Like our Father who created us, we are triune beings. We each have a soul, body and spirit. The soul is your mind, your spirit is the real you, and well, you know what your body is. The world values body and mind above all else. The world will tell you that you are only as valuable as your good looks and intelligence. But God tells us that it's our spirit that's most important. It's our spirit that is eternal. It is our spirit where His Spirit comes to live when we are born again.
Most Christians know and understand this. They said the prayer, they received Jesus and bam, their spirit came alive and the Holy Spirit came to live within them. They are saved! But did you know God doesn't just require our spirits? He requires our mind and bodies too. Yet I see so many Christians following the way of the world and satisfying the appetites of their bodies while keeping their minds focused on all the wrong things.
The result? They never really hear from God. They are rarely in His will and hence, their lives end up being fruitless at best and a disaster at worst. I'm NOT a believer in the prosperity Gospel or "Your best life now" junk that's been propagated in so many Christian circles. I know we will have trouble in this world. But I also know that God loves us and does want to bless us with success, joy, good marriages, health, and money to fulfill all our needs. Why wouldn't He? If you are a parent, don't you want that for your kids?
Then why are so many Christians suffering? I believe it's because many of us are not in the perfect will of God. I like to call it the Cone of Light. Our spirits may be saved and renewed by God's Spirit, but we are not renewing our bodies and minds. They are still living according to the world and the flesh. When that happens, we step out of the Cone of Light and into the darkness where we become prey to whatever the enemy and the world throw at us. Then we cry "Where are you, God? Don't you love me?" And He's looking down on us with tears in His eyes because we chose to step out of His arms.
The truth is we need to not only receive God's Spirit within our spirit, but we need to renew our minds and submit our bodies to God as well. It's a package deal. God wants all of us, mind, body, and spirit, and until we give Him all, He's limited on what He can do in our lives. Many of you who have children can relate to this. They reach a certain age where they have free choice and they end up making bad choices that we know will cause them pain, but they won't listen to us and are out of our will. We are helpless as we look on and watch them suffer.
Paul tells us in Romans 12 what we need to do
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Want to know the will of God? Want to live in His perfect will? Then you need to submit your body to him and also renew your mind. How do you do that? You tell God that your body is not your own anymore. From now on you will watch, read, and look at the things He says are okay. You will eat the food He says is Okay. You will rest when He says to rest and work when He says to work. And most of all you will learn to control your tongue.
How do you renew your mind? You wash it with the Word of God daily, hourly, as much as you can. There's a true story of a drug addict who came to Christ, but his mind was so messed up from the drugs that he could hardly think straight. He certainly couldn't hold a job, so his pastor gave him a job at his church as a janitor. The man read as much of the Bible as he could every day. He listened to it on headphones while he worked. And when he went home he read it and listened to sermons. After a year, his mind started to clear and he could think straight again. Not only that, but he started working at the church office and came up with such a successful financial plan that a local company hired him. Amazing what just reading the Word of God will do!
If you're struggling right now, I'm not saying that you are out of the will of God. This life and this world are fraught with troubles. However, if you're not seeing God's protection or provision. If you have no clue what God wants you to do, and you can't really say that you hear from Him on a regular basis, if you lack joy and fulfillment and feel attacked often, then maybe you need to look around and see if you have slipped outside your cone of light. Even the disciples of Jesus, who were all martyred, led very exciting, fulfilling, joy-filled lives as they were spreading the gospel. God protected them and provided for them even as they were being spurned and on the run.
There are many many promises of God in Scripture for those who stay in the Cone of Light, in God's perfect will, in the shadow of His wings: Protection, Provision, Guidance. I can think of four Scriptures off the top of my head. Psalm 1, 23, 84, 91 What about you? Can you think of some?