by Steven Gledhill for FREEdom from MEdom Project
“To live with desire is to choose vulnerability over self-protection; to admit our desire and seek help beyond ourselves is even more vulnerable. It is an act of trust. In other words, those who know their desire and refuse to kill it, or refuse to act as though they don’t need help, they are the ones who live by faith. Those who do not ask do not trust God enough to desire. They have no faith. The deepest moral issue is always what we, in the heart of hearts, believe about God.” —John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire
What I want in relationship with God is to please Him with my life. So why then do I journey down roads and paths that prove to be harmful, and while I may experience a sense of satisfaction for a minute, it doesn’t seem to last. Why is it that what I so often settle for seems to be in such dramatic contrast from what I believe in my heart that I want most?
Let’s take a quick look at a passage of Scripture from the prophet Isaiah to set up this teaching. Consider that idols are the obstacles of selfish indulgence that are in the way of embracing God’s best while engaged in the best of relationship with God.
4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.
5 “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?
6 Some people pour out their silver and gold and hire a craftsman to make a god from it.
Then they bow down and worship it!
7 They carry it around on their shoulders, and when they set it down, it stays there.
It can’t even move! And when someone prays to it, there is no answer.
It can’t rescue anyone from trouble.” Isaiah 46:4-7 (NLT)
It’s been said that “good is the enemy of great” (Jim Collins). Perhaps then, ‘better is the enemy of best‘. Ambivalence in recovery and in life tends to be most evident when one settles for good, or good enough, through the process of gratification, at the expense of great and best, which would mean being satisfied to the full. If I am satisfied then I do not need more of a thing, or something else, or something different, or something new. This interplay between better and best is the wrestling match of life. I want best, but if what I get is better, then it tends to be enough. Why settle for better? Because better is better than it was… or better than it is right this instant.
It is the typical human response to settle for ‘better than it was’ or ‘good enough’. Again, why? Because better than it was is good enough. It is better enough. It’s immediate. It’s right now. It’s when instant gratification trumps big picture satisfaction, ignoring altogether adverse consequences. Instant gratification does not care about or respect long-term consequences. If I am in pain, I need relief. If I am bored, I need to be entertained. If I am lonely, I need the company of another. If I am poor, I need resources. If I am in distress, I need some peace. If I am restless, I need to relax. If I am without, I need to be with. If I am bound, I need to be set free. If I am ill, I need a remedy to get well. RIGHT NOW!
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” John 5:1-7 (NKJV)
Did the man answer the question? What did Jesus ask him?
He asked the man what he wanted. Did the man tell Jesus what he wanted? Or had the man already settled for less?
What would have been great and best for the man, even according to his own limited understanding, would have been for Jesus and his friends to help the man into the pool when the waters stirred, whether that Sabbath day or the next. Instead, the paralyzed man settled for understanding. So long as Jesus understood his problem, that was good enough; at least it’s better than it was, when no one seemed to understand or care enough to even ask him what he wanted. “Thanks for caring enough to ask. I’ll take it from here.” At the end of the day, everyone goes their own way and the man is still stuck on the deck of the pool.
Jesus asked the lame man, “Do you want to be made well?” My clients live in a prison. They can reside there for several years. Imagine that an inmate at the prison is called before the warden and asked, “Do you want to be set free?” The inmate responds, “Well, the doors and gates are locked. There is no one that will unlock the cell doors and the gate for me to let me out.”
It actually happens sometimes that an inmate’s case has been reviewed by a judge who in turn reverses the decision on his case and throws out the original verdict, declaring the inmate a free man.
When the warden said to the inmate, “Do you want to be set free?” The inmate gave him an explanation as to why his freedom is impossible and did not answer the question. Of course, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” This is the case with the paralytic. Jesus has the power to set the man free. He knows the man wants his freedom. It’s just ironic, I guess, that when asked he didn’t say so.
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. John 5:8-9 (NKJV)
What on earth did Jesus do there? As far as the record shows, the man never the answered the question about what he wanted. Yet Jesus, typically moved with compassion, was about setting the captive free.
