SoulBreaths

Combat Zone Series: Part 1—Your Soul

By SoulBreaths Author [ 13 years ago ]

 

Connected upward, yet pulled downward. 

That is the battle within your soul.

But it’s for a purpose. And it’s good.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

[Combat Zone is the foundational post for soul basics. The original article was created/posted in 2009, but for easier reading divided into four posts in 2020. Judaic scripture number references used.]

 

READING TIME: 3 MINUTES.

 

Italians might wish a newborn benvenuti alla lucewelcome 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 (a uniquely fused form for physical/spiritual life) will engage in a no-holds-barred tug of war vs. resting in a holy balance.

 

I know that battle well. More than likely, you sense it too. It is, after all, the stuff within all of us residing on this side of heaven.

 

IN A BEGINNING

 

Mine, that is. One word kept popping up through my life: soul. And it’s been unshakably linked to my longtime subterranean awareness of God—regardless of my life choices.

 

My earliest recollections of God’s presence, hearing Him on some level, and my deep desire to be with Him (and return to Him) started around age 4. I’d think of Him, spend time in quiet places outdoors seeking Him . . . and would sometimes lie across the bed in the afternoon for a nap, asking if I could go be with Him.

 

But every time I’d wake up from those hoping-to-be-with-God naps, there I was. Still here. I’d get sad and cry because He hadn’t taken me.

 

I believe that was my young soul reaching for what it instinctively hungered: Him.

 

But it’s been a long and

w

  i

n

  d

i

  n

g

soul road since then—with a hiatus or two (or more) from that earlier panting for Him.

 

A seriously real spiritual battle had pulled my soul in various directions. Trying to eclipse Him. Derailing me away from His plan and goodness, away from the Light of the world.

 

But then . . . He stepped in. And the deep-dive into the soul’s restoration in Him began—again.

 

It’s those back-and-forth struggles that can get frustrating, right? Understanding what’s going on behind the scenes of your soul’s battle can help . . .

 
 

WHAT’S WARRING WITHIN

 
 

So let’s discuss basics—some pretty amazing basics at that.

 

Your soul is breathed from God. It holds the identity of what God made you to be in Him vs. the illusion that whispers to you from the world and other sources.

 

An unseen God and an unseen soul. Both real, tangible in a unique and mysterious way. Both hidden, yet sensed, felt, and evidenced in this physical world.

 

Your God-breathed soul is called upward to Him—but its visible vessel, the body, is made from the earth (dust to dust) and is tethered to this world.

 

Like in a theatrical production, both players (soul and body) move downstage. The power struggle begins. The soul’s battle-heavy glory work ignites.

 

And a cast of characters join in and muddle your soul story with a gazillion subplots—many opponents on many soul-body battlefronts, spiritually and physically:

 

(1) the world—earthly, mundane, carnal, temporal pursuits

(2) your DNA

(3) outer impacts—cultural/environmental

(4) relationships—family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, congregant members, etc.

(5) life encounters/experiences

(6) your since-the-beginning-of-time adversary, satan

 

And let’s not forget free will. After all, humanity’s plan (way of thinking, choosing, thinking) is what got us in trouble to begin with—i.e. the Garden of Eden.

 

It doesn’t take much to stir up an inner battle that impacts your life with others and with God—instead of doing what the soul-body should be doing: stirring up its entire being to love and serve Him.

 

(1) our hearts (the seat of our emotions and thoughts) are deceitfully wicked—and so God searches the heart, tests the mind to give us according to the “fruit of our deeds” [Jeremiah 17:9, 10]
 
(2) our most righteous acts are like filthy menstral rags—discarded—before God’s holiness . . . withered like a leaf, our iniquities carry us away like the wind [Isaiah 64:5(6)]
 
(3) our imaginings (rooted in our hearts) are evil from youth [Genesis 8:21b]
 
(4) none of us are righteous [Ecclesiastes 7:20, Psalm 53:3-4, Psalm 14:2-3, 1 Kings 8:46, among many others]

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 

Plenty, actually. But let’s take it gently, get more understanding, and start with the nuances of the soul, at what the Hebrew reveals.

