SoulBreaths

Combat Zone Series: Part 1—Your Soul

 

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 series is the foundational post for soul basics.

 

READING TIME: 3 MINUTES.

 

Italians might wish a newbornbenvenuti 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 awareness of God and my relationship with Him.

 

My earliest recollection of God’s presence . . . hearing Him on some level and having a deep desire to be with Him (and return to Him) . . . started around age four. I’d think of Him, spend time in quiet places outdoors to be with Him, and sometimes lie across the bed for an afternoon nap, asking if I could leave this world to 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 for: Him.

 

But it’s been a long and

w

i

n

d

i

n

g

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 and derail me from His plan and goodness, from the Light of the world.

 

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

 

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

 


 

So here’s the game plan for this series:

 

1. Scan the perimeter of what’s warring within and without.

2. Step into the soul-body matrix—and your soul’s three nuances.

3. Learn five rules of engagement to finish your race well.

4. Consider the soul dynamic within a Fellini film—via a film noir lens.

 


 
 

 
 

WHAT’S WARRING WITHIN

 
 

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) standing before God’s holiness, our most “righteous” acts are like filthy menstrual rags. Our sins (missing God’s holy mark) cause us to be withered like a leaf, carried 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 based on 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 is a foundational post for this blog. The original article was created/posted in 2009, but for easier reading divided into four posts much later.]

Combat Zone Series: Part 3—Rules of Engagement

 

Connected upward, yet pulled down ward

That is the battle within your soul.

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

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

[Combat Zone series is the foundational post for soul basics.

 

SUGGEST READING PARTS 1 & 2 FIRST: COMBAT ZONE: PART 1—YOUR SOUL and COMBAT ZONE: PART 2—SOUL NUANCES

 

READING TIME: 3 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.
—Ephesians 6:10-14a

 

READ THE LAST TWO RULES OF ENGAGEMENT NOW:

COMBAT ZONE: PART 3b—RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
 
 

CREDIT: Sniper Girl photo by Piotr Will on Unsplash.com


 

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.

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