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.

Copyright © 2009 Gene Markland, used with permission.

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The Daily Scroll

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“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” (Luke 3:8)

The Mothering Arms of Forgiveness

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Yolanda, a mother who carries a deep relationship with God, mindfully raised her family in the love and admonition of the Lord. Her faith sustained her through every trial, but nothing could prepare her for the trial that lay ahead.

One day a young man coming from a college party made a decision that changed her world forever. He was experiencing road rage. A car had innocently pulled out in front of him and he hit the rear end of the car; causing a horrible accident. This car carried two of Yolanda’s young sons. Both tragically lost their lives that day.

The authorities brought the proper charges. However, the guilty young man was given mercy by the court and placed on probation. After five years of an excruciating ordeal, Yolanda received a call from her lawyer. A meeting had been arranged for the young offender to come face to face with her and give an account for his actions on that tragic day.

They met in a conference room, facing each other across a table while the attorneys and staff carefully observed. The young man spoke. Holding his head down to avoid eye contact, he tried to give justification for himself. He complained that her sons had pulled out in front of him. He clumsily fumbled out unacceptable excuses for his actions, blaming her sons for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some of the things he said didn’t even make sense. And he did not ask for forgiveness.

The attorneys, the court recorder, and everyone in the room sat in silence, anticipating what Yolanda would say or do. After five years of suffering, she now sat across from the source of her pain, and her heart cried out to the Lord. Like so many times before, the Lord Jesus spoke gently to her and gave her guidance.

“Yolanda,” He said, “That boy is lost. He needs me. He has no one here. His family let him come here alone. He needs me.”

“But Lord,” she asked, “What do I do?”

“Daughter, I have you. I have always had you, and I’ll never let you go. But he needs me. He has nothing, no one. Forgive him Yolanda, forgive him.”

Scripture rang in her ear. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36 NIV).

She asked herself. “How can I forgive him? How can I? Yet I know that Jesus forgave me.”

After a moment of reflection, Yolanda took a deep breath and broke the silence in the room. She looked him square in the face, which was still lowered toward the table, and said, “I love you with the love of the Lord. I forgive you!”

Everyone looked at her. Shocked and stunned, they couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Slowly the young man raised his head and for the first time their suffering eyes met. His confused and bewildered expression displayed the inner turmoil that he was struggling to understand.

With grace, which could only come from the Lord Jesus, Yolanda stood to her feet, spread open her arms and said, “I forgive you!”

With that, the young man bolted around the table and into her arms. He buried his face in her chest and covered her with his tears, crying in convulsions. Yolanda held him tight like one of her own. Mothering him, she patted him tenderly on his head and said, “It’s alright baby. It’s alright baby.” He wept uncontrollably.

Then she prayed, “Jesus, take the anointing for ministry that was upon my sons and place it upon him. Give him a double portion! He came in here as a Saul, let him leave as a Paul!”

As she prayed, his knees buckled. Yet she held him up firmly in her mothering arms of forgiveness. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as the miraculous love of Christ was displayed in this incredible act of forgiveness. They were both freed to continue their lives in peace.

Our God, who is love, displayed His forgiveness as He sacrificed His only begotten son for us. Through Christ, we receive His incredible forgiveness that frees us from sin and shame. Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 KJV).

Because of Jesus, we too can hold our head up, walk in the love of God, and experience the mothering arms of forgiveness.

Copyright © Gene Markland. Used by permission.

The Daily Scroll

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Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:16-17)