What's the first thing that came to your mind when you read that?
Did your first thought make you wonder if this would be a racially-focused devotional? Are we going to be talking about which lives matter, or at least matter most?
Or did you think back to the days when television and movies were only available in black and white? I'm old enough to remember those monochromatic images flashing across an 18 inch screen; how about you?
If you're a book aficionado, you may have thought of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' and Atticus saying "This case is as simple as black and white." It's a common way of saying that something is clear, easily understood.
Today's verse says LET THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDE YOUR LIVES.
For me, that is certainly NOT typically something that is as clear as black and white. Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit and then acting upon what He has said are always challenges for me. I'm always trying to listen better, and to discern what the Spirit is saying.
Learning to listen and obey is certainly not for the faint of heart. It can be quite an adventure. Letting your spirit guide what your mind does not understand does not "feel right" … initially. Most of us have worked for years developing the operational capacity of our minds. Reading, studying, listening to lectures. Because we've developed and tested our mental capacity we are more comfortable relying upon it.
It is good to remember that the core of who we are is not our mind. It is our spirit.
We, created in the image of God, are a three-part unified being. We are a trinity, if you will. Allow me to explain.
We ARE a spirit. We HAVE a soul. We LIVE IN a body.
Our body is what we think of as "us" most of the time. But it is really just our "earth suit." We need it while we are here, but we won't need this one when we leave; in fact, we will leave it behind. My body is no more "the real me" than my favorite pair of trousers. (OK, to be honest my favorite pair of trousers is actually FOUR pairs, because I like them so much I purchased multiple pairs and tend to just rotate out the dirty trousers for a clean pair as needed. But I digress.) Your body IS NOT you. Your body can (and does) change. Your body reproduces about 330 BILLION of your cells every day, which is about one percent of your physical flesh. That's why cuts close up and broken bones heal. But it is a temporary tent, we only live in it for a relatively short while.
Our soul is the core of what we possess, and it also is composed of three parts - our will, our thoughts and our emotions. Someone has called these "our thinker, our feeler and our chooser." Our soul truly defines our character, and will be included in our redemption. Entire theological arguments have gone on for millennia about the definition of the soul, whether animals have them (and, if so, which ones). and on and on. But one thing is for certain - WE have one! It controls who we are, and who we are capable of becoming. Our will -- our capacity for informed choices based upon our emotions and our understanding -- determines our destiny. Our soul is our most precious possession. It would be a sorry trade if you gained all of the world's riches and power, but lost your soul.
We ARE spirits, just like God is. This makes sense because we were created in His image. Deliberately choosing to let our spirit guide by letting His Holy Spirit lead ours -- THAT is how we were created to operate. Spirit to spirit communion and communication. God leads, our spirit resonates with the power of His love, and our minds shout "WAIT!!! I don't understand."
Of course not! The things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned. It is not for your mind to know, it is for your mind to yield.
I know this is deep. But I can tell you that it is good! Learning to be led by His Holy Spirit will change you.
His Spirit will always lead us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. In Him there are no shadows.
In a world where we are often told that there are WAY MORE than fifty shades of gray, actually more than we can count - it is reassuring to know that SOME THINGS are always BLACK & WHITE.