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. 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. 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, 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, then, are spiritual, not physical. Only God satisfies what otherwise feels like it's missing.

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 who can also think and reason. We can distinguish and determine and therefore can be held responsible for our actions.

The last domain Mark identifies is our strength. This domain refers to our physical "ability, force, strength, [and] might"4.

While we are both spiritual beings with physical bodies. Taking care of our bodies--healthy eating, exercise, and rest--is crucial to our well-being.

Each domain is distinct from the others but dependent on them. One area can't experience change without another responding as well. At the same time, 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. It's challenging for me to rebuke negative thoughts. 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 it when it goes renegade.

Which domain do you struggle with most? Let's talk hardships together.


1 Kardia, Strong's Concordance
2 Psuche, Strong's Concordance
3 Dianoia, Strong's Concordance
4 Ischus, Strong's Concordance