July 17: Whole Worship.

1 Corinthians 14:14-15. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 

We are whole beings- body, soul, and spirit. It’s all connected. One of the most foundational truths for understanding our union with Christ is that the indwelling life of Christ, the Holy Spirit, affects us wholisitically- body, soul, and spirit.

Paul saw us as complex beings. We have a spirit, and we have a soul. We have a heart, and we have a mind. But Paul also saw us as unified beings. Like the Trinity, we are separate parts as one whole. Paul wants us to grow into full and mature human beings. This means growing in spirit and soul, in heart and mind, and body. The spirit is the deepest part of you, the seat of all consciousness and desire. Your spirit is connected to the Spirit, so much so that Paul rarely distinguishes between our spirit and the Spirit in his writing. The mind, however, flows from the spirit. It is the rational, thinking part of you.

In 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, we can see Paul admonishing the Corinthians to not separate their worship of God into spiritual verses rational categories. Why? Because we are spirit and we are mind. So I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. We were never meant to compartmentalize these parts of our humanity. We aren’t meant to live divided lives.

The mind is where the battles of faith are fought, and the mind must be renewed by the Spirit. The rational part of you is meant to be engaged in worship. Mindless babbling, thoughtless tongues, praying, and singing don’t build anyone up. Can you imagine a church service that literally just made no logical sense to anyone? All just “spiritual” expression without rational expression? That would not actually cause any true spiritual growth in love.

We become like what we worship. Our worship of God therefore, should reflect the multi-faceted nature of God as a rational. emotional, and even physical (through Jesus) being. The question becomes, is your worship and spiritual growth only one dimensional? Is it all spirit without mind? Or maybe, more likely in many of us as Christians, is it all mind and no spirit? Or is it all interconnected like it should be?

“To live is Christ” means that our spirit is one with the Spirit. And the Spirit empowers us to worship God and grow into Christ likeness in all aspects of our humanity- body, soul, and spirit.

Have you noticed your worship and spiritual growth becoming one dimensional in any way? How can you worship God both in spirit and in truth (mind)? How does union with Christ help you to see that every part of you is important (remember: Jesus is body, soul, spirit too)?

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