 

READ PART TWO NOW. COMBAT ZONE SERIES: PART 2—SOUL NUANCES

 

CREDITS: Canyon crevice photo by Joe Gardner on Unsplash.com

Combat Zone Series: Part 3—Rules of Engagement

By SoulBreaths Author [ 13 years ago ]

 

Connected upward, yet pulled downward. 

That is the battle within your soul.

But it’s for a purpose. And it’s good.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

[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: 5 MINUTES plus end scripture list.

 

Symbiotic. That’s what some rabbis say about the soul-body dynamic. You are a God-breathed soul that has three nuances—breath, spirit/wind that rises/descends, and a “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 (mentioned in Combat Zone, Part 1).

 

Here are five rules of engagement to help you stay the course and finish the race . . . well.

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #1:

SECURE YOUR POSITION

 

We’re teetering on a broken bridge. Since the Garden of Eden debacle where rebellion exposed our desire for self vs. God, the dividing line was clear. God alone is holy. There are none righteous among us per His Word, often shared in this series and throughout this blog:

 

Genesis 8:21b, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 14: 2-3, Psalm 53: 3-4, 1 Kings 8:46, 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, ADONAI, our Lord, our Master.

 

Fulfilling the soul’s journey begins with receiving the restoration gift from God: Jesus (Yeshua, in the Hebrew), our promised Messiah, the Son of God.

 

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 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)


 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #2:

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
(what they 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) . . .
consecrate Him.
He alone is to be your sanctuary.

 

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 He’s in front and you’re behind Him. That’s how you stay in position. That’s how you follow and honor your Commander-in-Chief.

 

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 He has ordered to the best of your ability, then STAND.

 

Don’t leave your post. Stand, confidently, expectantly, faithfully in Him. Even (and especially) when the 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.

 
 

Photo by Piotr Wilk on Unsplash

Be prepared—in season and out of season.

 

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. Because this daily battle you and I are in 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.

 

PRAYER! Full-on, distractions blocked. Prayer is warfare in the spiritual realm. It’s where the war is won, really. With that, I’d strongly add worship since worship is battle—and it is prayer. The two work together, interlocked for intense spiritual fighting, using both simultaneously.

 

James 5:16 nails it simply: The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

 

So crank up powerful worship music, grab your Bible, humble yourself before the Lord, and get to it! Sing-pray His Word through the attacks, valleys, and even on those mountaintops to keep a lookout and get prepared in season and out of season.

 

[Recommendation: My go-to music is Rick Pino’s worship songs—from his warfare albums to his stirring songs before the Lord. Hands down, he is an anointed worship leader and his team is amazing. I had the privilege of meeting him briefly after one of his musical events in Santa Rosa, CA when I lived in the Bay. God had used Rick’s music to get me through a deeply difficult time.]

 

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #5:

KEEP COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN—AND STAY ALERT

 

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.

 
 

Photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash

Deep calls to deep at the thunder of His waterfalls


 
 

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.

 

HIS WATERFALL OF REFRESHMENT FLOWS FROM HIS THRONE, RELEASING . . .

 

revelations

prophecies

words of knowledge

wisdom

discernment & understanding

provisions

His never-ending

L

O

V

E

mercy & grace

long-suffering

forgiveness

 

SO YOU’LL STAY SPIRITUALLY IN SYNC WITH HIM.

REMEMBER: THE ENEMY IS ON THE PROWL

 

Always, as it so happens. He roams the world to see whom he can devour, derail, destroy.

 

Watch out for the big sweep: So-called spirituality—as the term is used in the world today—that brashly proclaims there are “many ways to God.” It’s another tool of the enemy. False roads leading to death, not God’s eternal life.

 

You won’t find God’s truth in . . .
 
rote mantras
transcendental meditation
crystals
astrology & tarot cards
trance-like states, psychics, palm readers
or all the rest of the “New” Age and one-world religious systems
 
Same goes for fashioning your version of God . . . that’s called idolatry.

 

Securing your position in Him is 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.

 

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.

 

Psalm 55:16-18, 22 . But I call to God,and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon, I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
Cast your burden on the Lord,and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

 

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

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