Wednesday, October 28, 2015

the parts of your whole

We've been breaking the person down into different parts for ages. Piaget broke us down cognitively, Kohlberg morally, and Erikson socially. The list goes on: who thought up which theory and how we can apply those theories practically.

Way back in the day, Mark echoed the words of Moses and identified four domains to our person: 1) our heart, 2) our soul, 3) our mind, and 4) our strength (12:30). This is the sum of our parts, and our parts are the sum of our whole.

By heart, Mark refers to the "seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, [and] endeavors"1. We're emotional creatures (undeniable on my part). From the sighs of relief to the shouts of frustration, we express and experience emotions. It's an intrinsic and good part of who we are, reflective of God's person.

The second domain, our soul, refers to our spirituality. It includes "that in which there is life,...an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death"2. God created us primarily as spiritual creatures with physical bodies. Our greatest needs, therefore, are spiritual, not physical. Our desires to be loved and belong come from our need for God. Until we let God fill that need, we won't be satisfied in life.

Our third domain is the mind. Strong defines the mind as the "faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring,...thinking, and feeling"3. While we are emotional creatures, we aren't merely emotional creatures. We can think and reason. We can distinguish and determine. This is the hardest domain for me to surrender in obedience to God for His glory.

The last domain Mark identifies is our strength. This domain refers to our physical "ability, force, strength, [and] might"4. While we are spiritual creatures, we aren't only spiritual creatures. We have a body in which we and the Spirit of God dwell (1 Cor. 6:19). Taking care of our bodies--healthy eating, exercise, and rest--is crucial to our well-being. Part of our calling is to care for our bodies in ways that please God.

Each domain is distinct from the other domains but dependent upon them. One can't experience change without another responding as well; yet each needs to be nurtured specifically.

Take some time today to identify which domain you struggle with the most. For me, it's my mind. I constantly need to rebuke negative thoughts that make their way into my mind. Two verses that have helped me to commit this domain to God are Philippians 4:8 and 2 Corinthians 10:5. The first sets the standard for a pure mind, and the second directs my renegade mind.

Which domain do you struggle with most? Let's find victory in Christ together today.


1 Kardia, Strong, www.biblestudytools.com
2 Psuche, Strong, www.biblestudytools.com
3 Dianoia, Strong, www.biblestudytools.com
4 Ischus, Strong, www.biblestudytools.com