How Deep is Your Deep? (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 5)

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  • In Part 1 “He’s Not Here” we looked at how easy it is to forget what Jesus says, especially when we didn’t hear or want to hear it in the first place.
  • In Part 2 “Who Is That Masked Man?” we reviewed the conversation two men had with Jesus, bemoaning how Jesus was nowhere to be found, and how the first prerequisite for deeper revelation is that we actually want
  • In Part 3 “Half Seeing” we talked about the inadequacy of a one-touch salvation our need to have our eyes opened wider so that we can see clearer.
  • In Part 4 “Too Deep To Cross” we mused about an ankle deep, knee deep, or waist deep Christianity in contrast to reveling in the River of God too deep to fathom.

That there are deeper places in God that we’ve not explored is no shock. But I propose that we consist of deeper layers in ourselves into which we are challenged to live, and it’s the shallow Christian who goes about as though his/her surface is all there is.

Solomon had some idea about the treasure that exists in those deep layers: “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters and the person of insight draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5)

It takes “insight” to see into our inmost place, our deepest part. If we’re willing, the Spirit will give us that insight to see deeper inside ourselves and “draw out” the submerged treasures we contain. Consider this…

We know that as Christ-indwelt people, we are God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 2:21-22). As the Temple in the Old Testament was comprised of three parts (outer court, holy place, and most holy place) so are we tripartite beings. Our parts are called, “spirit, soul, and body.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Our body, the visible part of us, corresponds to the outer court. As in the ancient Temple, our outer part, though a gift from the Maker, is the least important part of the three. It’s the mere shell of what we are as immortal beings, the “tent” that will someday be taken down in favor of a better body. If we exist merely for the outer shell our life is nothing more than how we faire in the physical world, how we look and what we can accomplish with our shell in comparison to the shells of others.

This is not to say that the outside of us is inherently evil. Amoral in themselves, our bodies are neither evil nor holy, but mere instruments with potential for good or evil. It’s how we use our outer shell and what place we give it that makes it an instrument for good or bad. Someday we’ll take down this “tent” (2 Corinthians 5:1) and be given a “spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44) that will perfectly cooperate with our innermost part, the spirit. Then we’ll be fully integrated humans. In the meantime, we are commanded to present the “members of our body as instruments of righteous to God.” (Romans 6:13)

The next deeper location in God’s Temple was the “holy place,” the intermediate place between the outer court and the “most holy place.” This place corresponds to our human soul, which is comprised of our intellect, emotion, and will––our ability to think, feel, and choose. The soul is the “middle” part of us where we respond to the revelation that the Spirit reveals to our spirit.

While this part is deeper than the outer shell, many Christians live as though it’s their deepest part. Theirs is primarily a soulish rather than a “spiritual” Christianity. They magnify the role of their intellect or emotion or will to a position for which they were never intended. Soulish Christians tend to have idolatrous relationships with their intellects, their emotions, or their willpower. They may call themselves “spiritual” but it’s only the degree to which they actually access and live into that deeper part––the spirit––that the label is legitimate.

As “priests of God” (1 Peter 2:5) we’re meant to pass through the torn veil to commune with him in the “most holy place,” which corresponds with the human spirit, the place God where dwells in the born again person. This human spirit exists beyond our self-consciousness and above our sensibility. It’s the place where we can and must live more deeply in intimate fellowship with God.

There is no light in the most holy place except the light of God. This is the core of our being, where God exists in “unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16), the place where spiritual revelation transpires. We only live deeply when we live from our spirit. This is where God reveals himself and where he commands us to act more like him.  It’s our job then to take that spiritual revelation to the soul, which in turn commands the body to carry out its orders.

The difference between the body and the spirit is obvious. It’s differentiating between the soul and spirit that is a little more advanced, but just as important if we want to live as deeply as possible. The writer of Hebrews indicated that the Word of God “divides soul and spirit.” (Hebrews 4:12) In other words, only God and his Word can help us see when we’re actually being “spiritual” or simply “soulish.”

Many Christians, unaware of the difference, live shallow, soulish lives and engage primarily in superficial worship, say pedestrian prayers, and serve out of mere duty. It only goes as deep as their intellect, their emotion, and their will. Their soulish Christianity involves body and soul but hardly infiltrates the spirit.

Being born again does not necessarily qualify us to be “spiritual.” Paul referred to the Corinthian Christians as “brothers,” but said he considered them to be “worldly” and not “spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 3:1)  The only way to be a “spiritual” follower of Jesus is to live from the innermost part of our being.

“Put true wisdom deep inside of me.” (Psalm 51:6)

How deep is your deep?

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So, what does it take to see, experience, and minister out of those deeper places in us? Of course the Holy Spirit is involved in every spiritual revelation but there are some human factors involved for us to live more deeply in Jesus. Next time we’ll begin to talk about some of those factors.

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Spoiler Alert: One of those factors is suffering. Which reminds me to remind you to get my memoir. The profits go to Freedom House.

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3 thoughts on “How Deep is Your Deep? (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 5)

  1. Pingback: Releasing Our Attachment to the Familiar (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 6) | Musing the Mysteries

  2. Pingback: Widening our Doctrinal Definitions (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 7)  | Musing the Mysteries

  3. Pingback: Just Wondering (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 8)  | Musing the Mysteries

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