The I in Team
My wife loves a manicured and curb appealing yard. She often goes out to dig up weeds or plant flowers in the yard outside our home. Personally, I have no green thumb and according to our allergist I am extremely allergic to both grass and trees. Unpleasant bouts of sneezing and my lack of desire regarding manual labor more often than not prevent me from helping my wife in the yard. My wife jokingly calls my inability to help in the yard the cross she bears.
I thought of this interaction while reading, Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. In the book, it is posed that when facing any choice in life there is a tangible distinction behind who is making said choice. You might think, “If I am making the choice, who else would it be?”
As a Christian, I was taught that every person has a body, soul and spirit. These distinctions separate us from animals and, in my opinion, also act as evidence that were created by God in His image. Lapin surmises that every choice we make in life serves ones of those three distinctions. He simply states that we commonly refer to the different parts of ourselves when we say things like, “I want to go out to eat or I like to dance.”
Who is the “I” in those sentences?
Is it my soul that wants a cheeseburger or my body? Is it my spirit that prays in a heavenly language or my mind (another term for soul)? Is it my body, mind or spirit that decides not to go outside and help my wife with the yard?
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
The above Scriptures highlight a truth that all Christians could benefit from becoming well versed in and also intentional about consulting when making decisions – which is that our individual human choices stem from various parts of our being. In other words, inside each of us is a body comprised of three parts (body, soul and spirit) and they are all vying for the opportunity to be in charge of the one choice we make in any given situation.
My soul doesn’t want for a second helping of dinner. Instead, my body decided it wanted me to indulge. Similarly, it is my spirit and not my body that chooses to pray and visit a weekly church service. My soul – which creates our likes and dislikes, often decides what I will watch on TV and which of my friends I choose to call today because my body has no desire in these areas.
Even though there is a team of different parts of myself determining what choices “I” make, only “I” am seen as the one who makes them. In regards to being human, it seems there is an “I” in team.
A problem facing believers today is that the enemy is aware of the distinct pieces of our human creation. When we face temptation of any kind, our various parts are being tempted by the enemy to make choices outside of the will of God. Since no one besides God can always see the motivations of our choices, many believers can be led to make choices that are not in our best interest because we sometimes don’t even know our own heart, or reason, for making the choices we make.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
God’s word in the above verses, thankfully, conclude that there is no temptation from which that we cannot escape. These verses also remind us that we need to be protected with an armor from and submit ourselves to God in order to truly resist the schemes of the enemy. We do those things in large part through reading God’s word and prayer.
The two common practices of a Christian life are often not done enough by those that proclaim to have found salvation through Christ. If they were being done more regularly by individuals, I would imagine we would see a lot more individuals making choices that coincide with God’s will instead of our own. I have to include myself in that list and you might consider doing the same. Are you always escaping temptation?
Sinful passions, laziness and the inability to forgive are all temptations by an enemy to get “you” off course by leading your three part self in different directions. Fortunately, there is hope through Christ to avoid temptation, resist the enemy and endure our trials, however, none of those things are truly possible without Him. I would encourage you to get close to God and invite His voice into your decision making process.
Before making a choice, try and identify which part of your three part being is leading the way. Be aware, however, that there may be a fourth voice in the conversation trying to distract you from the will of God and lead you to make wrong choices. That advisaril voice may not sound unpleasant. In fact, the voice of the enemy often sounds like the choice with the best short term benefit. Don’t listen to that voice, however, because the adversary has no long term benefit for your life. Thankfully, God’s word says you can learn to know the difference (John 10:5)
If you know what God wants you to do, it doesn’t matter what “you” or “I” think it only matters what “you” and “I” do. The important takeaway is to allow God to be part of your team of decision makers. His choice will always lead us in the right direction, even if, being led by God looks different for all of us. For me, following God may just mean I have to go spend some time out in the yard.
John Simmons is the President of Testimony House Ministries. He writes a daily blog for Testimony House each week day. He is the author of God Has a Sentence for Your Life and Finding Faith. Follow John on social media @newjohnsimmons. You can also watch John hosts various live streaming programs on the Testimony House Network each week.