Split in the Middle

I love my Saturday morning Bible study. The questions go deep. You can ask anything, challenge anything. We will go back to the beginning if we need to. Nobody has to feel bad saying “I don’t get that,” or “Can you say that another way?” Or “This is the first time I’ve understood that!”

This morning my close friend and co-leader said, “I just don’t understand how we have a dual nature. Is there some other way you can describe it?”

I immediately went to Romans 7 so everyone would be on the same page. Everybody gets that good and evil live inside us together ever since the first choice to know evil, made by Eve. Most people can relate to the conflict between my way and God’s way.

We are in Leviticus and the laws given to Israel. Most of them make sense, some of them don’t to our culture. So we went back over the essence of sin being, “I don’t need you for this, God. I’m just fine on my own. I want to do things my way.” Big or tiny, overpowering or slight we all know that pull.

Addiction is a great example of that conflict. Once you’ve accepted you can’t stop on your own, you can get help. The desire is there in your mind, but the pathways in your body (literally physically) will always win.

But that isn’t where we went this morning. We went to my experience in graduate school and Luke 9:23-25. I always felt I had to give up me to be Jesus’ follower. That is what that passage said to me. But I told them how reading it in my little  brother’s Bible (NET) opened a door in my brain because of one different word. Actually it was two words: “True self” instead of “soul”. Profound.

Changing that one word changed my understanding of the whole Bible. I was in graduate school taking Family Systems Theory and we were studying the difference between pseudo self and the true self, and suddenly I saw that concept in scripture! Wow! What a game changer!

Jesus was saying, “If you want to find your true self it will cost you giving up your false self, but it will be totally worth it.” Suddenly everyone breathed a collective “ah ha” and seemed to understand that the true self and the false self represent our brokenness–our God-given nature and our acquired rebellious nature living in the same body, and we have to choose which one to feed and exercise. Thus the conflict inside. The one we empower grows.

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