As I was watching TV a few years back, there was a Marine recruiting commercial that caught my attention. The commercial claimed that it was not just a test of the strength of the spirit, but of the mind and body and soul. “Wow”, I thought, “This must be what God has called us to be .. like a Marine”. Another Marine commercial says, “It is more than a trial by fire, it is a rite of passage. A challenge to join the elite. And if you succeed and if you master your fear and outsmart your enemy and never yield to yourself .. You will be changed forever.” Don’t you just love the analogy?
What is the test of strength? It begins in the mind. God is transcendent and humans are called to be transcendent as well. We are commanded to conform to the mind of Jesus Christ. We are not only to have the moral and spiritual mind of Christ, but we must strive for the rational mind of Christ as well. The devil, in all his cleverness and subtlety, was no match for Jesus. Whatever the devil threw at Him, He was quick with a piercing reply. The Pharisees and Saduccees tried unrelentingly to trap Him in His own Words and actions. They never succeeded in their attempts. Millions followed Him just to hear Him speak, His words carried such truth and revelation and life to all those that wanted to hear. He held audiences captive for days at a time … Even to the extent of the crowds going without food, in which He had compassion and fed them. He never failed to be without a metaphor and parable for those that sought to understand and those that refused to understand. He possessed a penetrating and unmatched insight into the human character.
What about the mind? We must remind ourselves often, that we have the mind of Christ and this means we are in a continual developing process with our minds. We must strive to develop our rational minds to the fullest capacity. Eccl. 1:18 does tell us that with much wisdom comes much grief. Hence, we are given the Comforter. Knowledge and wisdom are precious, but unless properly balanced and utilized, they become too heavy a burden and can cripple the carrier to the extent of immobilization or failure. The evangelical rational mind is an unmistakably necessary key to winning souls for the kingdom of God. Rationality is a must. We should desire and ask for, believe for and receive the gifts of wisdom and knowledge so that our minds become like His mind. To love as He loved. To rebuke as He rebuked. To increase as He increased. A lack of knowledge (Godly knowledge) is associated with fools and destroys people. Jesus, though thinking as a human thinks, also became learned in Godly knowledge and we can follow His example. (Luke 2:30)
What about the body? The body is referred to as the temple of the Holy Spirit Himself. 1 Cor. 6:19&20 tells us that our bodies do not belong to us. We are as stewards over our bodies. Our bodies belong to God. It would be reasonable then that we should take care of our bodies and be the masters of our bodies. Paul claimed that he buffeted his body. This means that he put his body under subjection to the Will of God. When I think of Paul buffeting his body, I think of him refraining from sexual tendencies. I think of him as watching what he eats and eating what is beneficial to allow him to carry out the plan of God for his life. I think of him keeping himself fit and ready to face whatever adversities he was accustomed to coming in contact with, and then some he was not so accustomed to enduring. I imagine Paul to be not only an exceptional Apostle, but also to be a lean mean fighting machine .. both physically and spiritually.
What about the soul? This may be one of the most misunderstood realms of the Christian walk. This is where the personality and character and will of a person is located. Though, the separation from God began in the mind, it quickly permeated the entire soul. The human spirit fizzled and died and burned down to a barely discernible ember and the soul took control. The soul is the seat of emotions and passions and appetites and without our spirit relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance, it is lost in the ability to recognize God. In today’s society, those that are unsaved confuse the soul and spirit of humans and many claim to know and speak to God yet God says this is not possible (Romans 8:1-16). When we are reborn our spirits are given life and a reconditioning of the soul begins and should never cease. The reformation of the soul is a continual work in progress for the Christian. (Without reformation or spiritual growth, the Christian will remain carnal in their thoughts and speech and actions.)
Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed– Booker T. Washington
Christians have a lifetime of obstacles to overcome, and the need for a Lord and Savior is on a continual basis as they are commanded to grow in love and truth and light in a world of indifference and deceit and darkness. There is a vast difference in religion of the world and Christianity. Religion strives to bring God down to their level. True Christianity strives to rise up to His level.