Of course, the man wanted to walk. He may have been ambivalent about his life free from his infirmity. He would have to resume responsibility for life as a productive citizen of his community. He might have to find work if he can get it. He will likely not receive whatever handouts that may have been coming his way; even if they were scraps and crumbs. He might have settled for people feeling sorry for him and showing him pity. They might have been good enough for a time. I doubt he ever imagined that he’d walk again.
And then, Jesus did a thing… HIS thing.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
Through Jesus Christ, the power of God was activated working within this man beyond what he could imagine. It really happened. The man was healed.
I wonder what that felt like… you know… before he actually began to walk. Did he feel something? Could he sense in his nerves and muscles a sense of strength and coordination that gave him the confidence that he could actually walk? It had been almost forty years since his last step. Did Jesus or a friend of his help him to his feet? It must have been quite an event seen by all around the decks of the pool… a really big deal. For the healed man it was a game changer; a life changer. The transformative work of Jesus cut through the man’s ambivalence toward change. The man walked.
But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” John 5:14 (NLT)
Wait a minute; what just happened?
What if the man’s paralysis was a consequence of sin in the first place? What if the man contracted his condition from fornicating with women from the pagan temple? That might be quite a presumption, but it makes for a meaningful point. The sin nature is such that once the man is set free he is set free to choose and to act to gratify the sin nature. According to one’s selfish nature, the choice is made to postpone what is best and great and settle for what is good enough and better in the moment than what it has been. It might be safe to consider that the man was preparing to engage in fornication with someone he would meet at the temple. It is at least possible to suggest that he was relapsing into the very thing that may have paralyzed him almost forty years ago.
I will bet that when he saw Jesus again it made an impact on him. This would be an intervention of another kind, like an addict’s friend or sponsor checking in with him to see that he is going to be alright. Jesus warned him, according to what he had seen and known, that if he returned into his sin that something worse would likely be experienced, whether in this life or the next.
The man had been set free from paralysis but was he entirely free?
Pastor Fran Leeman (LifeSpring Community Church, Chicago-Plainfield) preached one Sunday on this subject and spoke of what Jesus meant when he asked, “Do you want to be made well?”. According to the original Greek text, the question is better translated, “Are you willing to be made whole?” This does a lot to enhance and clarify Christ’s intention behind the question. So when Jesus saw the man again he understood that, while the man could walk, he was still in his sin nature and not whole in his relationship with God.
To be made whole in relationship with Jesus is to come into a disposition of holiness; meaning to be separated from or set apart. Jesus said to strive for perfection, meaning maturity.
If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48 (NLT)
How is that remotely possible? Since I cannot attain to perfection in this life, why try?
The Scripture is meant to challenge me to grow continually in my relationship with God. In the original Greek text, to be perfect (τέλειοι) speaks to those who have attained the full development of inherent powers, in contrast to those who are still in the undeveloped state—adults in contrast to children. Jesus was telling the healed man to not be content with being able to walk; using that power to walk back into a life of sin, which would not be complete freedom from sin, but to strive to grow into the stages of development until mature in everything he is in relationship with God; made whole, living in the best of relationship with God.
The kind of transformative work that God wants to do in our life is beyond what I would even think to want or ask for. Even when God helps us out of difficulty and pain He wants to do in us so much more, for our benefit. What did Jesus really mean when He said, “Be ye perfect”?
“Some people tend to think this means, “Unless you are perfect, I will not help you”; and as we cannot be perfect, then, if He meant that, our position is hopeless. But I do not think he did mean that. I think He meant, “The only help I give is help to become perfect. You may want less, but I will give you nothing less.”
Let me explain. When I was a child I often had a toothache, and I knew if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother—at least not until the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this: I did not doubt that she would give the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would make me go to the dentist the next morning. I could get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain, but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists. I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache.” —C.S. Lewis
Jesus knows today that I am selfish and carnal and will not—cannot—obtain perfection in this life. C.S. Lewis is suggesting that to be perfect is to be made perfect through the transformative work of God in my life and the condition and disposition of my being clothed in the righteousness (God’s best) of Jesus Christ.
