Who are you? People would answer differently. I think I am a spirit(1st Cor 3: 1) who lives in a body(1st Cor 3: 1-3) and possesses a soul(1st Cor 2: 14). My soul/mind contains my will, intellect and emotions.
When I accepted Jesus into my life and received the gift of salvation, my spirit became saved. By allowing my regenerated spirit to exert maximum influence
in my life, my soul becomes renewed by my wilful participation with the word of God while I work at leaving behind my old thought patterns, habits and predispostions.
I do not become less of an individual, I just become a 'new' man, maximising my God given strenghts and minimizing my weaknesses ( they are inherent in the best of us; I might add).
That is what I understand by the process of being born again; born anew into a life where I do not have to be tossed to and fro by the vagaries of the flimsy human nature. I do not believe that I have to succumb to the doctrine of "that's just how I am"; rather I believe that if how I am is not an embodiment of all things godly, loving and pure, then I have a way out!
To illustrate fictitiously the differences between the various systems that operate in the world, consider the following parable. Picture a poor fellow sitting on a hot plate suffering from severe pain. The little red warning light on the regualator is going off!
- A counselor approaches him who holds the somatic or chemical view-point (The point of view that we really are just bodies) : Hearing the client's complaints, he immediately pre-scribes tranquilizers or pain killers. The solution is to anesthetize him. Or perhaps the client is a do-it-yourselfer who does not have any pills in the medicine closet. He may resort to his own chemical solution by anesthetizing his brain with alcohol. If a surgical specialist is on hand he may suggest that the nerves which are activated may be severed. This will knock out the symptoms and give the client relief. Smash the red light on the regulator!
- Then, of course, there's the Freudian analyst who looks over the situation and says : Those who are preoccupied with the sexual part of our being) These pains are located near the sexual area. I think we'd better go back into the patient's childhood experiences and learn about some of his early sexual experiences. Then, perhaps we'll be able to alleviate his pain, though of course no assurance can be given. We recognize that he has been wrongly socialized and his superego is a cruel tyrant. If he can be re socialized he will possibly get better.
- Next, a disciple of Rogers appears (Those self awareness folk; lovers of all things self): When the sufferer asks him what he must do to get relief, the therapist replies: I'm not going to advise anything. I'm sure that you have all the resources within yourself to solve the difficulty. I'll reflect your questions back to you and help you clarify and gain insight. Now, sir, you say you are torn two ways?
- Finally a Spirit filled Christian (nouthetic counselor) comes upon the scene: He looks around and finds a hot, burning stove under the client. He says, "Get off that hot plate. Now that you're up, sit down on a chair over here and we'll talk about how you can avoid sitting on hot stoves in the future."
Er, folks, you do get my point. I have for the past week been researching internet sites for insights on a particular mental disorder I have some personal interest in. Someone I know has been exhibiting some alarming tendencies that I cannot explain especially because of the person's supposed knowledge of the things of God. Of course all that the websites can offer at best is the extremely gloomy picture of doom or at best a 1 in 10 chance that there can ever be a remedy for this "syndrome".
So after a period of despair, I decide to look up purely Christian websites and I stumbled on a gold mine. There is after all a way out. With true repentance comes an opportunity of true healing and that is the starting point for anyone battling with psychological issues. The same way I described above; when you truly accept his Lordship and Salvation, you then have the singular resource (The Holy Spirit) to deal with the mind issue.
From that point on, your spirit (essentially you) and his Spirit then work together to ensure that your mind is renewed and operates in conformity with his will. So to the degree you allow the Spirit to take over; it is to that same degree that your soul will reflect the sanity and order that God expects.
As for your body; I'll discuss that in my next part. The effects are the very things that most doctors wouldn't ever want you to know. Of course, there is a place for medicine and science, after all God is the author of all knowledge, but we'll see just what that place is.
So, friends, next time, you think "that's just how I am" and proceed to exhibit dispositions that are in direct discordance with the order and structure of God, remember that there is a way out. That doesn't have to be how you are!