Back-to-Basics Core Concepts #1: Get Over Your Intelligence

Posted: October 17, 2015 in Christianity, God, Jesus Christ, religion
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Sin, deliverance, grace, faith and mercy.  We throw these words around freely assuming that people understand what they mean. Yet one can’t help but think, “Do people truly understand the Gospel and its significance for their lives?”  Are people grasping the basic teachings and foundations of Christianity?  Do we truly understand what it means to be saved and have eternal life through Jesus Christ?  So in my last post I began to talk about how we in sharing our faith and even every now and again as we teach and preach from the pulpit, have to lay down the basics of Christ and Christianity for our audience.

But before I can go any further however, I think it is absolutely necessary to lay out what I consider to be some essential truths or perspectives that I personally consider PARAMOUNT in following God through Jesus Christ. I learned pretty early-on if you get a good handle of these concepts, its makes it just a little easier to develop and grow in your relationship with the Lord.  This list is by no means exhaustive and please note the disclaimer that this is my personal opinion.  I am sure others and perhaps even some of you reading right now if asked may have similar overlapping suggestions or perspectives that may be somewhat different. Either way, I pray that this list will help bring some enlightenment and understanding to someone as we aim to go back to the basics of Christianity.

Here we go…

1) You cannot follow God strictly by intellect.  Get over how brilliant you think you are.

I know….Ouch!  But yes, you are hearing right.  The truth is, you are just not that smart.  This was a difficult lesson I had to learn firsthand because of the way I am naturally wired. Listen, I’m blessed to work as a medical professional.  By nature I am analytical, detail –oriented and somewhat of a deep thinker.  Confidence, sound judgment and at times quick decisive action are just a few of the skills that I must have in my arsenal in order to care for those who walk through my office door.  All of these facets of intellect allow me to do what I do, just as it allows you to perform certain tasks using the talents and gifts you have been given.

It’s not quite so simple when it comes to the Lord. Why?  Because God is beyond human understanding.  He is an oxymoron in every way. He’s in some ways simple yet mind-blowingly complex; He is loving, gentle, compassionate and meek and at the same time frightening and terrible, especially in times of anger or quite frankly just because of His majestic power.  He can come quiet as a dove or as forceful as a raging fire storm. He knows everything about everything at all times and in all places. Sometimes He gives, sometimes He takes away. Sometimes He punishes, sometimes He pardons.  I could go on and on. My point is, you could merge together the genius of the world’s greatest minds throughout history and it would not begin to scratch the surface of God’s wisdom and knowledge.  And on top of that, He shares with us what He chooses to share.  So there are things you will learn and understand about God because He chooses to share them. And things you will not know because he hides it or alternately because our limited human minds cannot understand it.

A widely accepted basic belief that is rooted in the teachings of ancient philosophers and commonly accepted in Christianity and among many world religions today is that human beings are essentially made of 2 main parts:   the material and the immaterial or what is considered the natural (the things in the world we can detect with our human senses) and supernatural (those things in the world that are present beyond the natural senses).  That being said, there are different theories proposed to further explain the makeup of human beings with 2 such popular thoughts in Christianity being the tripartite theory and bipartite theory of humankind. Stay with me now! The tripartite theory asserts that human beings are comprised of three main parts:  body, soul and spirit.  The bipartite theory asserts that human beings are made up of two parts:  body and soul/spirit.  So in other words, although tripartite and bipartite theory share the belief that human beings are made of the body, bipartite theory sees no separation between soul and spirit.  The word soul or the word spirit are different words that can both be used to describe the same thing.[1] Tripartite theory would argue that the soul is a distinct entity and the spirit is a distinct entity.  For reasons beyond the scope of discussion for this blog post, my personal belief is in the tripartite theory of man so I will elaborate more from that perspective.  I hope you are still with me? I know some of this detailed information may seem pointless, but trust me in believing you will soon see that these points will help to bring greater insight into why following God is not strictly about intellect and reason.   Almost there!

So the body constitutes the natural or material part of us. It would include our natural senses, organs and limbs for example.  It is essentially the parts of us that can be seen, heard, touched, smelled, etc. and it is also through the natural senses that we interact with the natural world we live in.

The soul and spirit are considered to be more supernatural aspects of ourselves and the parts we know the least about. The soul is made up of the mind (intellect, reasoning and judgment), will (the power of choosing one’s own actions, conscious choice in regards to actions or thoughts, desires)[2] and emotions (feelings).  It is through the soul that we have our cravings, passions, appetite and desires for certain things.   You can now imagine why someone with a “sick” soul can make bad decisions based on irrational judgment or unhealthy emotions.

And then there is the spirit. This is perhaps the most mysterious and supernatural aspect of us that we know.  The spirit is believed to be the part of us that makes us conscious or aware of God.

It operates in ways outside of the natural world as we know it. Now am I saying we don’t use our minds in some capacity to have a relationship with God? Of course not.  You have to love and follow God with every dimension of your being:  your body, your soul and your spirit.   But the ego and pride that naturally comes with our human intellect must be buried to follow and love God. First as I keep emphasizing, your intellect is less than adequate to fully decipher the vastness of God so there is no reason to boast. Second, if you approach God with a superior know-it-all mindset, how can you ever humble yourself and give Him the reverence that He demands and the honor that He is due?

Because of sin (deeper discussion in later posts), every human being is born with what is known as an unregenerate spirit. It means by nature, humans are naturally wicked and we naturally oppose the things of God. However, when we open ourselves, surrender our will and allow God’s Spirit to have an authentic encounter with our spirit, he will give you the gift of spiritual regeneration.  In other words, God will illuminate, renew, restore and transform your spirit and cause you to gravitate to Him. And your regenerated spirit, under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit will then influence your soul and body to live a life that honors and desires God and the things of God.[3]  The deeper in relationship you get with God, the more your appetite and cravings will be for Him and what He represents. Through this ongoing transforming process, you will learn to love the Lord God with all your body, soul and spirit.  It is

especially through our spiritual connection with God, as God Himself is a Spirit that we get insight based on what God shares with us that is outside of what the mind can understand.  It is primarily by the leading of our spirit by God’s Spirit that we love Him, obey Him and love each other, even the unlovable, when it naturally doesn’t make sense and when we naturally would choose to do the opposite.  It is God’s amazing Spirit that enables us to do extraordinary things beyond our natural human ability. The concept of the spirit will come up over and over again in this Back to Basics series where I can elaborate further on this crucial part of who we are.  Furthermore, this Spirit-to spirit connection between us and our Creator is why people can still worship, have relationship and connection with God despite mental, intellectual or physical disability.  The point is not to get hung on the details but to realize that God connects with us prominently through the supernatural aspects of ourselves.  He wants to have a deep connection with you!

At the risk of becoming too long winded, I will stop here for now.  Looks like each concept will have to be its own separate post versus completing it all in one writing as I initially thought.

So remember—the mind and the intellect is a gift from God.  But make it easier on yourself and humble yourself from now. Never think you are sharp enough to outthink or fully grasp Him.  He will baffle you every time.  A mind tempered in humility is the best mind to have….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

Bibliography

[1] Strauss, Lehman, “Man A Trinity (Body, Soul, Spirit),” published June 14, 2004, https://bible.org/seriespage/2-man-trinity-spirit-soul-body (accessed October 14, 2015).

[2] Dictionary.com, s.v. “Willl,” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/will (accessed October 17, 2015).

[3] Strauss, Lehman  “Man A Trinity (Body, Soul, Spirit)

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