Friday, June 2, 2017

Flesh and Spirit, St. Paul

Romans 8, Holy Bible, NIV
5. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
14. For those who are lead by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
15. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father."
22. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
31. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or danger or sword?
38-39. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I like St. Paul at times. Thanks to him Christianity, which began in a tribal religion, became a universal religion.  He was however , before miraculous conversion, a conventional traditionalist struggling himself with order in chaos.  He is criticized for his words to women and slaves about maintaining the hierarchal order of society.  Jesus had been asked about taxes and had responded ‘give unto Caesar Caesars due’.  It was a joke in a sense because of the money of the day had the face of caesar engraved on it.  Christianity is not an external revolution but an internal revolution.
The spiritual path is an inner journey.
When people came to psychoanalysts they were told to not leave their wives or businesses until they’d been at least 6 months in therapy and discussed changes thoroughly with their analyst.
When patients come to me with addiction we say stop drinking and stop drugging.  Bill Wilson felt strongly that one had to do this change within their community as there was no ‘safe place’ from booze.  We have detox and treatment centres and recovery houses all as a means of helping people avoid ‘slippery people, places and time’.  It’s a bit like the medical approach to broken limbs. We have people begin their journey of recovery in physiotherapy gyms before going to regular gyms without trainers and finally to the open field where they play soccer again with others.  It’s a transitional approach which may or may not work that well because ‘easier softer ways’ had not been shown to be superior to the ‘tough love’  approach with it’s confrontation that has shown the success to date which gives us all hope of cure.  It comes down to really having a band aid pull off. Some like it slowly , some like it quickly.
A general I knew said if he had all the time in the world he could teach men to be soldiers softly and tenderly in the politically correct manner but if the enemy was at the gate there was no better way than the old fashioned way of kicking marine ass.  The latter was cheaper too and for thousands of years had worked. "But this is a peace time army so we don’t want to upset anyone but shouting at them to get out of bed at 6 am. Instead we play music in the barracks."
St. Paul believed that one had time when one submitted to God.  When one prays, the power of God gives one strength greater than what one alone has. The Holy Spirit is a power or force or intangible light or greatest love that lifts one up. It’s called Grace too.  We simply turn to the light.  If we want light we get more light. If we want darkness we get more darkness. It’s the fundamental law of attraction.  Our thoughts and behaviours define to a large extent what our world is. Of course a whole lot depends on our honesty with ourselves and others. We live in a time of deceit and even believe our own lies for long periods of time.
Our expectations can be hopes or pre formed resentments.  With a positive attitude, however,  I simply stop pulling up the plant to check the roots to see if they’re growing. Instead I trust and have faith that all shall be well. I head towards the light and increasingly am not distracted by the circus of darkness around me.
If I have God on my side who shall be against me?  Why settle for less.
I believe St. Paul knew well the love of god and knew that Christ, the god of love, Agape, Holy Spirit Come, was, is and always shall be,with him and us, and even me.  For this I am forever grateful Thank you.
Holy Spirit Come.
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