Connected upward, yet pulled downward.
That is the battle within your soul.
But it’s for a purpose. And it’s good.
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[Combat Zone is the foundational post for soul basics. The original article was created/posted in 2009, but for easier reading divided into three posts in 2020. Judaic scripture number references used with Christian numbering in parentheses, when it’s different.]
SUGGEST READING PARTS 1 & 2 FIRST: COMBAT ZONE: PART 1—YOUR SOUL and COMBAT ZONE: PART 2—SOUL NUANCES
READING TIME: 8 MINUTES.
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.
Your soul is called upward, the body downward. And so the battle ensues, along with a host of other factors that complicate your soul story.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
The good news: In those firefly-like moments when the true light of God flows unhindered through your soul-breath, the entire soul-body matrix works in tandem, emanates His ways, becomes a menorah, a witness of His light to the world.
Actually, you, me, and the next guy are all called to be more than a menorah of light—we’re called to love and worship Him in truth and in spirit, becoming His menorah of true light, reflecting that great light of His Word to the world around us. Connecting . . . resting . . . gently listening, humbly serving, loving/honoring Him and others.
Proverbs 20:27 Man’s soul [nishmat, variant of Soul Nuance #1, neshama] is a lamp of ADONAI, which searches out all of the innermost parts.
To be honest, being a menorah of His light may sometimes—who are we kidding?—okay, may oftentimes feel like a TALL order. Depending on what’s going on in my world, that can feel more like a massively how-can-I-possibly-do-that order.
But here’s the deal: Sin (rebellion against God’s way of living/doing things) can, in time, erode the connection between your soul-breath and God.
That can cause your soul to disengage from the things of God and that Soul Nuance #3, the self-driven nefesh, to negatively attach itself, saddling up to the “flesh”—your rogue, world-driven body.
A little compromise here. An ignoring of God there. Toying with this. Hanging around that. In time, the flesh becomes so strong in its earthbound desires that it pulls your soul away from God’s ways so even doctrines of demons—guised as light, acceptable social mores at odds with God’s standards—can seep into your soul.
Darkening it, hardening it, and blinding your spiritual sight. A hostile takeover, indeed.
That’s why it’s so critical to learn the rules of engagement for the soul battle down here.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #1: HONOR YOUR KING, YOUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF
It’s our human default to lean on our own understanding and to even get caught up in the emotions and mindset of the world at large. But a good soldier needs to stand under his commander. This slight paraphrase of Isaiah 8: 12-14 helps draw some clear-thinking guidelines. I’ve fleshed out the meanings of “fear” and “awed” from the Hebrew for a better visual.
Don’t fear (be shaken, swept into conspiracies) what people fear (call conspiracies) nor give strength to it
or be awed (shaken terribly, oppressed) by what awes them.
Let G-d be the object of your awe (trembling holy fear) . . .
He alone is to be your sanctuary.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #2: FOLLOW YOUR COMMANDER’S LEAD
For this battle, your nefesh—that Soul Nuance known as the life force that can cling, negatively or positively—needs to obey orders. Clinging to God means His in front and you’re behind Him. That’s how you stay in position. This psalm leads the way, showing in the Hebrew what the nefesh is clinging to . . .
Psalm 63:2, 9 (1, 8) . O God, You are my God, I seek You. My soul [Soul Nuance nefesh] thirsts for You, in an arid and thirsty land, without water. My soul [nefesh] clings to your hind parts; Your righteous right hand upholds me.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #3: KEEP YOUR EYES RIGHTLY FOCUSED
You are battling on two main fronts—the spiritual world (your soul against the principalities and powers of the enemy) and the physical world. Like in any war, things shift, take on different patterns.
Do you know what you’re really seeing—or is it a delusion, a camouflage? There’s only one way to hold your position while waiting for intel about what’s really going on in a realm you can’t physically see or physically touch. Stay mindful, focused, in God’s presence.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
What is unseen . . . is God. Yet you are called to fix your soul’s eyes on Him, the Eternal One, to see more clearly in the battles down here. To not lose heart.
Although the body (“outer man”) is decaying and warring, your inner essence, your soul’s nuances (breath from God/neshama, spirit/ruach, inner living substance/nefesh) is being renewed day by day in Him.
The next two scriptures reveal what your stance should be in battle . . . do what you He has ordered to the best of your ability, then STAND. Confidently, boldly in Him. Even (and especially) when the next order is to simply wait.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore . . .”—Ephesians 6:10-14a.
