We left off last time looking at 'Insecurities' and their powerful grasp on our beliefs and actions. As long as we are continually repeating behaviors with responses that have us constantly confronting and grappling with our insecurities, that’s where we remain. One of the most interesting things about encountering and then growing through the experience of each life ‘lesson’ is the higher we ascend the easier and faster the climb can become.
It is like learning to ride a bike or parallel park a vehicle. At first, the skills needed for success may seem too difficult to contemplate. And yet, before we know it, we are riding that bike at high speed with no hands. Or, we have mastered the parallel parking challenge like a professional trucker. Overcoming the challenge of each lesson provides confidence and experiential learning to draw upon for the next lesson or challenge.
Parenthetically, these lessons can each or all, be happening simultaneously, in sequence, or in any order and degree of intensity and frequency at any time. Crazy huh? In fact the more success you have integrating your mastery of one or more, the easier they become and the more ‘skilled’ you become at applying the totality of you to accomplishing conquer and control over each one.
The more spiritually grounded we become, the more opportunities we recognize to emulate Christ in character and nature by our thoughts, words, and deeds. So, think of our chart like this:
We start at the bottom (Insecurity) and ‘work’ our way up. Once we have grappled with insecurity(s) and learn how to neutralize their effects, we can begin to recognize the opportunities and challenges represented by and in other lessons. The more we respond to our life situations by being Responsible, Reliable, Dependable, Accountable, and Credible, the stronger our spiritual awareness develops in guiding us. The more we listen and accept its counseled directions, the farther and faster we can grow.
When we're operating within lessons learned, we will have gained the confidence necessary to take on 'Risk'. This challenge represents an esoteric transition between our humanity and God's spiritual character and nature, (Trust, Commitment, Forgiveness, Truth and Love [in and through Christ]).
These 'steps' appear long and arduous right? The fact is for many they are. For each of us, our existence is a lifelong adventure with twists and turns designed to give us each as many opportunities as possible to encounter, engage, embrace, and experience the challenge and succeed in growth. There is a ‘key’ to unlocking the stress, struggle, and conflicts presented by life’s lessons. That key rests and relies in our ‘active’ or ‘inactive’ spirit.
Remember, the active spirit is engaged with and for us, totally and freely. While the inactive spirit is a mere place holder, waiting for us to call it to action. The active or inactive spirit, which do you have today? Which do you want for your future?
Join me next time when we discover 'How and Why' spiritual grounding and growth is essential for establishing balance for ourselves and our relationships.
Many think ‘spirituality’ is an “all or nothing” proposition. Religions often present themselves in that light, deliberately or by accident. Religions’ primary goals are to convince and convert. Efforts to ‘box God in’ by matching scriptural interpretations and dogma, makes ecclesiastics for current and traditional cultural/political ideologies a pathway away from the words and intents of Christ Jesus.
Spirituality is not all or nothing. It’s also not ‘One and Done’ (although it may be for many). Spirituality is a completeness of mind, spirit and soul. Spirituality is an attitude, belief, and perception. Your spirit is counselor and guide. It's your conduit to God’s Spirit. Spirituality is all of these, and more.
When you respond in His spirit, life becomes filled with peace, calm and understanding. When you talk with God you begin to recognize His hand at work. Once you recognize this you’ll witness the manifestations of His word, in action. When we communicate with Him, He responds with consequential options.
There are no ‘degrees’ of spirituality. There are no ‘grades, levels’ or ecclesiastic hierarchies. Your spirit exists. It dwells in your soul. A spirit is either ‘active’ or ‘inactive.’ An active spirit connects to conscience and mind, and in/through Christ communicates with the Spirit of God. Think of it as courtroom litigation. You are the defendant, your spirit is your lawyer/counselor, Christ is the judge, arbitrator and mediator, and God the Father is the final court of appeal.
