The divided life

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By Dave Henning / February 13, 2015

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”- 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)

“A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”- James 1:8 (KJV)

John Ortberg continues Chapter 4 of Soul Keeping with this description of a well-ordered soul:

“God designed us so that our choices, our thoughts and desires, and our behavior would be in perfect harmony with each other and would be powered by an unbroken connection with God, in perfect harmony with him and with all of his creation.”

Sin breaks this connection with God and His love, disintegrating our lives.  Thus, Pastor Ortberg states, the basic human problem is at the soul level.  He add that James’ use of the word “double-minded” literally could be translated “double-souled”, “split-souled”, or “fractured soul.”  As Parker Palmer writes in A Hidden Wholeness, the soul cries to be made whole:

“The divided life is a wounded life, and the soul keeps calling us to heal the wound.”

When we live with half-hearted devotion, our soul always is strained.  Not only do we rationalize what our will is doing, but we attempt to control the thoughts others are having about us.  Pastor Ortberg concludes:

“But when we look at our lives, the real problem isn’t just the stuff we see; it’s the thousands of things we don’t. . . . That is the human condition.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses have helped you transition from a divided life to a well-ordered soul?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the new Short Meditation, “The disciplines of patience”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Fake sunglasses”

About the author

Dave Henning


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