Pastor’s Corner – Spiritual Strength
Throughout Epiphany, we are exploring parts of Jesus’ life and ministry that revealed to the world He is the Messiah. This week, we are looking at His dominance over the spiritual realm. He has the ability to lead the angels (good spirits) and cast out demons (evil spirits). Jesus has power and dominion over the entire spiritual realm and, through our baptismal inheritance, so do we.
It is said that human beings are made up of three parts: body, mind and spirit. We have a physical nature, a mental component and we are, in fact, spiritual beings. In our everyday lives, we are bombarded with information regarding our physical and mental well-being. But this week we will be focusing on our spiritual strength.
Our body, mind and spirit are so tightly related it is very difficult to separate them and yet, for our holistic well-being, it is important that we make this distinction. It has been scientifically shown that emotions impact our physical health. It can be stress that leads to a heart attack or depression that leads to overeating. Our physical health has an impact on our mental health. Physical exercise is a great way to mitigate depression, anxiety and other mental conditions.
When it comes to living a healthy life, our spiritual well-being needs to lead the way. This isn’t easy to do because in our culture we are encouraged to listen to our physical “needs” of hunger, thirst and sexuality and lately it is our emotional feelings leading the way. We are currently in an era where our mental condition or how we “feel’ about ourselves is considered true regardless of our physical reality. If I “feel” like a woman (whatever that means to me) then I must be a woman.
As people of God, we MUST realize what is truly going on around us and inside us. This is the definition of spiritual warfare. If we ignore our spiritual component then we, at best, are misled by our mind/body and, at worst, are misled by an impure spirit (real evil).
Part of our Christian lifestyle is learning to train our mind and body to be submissive to our spirit. This is not just willpower; God knows our spirit is not strong enough so He has Given us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and be our guide. The Holy Spirit unites with our spirit and cleanses it. Casts out all impurities/evil and gives us the strength to lead our mind and body.
On one hand, this happens immediately; on the other hand, our mind and body, and the Devil himself, fight against it, especially at first. But, as we listen more and more to God, as we trust the truth that our mind and body will lie to us or lead us astray, as we cast out our evil thoughts and tempestuous desires, we grow in wisdom, strength and faith.
When we pray, read scripture and share life with one another we grow our ability to listen and follow the Holy Spirit. We also learn to recognize and cast out evil spirits. We have the same power of God in us, that Jesus does. The problem is we don’t always let the Holy Spirit lead. We leave a foothold for evil spirits when we doubt, fear or neglect to turn to God for truth.
I, for one, am thankful God forgives and heals because I fail at this often. But I am also thankful that God gives me His Holy Spirit so I have a light on my path and the power to resist the Devil and my own self-imposed deceptions every step of the way.
“What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” Mark 1:27b