The inactive spirit is exactly that; inactive. It’s there, waiting. Waiting to be acknowledged and called upon. Ready to respond on your behalf, immediately and as often as needed. Waiting. The inactive spirit is engaged only in situations when 'right and wrong' are at issue, and yet, 'right v. wrong' is the essence of moral and ethics in action. The active part (of the inactive spirit) connects to the sub conscience in this way. But sans a spiritual connection too often remains a moot option.
We each arrive in the world naked and alone. We each arrive with an inactive spirit in possession of a base innate moral/ethical awareness. The lessons of life are the same for everyone. But beginning day one, things change. The lessons on each separate path remain the same, littering the way are choices and consequences. And what are those lessons? What challenges do we each face, no matter our nature or nurture environs? What are the underlying growth opportunities that lie in wait as the foundational pillars to be exposed and extrapolated by tests, trials and tribulations encountered along the path?
These are the lessons we each must encounter and somehow embrace, to whatever degree, for growth to be experienced:
Let’s look at this list visually. Even though our ‘playing field’ started out as 'equal and level' with our first breath, when our personal trajectory sparked to life and our journey began everything changed. Our self reckoning is initially bathed in “Insecurity.” It’s our insecurities that hold us back. It’s our insecurities that keep us tightly bound in a net of confusion and doubt. As long as we’re in its grasp we are unable to break free.
Let me make this point again because it’s the key to future freedom. We start our lives mired in the muck of our insecurities. It’s where our interactions start and where, sadly many remain. Breaking free through the advent and prescription of reflective identity can take time. For some it's years, for others it can be a lifetime. No matter who we are or what we believe, we are each on a path that leads back to God through reflective identity. Some abandon this journey of contemplative growth altogether. Confronting insecurities from first cognition until last breath takes effort, energy and confidence. As long as we are subconsciously embroiled with or by our insecurities, we are trapped. Unable to grow and confront other life lessons which lay in wait before us can cause indefinite postponement.
Sadly, this is all too common for much of the world’s population. Too many people spend much of their time making choices grounded in false, self-serving desires. We live in a world which keeps us locked in struggle and conflict. Those caught in the grasp of insecurity experience constant stress and consternation between confrontation and escape (mechanisms).
Using the chart above, our life’s journey is to rise out of insecurity, up through other challenges along the way to truth and love. Our challenge is to make the journey step-by-step, with each building upon the previous, to grow. Sounds easy enough, right?
Join me next time when we look closer at where we are and where we might want to be.
From the clarion call of John 3:16 to the moment a journey of spiritual refinement is undertaken, the new testament path for every believer is in Jesus as the Christ/Messiah. To be reunited spiritually after a life of options, lessons, choices, and consequences we must have a mediator who knows us intimately from firsthand human experiences. This man must be acceptable to God, Father and Spirit. For this reason, he must be of God, directly. As close as father and son. They must share as one the same holiness, as to be exclusive among all creatures.
Such a man was foretold of for millennia. He was witnessed and recorded. For his followers and disciples, He is the key. The way. The “truth and the life.” He is and was with God but agreed to be manifested human incarnate to serve as our substitute in death.
He was Holy and came that way to us. Into a world of evil, lies, fabrications and deceit. He lived with men and women without sin. He told us who he is and why he came. His roles and purpose. If we choose to believe his thoughts, words and deeds to be true, He in His power as God will resurrect our spirit to everlasting life with Him.
We live in a state of moral and ethical disobedience (‘sin’) by our choices of heart, mind, and body. By believing His story to be true and accurate, we accept his holy role and purpose to fulfill God’s desire to reconcile to Himself all humans who would believe in their hearts, trust with their mind and confess with their mouths; Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9-10,17).
Your invitation allows the Holy Spirit of God (Father and Son) to come and abide with you. He will be your aide and counselor and will guide your steps, whenever you ask. However, even with a ‘new spiritual lease on life’ we all die as sinners. For that reason, our stained spirits and souls must be ‘cleansed’ and made new in the image of God’s character and nature.
Think of it like refining a precious metal; gold or silver. The metal (spirit) has acquired impurities and debris during its existence and to increase its value, must be made pure again. This is done with extreme heat, until all impurities have been burned away or extinguished. Only then is the quality at its highest value.
