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.