Do Christians Have a Split Personality?
What a difference a day makes! Sunday you’re in church where people love you, where you’re at peace with God and filled with love, basking in His presence. Then Monday comes. Home is hectic and disorganized. Every single driver on the road has it in for you, the boss snaps you up for no good reason and your co-workers hate you.
The world has hammered you hard, so when you get back home, everybody had better watch out for your patience is long gone. Sound familiar? We can be one person at church and totally different during the rest of the week if we’re not careful. It’s hard to recognize it in ourselves because we see ourselves as that same good church person all the time, not as a hypocrite. Why do we fail to be the people we think we are? Why do we fail to sustain the personalities we think we have?
The Apostle Paul wrote, “… I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 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.” (Romans 7:18-19 NLT)
We tell ourselves that it’s the circumstances that make the difference. Well, it’s more than the circumstances; it’s our split personality!
The Bible says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? …” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT)
The temple of God, as described in the Bible, was divided into three distinct areas. The outer court where anyone could enter, the holy place where the priests enter, and the holy of holies where only the high priest was permitted to enter once a year in order to make a sacrifice for all the people. It is the holiest part of the temple, the place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and the presence of God met and communicated with man. There is a trinity to the temple’s design.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and there is a trinity to our design as well. We are a spirit, we possess a soul, and live in a body. Our body is like the outer court of the temple. It is there for the entire world to see. It is our connection to the world through our five senses, without which, we could not communicate with the world.
Our soul is like the holy place in the temple. It’s between our spirit and body. It is where our mind, will, and emotions rest. It’s our connection between the spiritual and the physical, heaven and earth.
Our spirit is like the holy of holies, the innermost sacred part of the temple. It’s the place where God dwells, heaven is approached, and where we fellowship with the Lord.
Our spirit, soul, and body are in constant rivalry. We determine in our soul if we are going to be more body-oriented or spirit-oriented. This is the struggle we endure. This is where the split happens. The pull and tug between our fleshly body, which craves the things of the world, and our spirit, which craves the things of God, can become fierce unless we keep our body under control and seek God through our spirit. Our body will rule us unless we die to self and embrace the presence of God through our spirit.
We become born again by asking Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and come into our heart. Our spirit becomes alive to God when this happens and we have a new relationship with Him through our spirit. The split personality we were born with becomes one in Christ, and God accepts us as a temple in which He can dwell, through the Holy Spirit.
The split between the things of heaven and the cares of life will always challenge us, but when we submit to God and keep our flesh, that worldly connection, under subjection, we bring the peace from Sunday into the chaos of Monday and all is right with the world.
Streams in the Desert – August 23
- 202123 Aug
He went out, not knowing whither he went (Hebrews 11:8).
It is faith without sight. When we can see, it is not faith, but reasoning. In crossing the Atlantic we observed this very principle of faith. We saw no path upon the sea, nor sign of the shore. And yet day by day we were marking our path upon the chart as exactly as if there had followed us a great chalk line upon the sea. And when we came within twenty miles of land, we knew where we were as exactly as if we had seen it all three thousand miles ahead.
How had we measured and marked our course? Day by day our captain had taken his instruments and, looking up to the sky, had fixed his course by the sun. He was sailing by the heavenly, not the earthly lights.
So faith looks up and sails on, by God’s great Sun, not seeing one shore line or earthly lighthouse or path upon the way. Often its steps seem to lead into utter uncertainty, and even darkness and disaster; but He opens the way, and often makes such midnight hours the very gates of day.
Let us go forth this day, not knowing, but trusting.
–Days of Heaven upon Earth
“Too many of us want to see our way through before starting new enterprises. If we could and did, from whence would come the development of our Christian graces? Faith, hope and love cannot be plucked from trees, like ripe apples. After the words ‘In the beginning’ comes the word ‘God’! The first step turns the key into God’s power-house, and it is not only true that God helps those who help themselves, but He also helps those who cannot help themselves. You can depend upon Him every time.”
“Waiting on God brings us to our journey’s end quicker than our feet.”
The opportunity is often lost by deliberation.
2 Chronicles 34:27-28 27Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. 28Now I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.'” So they took her answer back to the king.
The son of Manasseh was evil and soon was assassinated. His son Josiah was put on the throne at the young age of eight. By the time he turned sixteen he began to seek the LORD. He purged the nation of idols and ordered the repair of the Temple. In the process the Book of the Law was found. Things had been so bad for so long that the priests did not even know where a copy of the Law could be found.
When the Book of the Law was read to Josiah, he tore his robes and grieved over the sins of his fathers and the judgment promised in the book. Because the Spirit had not yet been poured out, he sent his staff to ask a prophetess living in Jerusalem if this justice was impending. She told them that God was going to keep his word and send the nation into captivity, but because Josiah humbled himself, tore his robes and wept before God, the judgment would not come in his lifetime. His eyes would not see the destruction of Jerusalem.
God is just and keeps His word, but He is also patient and generous. One man’s heart that was tender toward His word postponed the judgment. O that all God’s children would have such a tender heart toward the Word of God. When you read Scripture, do you allow it to speak to you personally and take it to heart as Josiah did? He did not think it was for other people or justify the words because he was not involved. He saw the application was for him personally and his nation and humbled himself. If there is one attribute we need more than any other as we read the Word, it is humility.
Remember: Humility helps us to hear God’s Word and take it to heart, not shrugging it off or appointing it to someone other than ourselves.
“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy.” – Psalm 82:2-4 NASB
Some people approach life as a competition. As Charles Darwin concluded in his theory of evolution, it’s a “survival of the fittest.” Those employing this philosophy feel it is necessary to fight or be trampled. Some justify anything to get ahead or gain an advantage. They willingly distort and deceive, manipulate and bend the rules.
Even Christians can be trapped in this attitude. Thinking like the world, we can become willing to compromise our convictions.
The Bible reminds us that God wants us to trust Him, always do what is right, and apply His principles in every situation. Remember that if we seek first His Kingdom, we can be confident that He will provide all our needs (Matthew 6:33).
The Bible tells us God looks for people with this level of trust and commitment, who are concerned more about His Kingdom than personal rewards. He’s seeking those who stand for eternal values, are ready to fight for what is right, and are moved with compassion.
Ask God to give you His perspective on your life and the world. Ask Him to free you from pride and give you a greater concern for righteousness, justice, and truth. Ask Him to give you a burden for souls and to be more concerned about reaching the lost. Pray that you might use the resources He has given you to meet the needs of others and spread the Gospel.