It’s the same way with the spirited soul of the believer and follower of Christ. The impurities gained over a lifetime must be removed by the intense fire of the unconditional burning love Christ has for his believers. Just as gold and silver reach its quality zenith through the refining fire and flames, so too the ‘sinner’ is refined to be new again to the highest possible quality (John 3:7, 15). When we die our spirited soul leaves our bodies to return to Christ’s glory. We are ‘cleansed’ of our sins in the refining fire of God’s love through Jesus’ sacrifice for our spiritual redemption and reconciliation. We now know how to get from here to there.
All the best,
Interestingly we spend most of our time alone. No matter how much interaction we share with others; families, friends, coworkers. No matter how busy or involved with others we may find ourselves, most of our ‘mind time’ is focused on and with us. The on-going conversation we engage in most often is with ourselves as our minds are occupied with ‘self’ during most of our waking time and resting energy.
The focus and direction of these inner conversations usually involve our reactions and responses to decisions, demands and choices we confront daily. Many people feel they are ‘on their own’ and every choice they face may contain costly or caustic implications. Whether sharing with others or not, we’re never actually alone, for we each possess an ‘active or inactive’ spirit.
Held in check, the inactive spirit we were born with is swayed or influenced by fear and inadequacies prompted or promoted by doubt and consternation. Confidence and joy are held captive by the inactive spirit. A spirit becomes ‘active’ when it responds with acceptance the revelation of Jesus as Christ.
God has a way forward for the spiritual believer whose faith now abides with the shared spirit of Christ. The embolden spirit enveloped in truth sees the world’s ‘players’ for who they, and their motivations are. The active spirit recognizes how actions and reactions expose agendas. Active spiritual strength reveals the truth in every situation. The question is not, will God’s indwelt spirit respond to assist and guide us? The question becomes “will we hear, listen and respond as He shares with us what He would have us do?”
Jesus explained, ‘when we willingly surrender the crown of our heart to belief and faith in God’s Holy Trinity through recognition of His role as the Son of God, He will send His spirit as a ‘counselor.' His indwelt spirit abiding with ours is ever ready to serve as guide and aide. We simply recognize His spiritual presence and ask for His assistance. In every case, His living spiritual presence will answer by sharing the best response.
“Jesus” as spirit has always existed as part of and within the totality of God, as “Holy Spirit”. Think of it this way, the ‘Godhead’ is the Holy Spirit. Spiritual by His nature and Holy in His character. Within His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, He is all powerful, all knowing and all present. His holiness sets Him apart and above all else. His desire is to share His majesty and magnificence with all He created. This compels Him to invest His Spiritual presence within all creation.
As Holy Spirit, “God” possesses all facets of life by His very nature and character. In His breath is the power of creation. He creates through His breath, by His Word. One ‘identity’ we associate with this Holy Spirit, we name and call ‘the Father’ for His love is that of an unconditional loving parent. In this way we see His two ‘personality’ roles interacting as “Spirit and Father”.
To set in motion His desire to ‘not be alone’ in His created universe. To insure His glory and magnificence is recognized, honored and worshiped it is/was necessary for Him (as Spirit and Father) to provide the way for living creatures with capacity to understand Him, the opportunity to be with Him spiritually. Remember, “God” is Holy and Spiritual, therefore only holy (unblemished/unstained), or ‘cleansed’ spiritual creatures can be in His presence.
God as Father cannot be in human presence, in light of our proclivity to moral and ethical disobedience (‘sin’). Our physical nature however has the capacity (and does) possess the capability of ‘housing’ a spirit of originality that is part of Him as creator. Our spirit is a part of His Spirit, therefore His Spirit has the capacity to abide with ours.
Join me next time when we explore the ‘spark’ that kindles and allows His Spirit to be with ours.
In the Hawaiian language, "Mana'o" (ma na o) is the word used to describe 'thoughts, ideas, and opinions'.
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