God’s not asking you or me to stand on ceremony, get caught up in religious acts, or drown our souls in legalism. Not walking in the love of the ritual and religious laws—but a love for Him. (He gave the Law, but we’re not supposed to love the Law over Him—that’s idolatry).
What God wants is a restored relationship with Him, walking in His truth, His Word, and His love. And He’s made a clear, singular path of how to get there, which is the seventh rule of engagement.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #4: KNOW YOUR WEAPON
Go through basic training and refresher trainings with your weapon (the Word of God), just like a soldier needs to qualify for live-fire drills—and the real thing. And this battle you and I are in daily is always the real deal. So stay in His Word. It is life, it is renewing, it is Truth that will show you where to walk and help you not be derailed in your soul journey down here. Check out this insightful passage from the New Testament (the Soul Nuances are inserted to help connect the dots for you):
Hebrews 4:12. See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit [dividing where the Soul Nuances of neshama, ruach/spirit, and nefesh intersect] and where joints meet marrow [dividing where your vessel/body’s inner parts intersect], and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #5: KEEP COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN
This is soul-to-soul communication, yours and God’s. Report what’s going on, what you see, what you’ve done, what you need—and wait for God to respond and lead. Sometimes you aren’t to speak—just still your soul and listen.
Psalm 42:7, a downtrodden soul [Soul Nuance nefesh per the line prior] calls out to God: Deep [tehom, תְּהוֹם, subterranean waters of the soul] is calling to deep at the thunder of Your waterfalls; all Your surging rapids and waves are sweeping over me.
There, in the deep part of your soul, humbled and hungry to reach His soul’s deep, is where holy communication is sparked, where you discover yet another layer of who He is, what He is, where He’s moving, how He’s guiding you, what He’s saying to you for this season of your life. It’s where you’ll swim in the glorious waterfall that flows from His throne and releases . . .
words of knowledge
discernment & understanding
mercy & grace
His consuming fire
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #6: STAY ALERT, THE ENEMY IS ON THE PROWL
Actually, he’s always on the prowl with his wicked trickery, looking for more spiritually slumbering victims. So don’t get caught in so-called spirituality—as the term is used in the world today—that brashly proclaims there are “many ways to God.” You won’t find God’s truth in rote mantras, transcendental meditation, crystals, astrology, tarot cards, or trance-like states, and the rest of the “New” Age and one-world religious system. etc. Same goes for fashioning your version of God . . . that’s called idolatry.
Securing your position in Him is all about connecting with Him on His terms and His Word, not the world’s, not yours, not mine. God has made His terms clear from Genesis onward, revealing His holy character, His holy desires, His holy ways.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #7: SECURE YOUR POSITION
God says throughout His Word that humanity is disconnected from Him. The words and concept behind His “There are none righteous, no not one” occur in numerous scriptures, such as: Genesis 8:21b, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 14: 2-3, Psalm 53: 3-4, Jeremiah 17:9-10, Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10, Romans 8:6, among others.
But God is love, merciful, and l-o-n-g-suffering. So He made a way to restore that relationship with Him. There were temporary measures at first—blood sacrifices that had to be repeated daily, annually.
But those were mere shadows of what was coming, the greatest gift . . . a one-time holy sacrifice. A doorway giving us access to the Father, to the King of Kings.
Fulfilling the soul’s journey begins with receiving the restoration gift from God: Jesus. From there, your soul grows and is transformed by letting your soul [neshama], its wind/spirit [ruach] rest [nafash/nefesh] within the fibers of His presence, His Word, His ways . . . being hidden in Him, where you’re surrendered. Total white-flag territory.
It’s where your soul-body matrix gets into sync,
working as a whole with God, bowing before Him.
God’s way of restoring relationship with Him:
“I am the Truth, the Life, the Way . . . no man comes to the Father except through me.”
— John 14:6. The Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name)
READ THIS FINAL COMBAT ZONE POST WITH A FILM NOIR BENT. COMBAT ZONE: PART 4—SOUL VIA A FILM NOIR LENS
SCRIPTURES: BE ENCOURAGED
Exodus 34:6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.
Lamentations 3:22-23 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 6:5 & Matthew 22:37. You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Matthew 11:29. [And Jesus/Yeshua said] Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
John 4:23-24. But the hour is coming—indeed, it’s here now—when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
CREDIT: Sniper Girl photo by Piotr Will on Unsplash.com
CREDIT: Waterfall photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash.com