Connected upward, yet pulled down ward
That is the battle within your soul.
But it’s for a purpose. And it’s good.
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[Combat Zone series is the foundational post for soul basics.
SUGGEST READING PARTS 1 & 2 FIRST: COMBAT ZONE: PART 1—YOUR SOUL and COMBAT ZONE: PART 2—SOUL NUANCES
READING TIME: 3 MINUTES plus end scripture list.
Symbiotic. That’s what some rabbis say about the soul-body dynamic. You are a God-breathed soul—its biblical references breath, spirit/wind that rises/descends, and a “rested” life force—clothed in a body that’s from the earth and tethered to this world.
Your soul is called upward, the body downward. And so the battle ensues, along with a host of other factors that complicate your soul story (mentioned in Combat Zone, Part 1).
Here are five rules of engagement to help you stay the course and finish the race . . . well.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #1:
SECURE YOUR POSITION
We’re teetering on a broken bridge. Since the Garden of Eden debacle where rebellion exposed our desire for self vs. God, the dividing line was clear. God alone is holy. There are none righteous among us per His Word, often shared in this series and throughout this blog:
Genesis 8:21b, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 14: 2-3, Psalm 53: 3-4, 1 Kings 8:46, Jeremiah 17:9-10, Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10, Romans 8:6, among others.
But God is love, merciful, and l-o-n-g-suffering. So He made a way to restore that relationship with Him. There were temporary measures at first—blood sacrifices that had to be repeated daily, annually.
But those were mere shadows of what was coming, the greatest gift . . . a one-time holy sacrifice. A doorway giving us access to the Father, ADONAI, our Lord, our Master.
Fulfilling the soul’s journey begins with receiving the restoration gift from God: Jesus (Yeshua, in the Hebrew), our promised Messiah, the Son of God.
From there, your soul grows and is transformed by letting your soul [neshama], its wind/spirit [ruach] rest [nafash/nefesh] within the fibers of His presence, His Word, His ways . . . being hidden in Him, where you’re surrendered. Total white-flag territory.
It’s where your soul-body gets into sync,
working as a whole with God, bowing before Him.
God’s way of restoring relationship with Him:
“I am the Truth, the Life, the Way . . . no man comes to the Father except through me.”
—John 14:6. The Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name)
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #2:
HONOR YOUR KING, YOUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF
It’s our human default to lean on our own understanding and to even get caught up in the emotions and mindset of the world at large.
But a good soldier needs to stand under his commander.
This slight paraphrase of Isaiah 8: 12-14 helps draw some clear-thinking guidelines. I’ve fleshed out the meanings of “fear” and “awed” from the Hebrew for a better visual.
Don’t fear (be shaken, swept into conspiracies) what people fear
(what they call conspiracies) nor give strength to it
or be awed (shaken terribly, oppressed) by what awes them.
Let God be the object of your awe (trembling holy fear) . . .
He alone is to be your sanctuary.
For this battle, your nefesh—the Hebrew word for soul referring to the life force that can cling, negatively or positively—needs to obey orders.
Clinging to God means He’s in front and you’re behind Him. That’s how you stay in position. That’s how you follow and honor your Commander-in-Chief.
Psalm 63:2, 9 (1, 8). O God, You are my God, I seek You. My soul [nefesh] thirsts for You, in an arid and thirsty land, without water. My soul [nefesh] clings to your hind parts; Your righteous right hand upholds me.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT #3:
KEEP YOUR EYES RIGHTLY FOCUSED
You are battling on two main fronts—the spiritual world (your soul against the principalities and powers of the enemy) and the physical world. Like in any war, things shift, take on different patterns.
Do you know what you’re really seeing—or is it a delusion, a camouflage? There’s only one way to hold your position while waiting for intel about what’s really going on in a realm you can’t physically see or physically touch. Stay mindful, focused, in God’s presence.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
What is unseen . . . is God. Yet you are called to fix your soul’s eyes on Him, the Eternal One, to see more clearly in the battles down here. To not lose heart.
Although the body (“outer man”) is decaying and warring, your inner essence, your soul—breath from God/neshama, spirit/ruach, inner living substance/nefesh—is being renewed day by day in Him.
The next two scriptures reveal what your stance should be in battle . . . do what He has ordered to the best of your ability, then STAND.
Don’t leave your post. Stand, confidently, expectantly, faithfully in Him. Even (and especially) when the order is to simply wait.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
READ THE LAST TWO RULES OF ENGAGEMENT NOW:
Sniper girl photo by Piotr Will on Unsplash.com