DISCIPLESHIP – Anatomy 101

by Eric Djafroodi

In our current sermon series, Aaron has been talking about how each of us is uniquely made and how we must seek and pursue God according to how he has made us as individuals. We are all different. But we all are also similar in fundamental ways as well. That is why the Gospel is good news for ALL people—because we all have the same need to have our souls redeemed from sin and to be transformed into the image of Christ. If we intend to faithfully live as Jesus’ disciples, it requires that every dimension of our being becomes aligned with his will. The point of spiritual disciplines and training in godliness is to shape our whole lives, our character, to reflect God’s glory.

Our nature is basically the same for all of us, even though the particulars of our personality, gifts, and talents are very different. For example, we all have a Spirit. If you look at the scriptures, our spirit is also referred to as our heart and our will. This is where our choices originate. It’s the root of our being where our freedom and creativity reside. This is where the power to do good or to do what is evil comes from. Jesus said that this is the source of sin… Mark 7:21-23  "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  (22)  coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  (23)  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

We all have a mind, and therefore we all have thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts are our perceptions, imagination and ideas. Our feelings are what incline us toward or away from the things that come to our mind in thought. When we think about food, cars, jobs, relationships or God, our feelings are intricately attached. Are our thoughts pleasant, painful, attractive, or repulsive? We have no feeling without a thought in mind and no thought without some feeling associated. Our thoughts and feelings are interdependent.

We all exist in a body, which is our primary energy source of “strength.” This is what we live from. It’s our personal power pack for exercising our will in relationship to God, ourselves and others. Our body possesses powers of its own that can be formed towards evil or transformed for good. Paul wrote Galatians 5:17  "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” The flesh is our natural power as human beings, based in our body, which our minds were completely “set on” before the Spirit of God made us alive to Him. Biblically, the body is not essentially evil and CAN and MUST be TRANSFORMED.

And we are all social beings needing to be deeply connected to others. We know that LONELINESS is a huge problem in our culture that drives people to despair. We need to belong and be in accepting, nurturing relation to others. A baby that does not bond with its mother or someone can be wounded for life or even die. The most fundamental “other” is obviously God Himself. We can only be in right relationship to other people, when we stand in the right relationship to God.

And we all have a soul that interrelates all of the other dimensions of the self to form ONE LIFE. It encompasses and organizes the WHOLE PERSON. It’s like the computer running the show in background and you only become consciously aware of it when something breaks. The scriptures often refer to the soul in third person. Psalm 42:5-6 "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar."

If we intend to follow and obey Jesus, then we need to understand how we are made and how to surrender our WHOLE being to His will. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment involves loving God with EVERY dimension of who we are, which will then enable us to rightly love others. Mark 12:30-31 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  (31)  The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." This should be the overriding pursuit of everyone who calls Jesus Lord.