Just as with the phrases in Scripture such as “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6) and “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), the word ‘be’ in “be ye perfect” is a passive verb. It is not what you do (since you can’t) but what happens to you when you bring every need to God, rejoicing in relationship with Him. It is what happens to you when you sacrificially give every part of yourself to God in view of His mercy in your life. ‘Be’ is what happens to you when you commit to blessing even those who are hostile toward you for surrendering all into relationship with Christ. You are covered with peace beyond human understanding, transformed into newness of life and mind, and made perfect in the sight of the living God of the universe.
That being said, why do I continue to persist in what I do not want to do with any kind of rational (reasonable, sensible) thought? (Romans 7:14-25)
The reality as that I continue to feed into my emotional responses to desire that, as long as I do, deprive my rational mind (what I know and agree to intellectually) of sufficient nutrients needed to surrender my will and wants over to what God wills and wants for me. How insane is that? How sick is that?
So He asks again, “Do you want to made well?” Do you want to be made whole? Do you want to me made perfect? Do you want to be transformed into newness of life? Do you want peace that transcends comprehension and joy that can’t be described adequately with words?
The truth about ambivalence is this: it can create resistance to change; to getting well and to staying well. The man was once again free to choose, and choose he did. So Jesus challenged the man’s ambivalence again, essentially asking the man a new question: “Do you want to stay well?”
There are those I counsel that will experience something similar; those that will return to active alcohol and drug use; relapse into committing crimes again; most of whom will get caught and be sentenced to substantially more time. Then they will lose contact with their children and loved ones. They will grieve the loss of loved ones while they are locked up. Or even worse, some themselves will get hurt or perhaps killed during a drug deal or robbery gone bad. Criminals themselves are in the line of fire and get robbed and beaten, stabbed and shot. It could be that something worse may happen to them.
All of my clients will leave prison. When I talk to them about what it will take to stay free upon their release, the critical point central to their freedom is understanding and challenging their ambivalence against maintaining the standards of sustained recovery. While they are held prisoner, freedom is of the essence. It is treasured and cherished; invaluable. If prison is hell then freedom is heaven. I will ask the men, Why is heaven not reward enough? Why is it that there is this premium on freedom from inside the prison walls but outside, freedom can become trivial and trite?
When Jesus saw the man he had healed with the opportunity for new life, I suppose he may have asked him similar questions. Why risk it all for temporary, fleeting gratification only to be outdone in the end by adverse consequences so severe that they could again change his course back into bondage, even worse than his previous condition?
It is our nature to forget the pain of past mistakes. We get caught up in the present circumstance and become desensitized to how we struggled before. We might talk about keeping the pain up front; leveraging the remembrance of pain against the instant gratification that is anticipated in the next decision that carries with it enough risk to jeopardize our recovery into freedom.
We will mourn a heartbreak, grieve the loss of a loved one or the loss of something we valued, but in time we will get over it; at least get over it enough to move on and enjoy new things. That is what happened to the man healed by the power of God. Not long after, he went right back to the sin that had such a devastating impact on his life, without much thought to the burden he carried for those thirty-eight years.
Ambivalence is equal and opposite motivations that promote resistance to moving one way or the other. Ambivalence suggests discrepancy between where we are and where we want to be; between what we are and what we want to be. When we experience enough pain and struggle, discrepancy comes in the awareness of what it could be not having the difficulty, leading to resistance toward continuing in the thing that causes the pain and struggle; even if the thing was fun. It’s not fun anymore.
Ambivalence will also create discrepancy from missing out on what was fun at that point when we have become desensitized to the pain, having forgotten the adversity associated with the thing that was fun. Ambivalence will then generate resistance against recovery from the fun thing that was also associated with pain. Enough resistance against the discipline required in recovery from the pain—recovery no longer necessary when the pain is forgotten—and choices are made to reengage in the thing that was fun….. until it (again) hurts too much and is (again) no longer fun. This ambivalence is the catalyst—the cog in the wheel—in the repetitive cycle of addictive behavior.
I want to experience the best of what God wants and has for me… but something inevitably distracts me. What is it that can be so distracting that I would hold back from the best that God has for me? Do you ever feel like that… that you want it but something seems to always be distracting you from surrendering your best to receive God’s best?
