hmmmm??? Yeah… well…. Ughh. Started off better than how it ended.
Option 2: get rid of the ‘fun’ voice. Then I will be… bored.
Isn’t there another way?
Kill the voice that says the will is for itself. It claims to speak for the body, but it doesn’t. It speaks for its own glory. In fact, that voice often trashes out the body with short term pleasures that have a big price (very non-pleasurable). Deal with it. The voice of idolatry: I AM (says me), is seductive like a ‘user’. Don’t be foolish. Kill it.
Realize, accept and commit to the truth that it was killed by someone who never allowed that voice any rights in their soul. Jesus was constantly tempted to be a selfish @#$@#(&* but didn’t give into it. That’s the story. Could it be true? If so, the rest of the story, that in surrendering his will and body to God’s will, something happened to my will. My will died with Jesus. He took responsibility for my will and while he had it he had it killed. Could that be true? How can I have confidence that Jesus killed my will on the cross? The best argument is that he came back to life and started a movement that continues today. It is clear enough to believe in, but mysterious enough to be more than a “no-brainer”. It stands just outside of reach, inviting the will to resign the battle and surrender to God in Jesus.
Some of my friends kinda did that. Kinda. They essentially, like so many of us, have said that we are loyal to him and yet we have been sneaking back to revel in rebellion. We aren’t supposed to do that. It undermines everything. What will happen? Bad. Life will be agonizing and what comes next is too muddled to speak clearly on other than… it won’t be pleasant.
So, the church is where we tell each other to snap out of the sirens’ call and focus. The restoration of the rebel soul is by adoption (grace by faith to call on Jesus as Lord) and then by growth (grace by faith to continually choose to live under Jesus as Lord).
Robust church, actual constructive confrontation, is pretty important then. Am I willing to be challenged about my rebel tendencies? Or, would I rather define ‘grace’ as the courtesy of other Christians to let me be a back stabbing traitor to the cause of Christ for my momentary pleasures? The question is too personal; no place to hide. It just keeps coming back to my soul. Jesus said it unusually bluntly:
MT 16:24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
(answer? Some pretty cheap thrills, apparently).
Message meant to be communicated: GUYS, it’s not complicated, it’s just hard. Live for the thrill of doing what ‘you’ want doesn’t really work. Living under the teaching of Jesus, which may be more than what you have thought it was, will actually change your soul into something that can learn real satisfaction in life. Be wise. Choose sides and get with others who will help you be faithful to wisdom and not foolishness.