How can we respond in a good way when things go wrong?

In the last post, we saw that we are composed of three parts–body, soul and spirit.

Sunset Each of the three parts of us is
not independent of the others.  For
example, most of us have experienced times when we get physically sick.  Sometimes this causes us to feel emotionally
depressed.  This is the body
impacting the soul.  If this in
turn prevents us from spending time with the Lord, then it has impacted our
spirit too. A beautiful sunset impacts our senses; it may arouse a sense of joy
that overflows in praise to the Creator. Or maybe we have spent a prolonged
time in waiting on the Lord.  We
feel uplifted in our emotions and we seem to have fresh strength to tackle the
tasks that face us.  This is the
spirit impacting the rest of us.   Our soul impacts the other parts of us
too.  A person who is consistently
stressed may develop physical symptoms such as an ulcer, or may become
spiritually lukewarm.

We can often choose which part of
us is in control.  For example,
maybe we have a bad night’s sleep and wake up feeling a bit under the weather.  We can choose to live from the body: “I
have to take a nap—my body needs more sleep.”  Or we can choose to live from the soul:  “I had a bad night’s sleep and so I’m kinda
cranky today.”  Or we can choose to
live from the spirit:  “The Word of
God says, ‘I will bless the Lord at all time and His praise shall continually
be in my mouth.’  I will praise Him
despite a bad night.”  In choosing
to live a life full of praise, even when we don’t feel like it, we are choosing
to live from the spirit within and it usually does not take long for our
emotions to come in line with our spirit.

One of the ways in which
Christians often unwittingly live from the soul is by reducing the Christian
life to a set of rules—a set of do’s and don’ts to live by.  It is similar to a marriage where the
romance and fun has gone out of the husband/wife relationship and it becomes a
dutiful partnership, dull and dry. 
In contrast, living by the Spirit is a glorious journey, an epic adventure
through life with a friend who walks alongside (the literal meaning of
parakletos often translated “counselor” or “advocate” and used to describe the
Holy Spirit).

As we spend more and more time in
Jesus’ presence we will find it easier and easier to live from the spirit
within.  Romans 12:1, 2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that
you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
  As our mind is renewed, it becomes more
and more attuned to the Spirit within.

2 replies on “How can we respond in a good way when things go wrong?”

Now I’m waiting to see if you’ll write about the renewal of the mind in connection with the strengthening of the spirit, or if you’ll move back in the direction of hearing God. Of course, in my understanding they are both connected.

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