It is this ambivalence that inevitably leads to settling for ‘good enough’; settling for “at least it’s better than it was.” Instant gratification is the enemy of that which satisfies completely. When the gratification “wears off” there is a need for more; to repeat again and again until satisfied. Oops, there it is… the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. The different result is satisfaction. When satisfied, there is no need for more, no need for something else when the gratifying thing no longer gratifies.
Can you imagine being paralyzed for most of your life, being set free from the bondage of paralysis, and then at some point not finding satisfaction in your freedom, having forgotten enough the pain and struggle of your infirmity? Why is freedom not reward enough? Why is new life and heaven not reward enough? Why is relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, not reward enough?
It is the human struggle; the never-ending wrestling match between the pursuit of righteousness—living in the best of what God wants and has for me—and the pursuit of what I want from my perspective, settling for what feels right to my selfish, immediate gratification-centered mind. The Apostle Paul referred to this battle as a war between the Spirit of God within the person and the spirit of flesh, the self-centered will within the person.
14 So the trouble is not with the law (God’s moral standard from the Bible), for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Romans 7:14-24 (NLT)
The Apostle Paul at one time was so deceived by what in his carnal thinking he believed to be right that he punished his own people for believing in and following Christ resurrected. In fact, on occasion that punishment resulted in the execution of Christians while the government looked the other way.
Paul’s life changed when he met Jesus in the most personal way, literally being struck down blind and scolded in love by Him, and then healed by God for the purpose of the most vital ministry in human history, second only to the ministry of Jesus himself. And yet, even Paul would go on to become numb enough to God’s glory that his thinking would turn inward and he would struggle as a slave to sin, which he described in Romans chapter 7.
My guess is that by the time Paul wrote about his ambivalence, he was actively seeking recovery through repentance.
But understand this: What Paul claims he hated and did not want to do, he did want to do, or he would not have done it. Even though the things he did that he hates is in direct conflict with what he wants the most—God’s best—he still did the other thing that something in his sin nature wanted to do.
I want this and I want that but they are opposite from each other and in direct conflict with one another. I want God’s best but when I don’t get it when I want it (and might not get until heaven), I become willing to settle for the other thing that my sin nature says to my thoughts, feelings and beliefs that I want, and even need. I hate that!
Jesus was the first to use the metaphor of slavery to describe the issue of sin…
“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.” John 8:34 (NLT)
Then Apostle Peter wrote,
You are a slave to whatever controls you. 2 Peter 2:19 (NLT)
As slaves of sin, Jesus goes on to say,
“There’s no room in your hearts for my message.” John 8:37 (NLT)
The message is,
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NLT)
The truth is, Jesus said,
16 “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” John 3:16-21 (NLT)
Speaking about the truth Jesus said,
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me… “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:1 and 6 (NLT)
About living in this truth, Jesus left a warning and a promise, saying,
“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:9-10 (NLT)
The truth is that there is such good news in the promise laid out in these verses from God’s word. Yet we can stray, become wayward, even lost, as we struggle against the forces of best and worst; the forces of truth and lies; the forces of Spirit and flesh, as Paul put it; the forces of what satisfies in the Spirit versus what gratifies in the flesh.
It’s as though these forces are like magnets and we are stuck in the middle. On one side is our new Spirit nature in relationship with Christ that is the satisfied life that Jesus spoke of, and on the other side is the sin nature that gratifies the flesh (selfish as it is) for a season until real-life consequences steal what felt like happiness.
These magnetic forces are pulling us from both sides, both attractive at their surface. Both forces look good through the lenses of the flesh. Both forces have happy faces. But if you look deep into the eyes of these faces, these eyes are inviting. Look deeper into the eyes and you will find that one set of eyes is an invitation into authentic joy and peace and full of light, while the other set of eyes are deceitful, seducing you into something dark.
But the selfish sin nature is funny about that. There is the thrill of enticement into something uncertain. Somehow you are compelled by that. It’s like approaching the edge of a cliff. You will advance closer and closer to the edge until you get a pretty good look and then there is a surge of fright and you jump back. The problem with the sin that leads to instant gratification is that in the jumping back, the rocks give way from under you and you fall, plunging into the depths of the consequences of sin. What we don’t get is that the sin draws us in until it is too late to turn back.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. James 1:14-15 (NLT)
This is what Jesus meant when he said to the healed man, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Even worse than what? Than paralysis? Yes! When drawn away—dragged away—by desire, we become stuck in our selfish ways until the edge of the cliff collapses and we plunge into the depths of our unrighteousness until we die in our sin. That is what is worse.
