Italians might wish a newborn “benvenuti alla luce”—welcome to the light—but whenever I see a baby, one of my first thoughts is “Welcome to the battlefield.” The dynamics have begun. Within that little body lies a great commission . . . its soul’s journey, purpose, identity. It won’t be easy because the soul-body matrix will engage in a no-holds-barred tug of war vs. resting in a holy balance. Take a look . . .
Ancient Israelites as well as those in the Second Temple period—including the first century with Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name)—have long embraced a soul-body perspective. Same with rabbinic teaching today. This series focuses on God’s Word, exploring that soul-body interplay in daily life. The first stop along our Judaic-Messianic bridge: three revealing Hebrew words used interchangeably for soul.
Symbiotic. That’s what some rabbis say about the soul-body matrix. You are a God-breathed soul with three nuances—breath, spirit/wind that rises/descends, and “rested” life force—clothed in a body that’s from the earth and tethered to this world. A battle is going on. You need to know the rules of engagement. Here are seven to live by . . .
Life has its ragged edges. The God-breathed soul in its earth-tethered body has a job to do. But things can get messed up, turned upside down, or totally d-e-r-a-i-l-e-d. Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini may not have been thinking about the soul-body matrix when he made Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) in 1958, but there is a parallel nonetheless. Walk with me and we’ll discuss . . .
I was free falling. I couldn’t breathe. My body, yes. My soul, not so much. It was suffocating. I’d lost my tribe in more ways than one and didn’t know where I fit in any more, if any place. And the uneasiness of where else this journey was taking me (soul wise or otherwise) was escalating. I felt like a character in one of my favorite YA movies, Divergent. I was headed into a God-appointed wilderness journey . . .
Human viewpoint says you have to get tougher, stronger through life’s valleys and potholes. But toughening up solely via your human strength can make you bitter, harder, harsher, louder, colder. Filled with a false sense of power. God has a different plan . . . and it takes you right smack into unchartered waters for a deconstructing-reconstructing soul experience.
This is it. Links to five stories—people who became soul arrows in God’s archery bow. Each one answered the come-with-me call to a spiritual wilderness journey where His “cracks of lightning” periodically pierced their souls to light up the way through a seemingly no-mans-land. This could be your time.
Flashes of His light. The soul pricked with divine sparks. That was Sarah. The call from the polytheistic, cosmopolitan Ur to Haran to Canaan, then dealings with Lot, a battle with five kings, and sweepings into pharaoh’s and Abimelech’s harems. Whew. Something had to be learned here, absorbed here, infused here, stripped here in order to birth something of greater magnitude later. Maybe you can relate.
Position doesn’t just happen. It’s given by God. Joseph’s prophetic dreams weren’t a free pass to ride the tails of his royal or priest-like, multi-colored coat. No, those dreams were manifestations of a calling that would first become a lightning rod in God’s hands—a tool that would spark situations and form a wilderness path for Joseph’s soul.
God, in precision timing, was on the move. He separated Moses from the common—his birth tribe and his adopted, privileged position in Egypt—for a series of deconstructing-reconstructing encounters with God to beat all others. But Moses almost missed it. The story goes like this . . .
God’s calling on Jeremiah’s life was straightforward. There would be no discussion, no fiery bush, no staff-turned-snake demonstrations as Adonai had done with Moses. But there definitely would be times of heavy deconstructing-reconstructing in his soul—like Israel’s. A tearing down to build up. Soul lessons for us all . . .
He’s the famed Pharisee whom some Jews and some Christians love to hate. His story—a real page-turner. His name, Saul Paulus from Tarsus. Privileged and free, yet caged behind bars of religious zealousness, then later caged by man, yet free in the Spirit of God. A remarkable deconstructing-reconstructing soul story . . .