It is in the ambivalence we have about living in the best of what God has and wants for us that we allow ourselves to be seduced by instant gratification. Even as a believer in the Gospel, “If the best of God is heaven, if the best of God is peace and joy in the glory of all that God is, yet being that I have not experienced that kind of peace and joy and so I don’t know what I am missing, then I will settle for the best of the peace and the so-called joy that I can get from the world in this life at this time.”
I believe that was the problem Paul wrestled with until he turned to something better than instant gratification.
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7:24-25 (NLT)
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. Philippians 3:7-10 (NLT)
Wow! So, that’s it! I love that! Now, how do I get to that place?
Paul’s not done yet…
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT)
Wow! So, that’s it! I love that! Now, how do I get to that place?
Paul’s not done yet…
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world (of this time), but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
Jesus is asking you the question, “Do you want to be made well? Do you want to be set free? Do you want it enough to let go and let Me do what I do in your life?”
Will you answer the question? No explanations, rationalizations, and justifications. Please, just answer the question.
At some point, I suppose I can quit interjecting my thoughts and let the Word of God do all of the talking. I believe God has given me this word for you. Now, live in the truth and the perfect will of God for you.
Oh, one more thing and I’ll stop… promise.
Live as Jesus did with this in mind from his mouth when he explained to some religious know-it-alls how he acted on God’s holy authority when he healed the man on the Sabbath, saying,
“I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.” John 5:30 (NLT)
Even Jesus understood surrender to the care and plan of God as vital to resisting temptation in the face of whatever ambivalence he may have experienced along the way as a man with human desire from a human nature. What evidence is there that Jesus experienced ambivalence? We have the event of adolescent Jesus staying behind when mom said it was time to go. We have the event of Jesus resisting the miracle of turning water into wine (telling his mother it’s bad timing) before actually turning water into wine. We have the event in the garden of Jesus pleading repeatedly for another way to satisfy the debt of sin. Jesus understood the pull of human nature and desire (read Hebrews 4:14-16).
Jesus, fully man on the earth, having laid down all of his divine nature and privilege, a) admitted that he was powerless without the authority of almighty God at work in his life; b) believed that all authority was from God and that living his human life under that authority is right and best, and c) committed to turn over his own will and life over to the will and care of God as he understood God to have all authority and control. Jesus did that.
If that is what Jesus did to live his time fully man in the best of what God his Father wanted and had for him, why would you or I live any different than that?
When you come to realize something so profound to be true and right in your deepest sensibilities, agreeing with it intellectually and morally, it changes you. Sensible reason is set free, no longer held hostage by impulsive emotion. It’s that truth that sets you free. Your values about what you own change as you are willing to let go of whatever it is you value and own (that likely own you) in exchange for that which God owns and values for you.
So, the question stands. Do you want God’s best… or will you settle for yours? Do you want His best enough?
Reach out to the Savior, Jesus Christ, and ask Him to cleanse you from all that is (even a little) dirty and messy, essentially all that is selfish in how you process what you want and what you do to gratify your desires. Ask for wisdom to challenge your ambivalence that offers up the resistance to best right living in every circumstance. Then turn from the force of instant gratification and walk with Jesus into the eternal satisfied life that is right now, in this time. As He transforms you by the renewing of your mind, let Him fill your head and your heart with His desires.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 (NLT)
Now… STAY WELL in the life of all that is best in your life with Jesus.
Author’s Note: I experienced an incredible teaching (by Apostle Angela Thibeaux, Wounded Warrior Campaign) concerning the restoration of the soul; that for me plays right into what this blog post is all about. Apostle Thibeaux spoke of the soul as the vehicle that drives the action of the body—behavior. The spirit of the man can be in agreement with spiritual truth while the soul of the man may just as well reject such spiritual truth, which, when behavior is inconsistent with what the spirit knows to be truth, drives activity that the spirit does not want to do. Therefore, I do what I don’t want to, and even do what I hate. I have been inspired to write Waging the War Within (Why Seek the Living Among the Dead?).