So many components make up who we are and what we do. Our motivations and intentions lead us to the choices we make and our actions. But what does the Bible have to say about all of the inner parts of who we are?
All of the things inside of us that no one else can see the Holy Spirit sees. He knows every part of our innermost being. Jesus does a deep under the hood transformation in us when he makes us new creatures.
Although none of us can truly understand every component that makes us who we are, I want to explore some of these components. The Bible provides insight into many of these aspects of our person. Let’s take a look at how God has made us.
The Biblical Heart
At the beginning of our journey, we talked about the biblical mind and how the Bible uses the Hebrew model of our mind and heart together. God didn’t design us to just use reason alone or to react with emotions alone.
Reason and motions, along with the other parts of our mind, combine to help us with all of our mental tasks, especially decision making. The biblical heart is not a blood pumping organ but an integrated mind.
Every aspect of the inner person is guided by the heart, the mind of each person. Jesus changes every part of us on the inside. As we will discuss, he changes our motives, intentions, and our desires. He makes us new and devoted to him.
Before we met Jesus, we were only concerned with ourselves. Our selfish motives directed every action we took. Our motives are the brain children of our actions. We don’t do anything without our motives in place.
Our motives decide how we proceed and why we do what we do. We tended to act out of whatever advancement we received before we met Jesus. But all that changed when we began to follow him.
Now our motives are completely different. We act out of a desire to please God. Everything we do is to glorify him. Our goal for our behavior and actions considers our love for God. We don’t act out of fear of what he would do to us in his judgment.
One of our motives as God’s children is to act out of our identity in Christ. Because we know who we are in Jesus, we now act out of our brand-new identity as his creatures. Our goals have changed. He has made us work out of a desire to help others instead of our own selfish ambitions.
If the motive is the brainchild of the action, our intentions are all about our intended results. When we commit to an action, the intention is what we expect to happen. Before we met Jesus, I intentions were for our betterment, to further our cause or self.
We did whatever would affect our own success. We weren’t concerned about the plight of others. If you think I’m pushing the idea of selfishness before Christ too far, just think back to your old life before him. An honest look at your motives and intentions in the past will bring the same conclusion.
But now our intentions are completely different. We do not seek a selfish outcome. We want to further the kingdom of God. Jesus taught us to seek his kingdom first and his righteousness, and then we would see all of these other things come to pass (Matthew 6:33).
Intentions involve the planning that we do. The Bible tells us that we seek our own plans and intentions but the Lord directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). We can plan all we want, but if we don’t include the Lord in our plans, they are doomed to fail.
It is much better for us to plan with the Lord in mind. What I mean by this is that we intend righteous results instead of our own desires. We want to see God’s kingdom on this earth. If there’s something we do in our lives that brings that result, this is our intended path.
When you make your plans, do you include all the possibilities for intercession from the Lord? If the Lord wants us to do something, it should be our main plan. We must prioritize time in his presence and Word ahead of all other things. The Lord blesses those who plan with him in mind.
From the conversations we hold to the actions we take, we work for the Lord. We pray for God’s kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10). We are the Lord’s representatives on this earth. We hope to guide others to him. God purifies our intentions.
Before we met Jesus, our desires were all about us. We had evil desires and we didn’t even care. We did what we wanted to do and we gratified ourselves. If we got something out of it, that’s the path we chose in the action we did.
The Bible talks about both good and evil desires. But before we met Jesus there was no reason to do what he wanted. All of that has changed. Now we have godly desires that replaced our selfish desires.
Habits are very important and hard to break. But when we try to remove a habit, we must replace it with another. All of our old habits the Holy Spirit is working to replace in us. He is putting godly and righteous habits in place of the old ones.
Our old desires only sought to please us. But now we have new desires, first to act out of our love and gratitude toward Jesus, and then to please him in everything we do. We want to do the right thing, not for our sake but for the sake of the kingdom of God.
We want to put into place in our lives these godly desires the Bible talks about. Jesus has changed the very core of our being. By his act of love in dying on the cross for us, for giving us of our sins, and cleansing us from unrighteousness, it’s the least we can do to glorify him.
Personality is the sum of who we are. It includes our thoughts, our perceptions, our attitudes, our unique life imprint. But how much of our personality does Jesus change when he makes us new creatures?
It’s my understanding that Jesus can use our personality for the glory of his kingdom. Take Paul for instance. He was a rough guy. But even after Jesus saved him, he was still a pretty rough guy. He dealt with some of the underbelly of the church, those who did not understand what it meant to be Christian.
For those who needed to be dealt with harshly, he was the man who made that happen. But at the same time, when the situation called for a softness and kindness to others, Paul was able to accomplish this.
Peter is another example. Before he met Jesus, and even as one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter said what he thought. He had no filter. He would even say things he intended to follow up on but didn’t really want to follow up on them.
In the upper room he said he would die with Jesus. Then he denied Jesus three times to avoid going to the cross with him. But I’ve got to give Peter credit. Church tradition tells us he was hung upside down on a cross because he couldn’t stand to be crucified just like his Savior.
These are powerful testimonies, and perhaps indications of how much Jesus changes of our personality. Whatever you can use for the praise of his glory Jesus doesn’t change in us. If you can use that rough strength in us, he will.
But I believe there are parts of our personality that must change. Psychologists tell us that much of her personality is unchangeable. But Jesus can do anything. If there’s something in us that doesn’t glorify him that he can’t use to further his kingdom, I believe he changes it to make it usable.
Most of your personality will not change as a Christian. If you were bullheaded before you met Christ, he will use your bullheaded personality to kick down the gates of Hell. If you were quiet and unassuming before you met Christ, he will use you in the background for his glory.
God changes what he needs to change in us. It’s not that he makes us better, but that he makes us holy, godly, and most able to serve him in his kingdom. He has a place for everybody. If he can use Peter and Paul, he can use you.
Soul and Spirit
There is so much debate and Christian scholarship today about dichotomy and trichotomy, how we are composed as human beings. Dichotomy states that we are made up of the soul/spirit and the body. Trichotomy postulates that we are made up of the soul, spirit, and body.
I tend to lead toward the trichotomy point of view. But we argue about things we can’t be sure of. Humans are a mystery. Our Creator made us wonderfully. So while I have my view, I could be wrong.
Sometimes I like to suggest that rather than trying to figure out our makeup and how everything works together we could think of it a different way. There is a spiritual side to us, an eternal part of us that will live on past physical death.
There is also a physical part of us, the body, that is just a tent or shell for this life. It will pass away. But what about our soul? Where’s that housed? I suggest that our mind contains her school, the imprint of who we are.
If we look at things this way, then we have an eternal spirit/soul, a mind, and a body. This is just a suggestion of another way to look at things. The eternal part of us, who we are and the part of us that connects with God (our spirit) will live on to eternity. The mind houses are sold for now. It’s the command center for how we live. And the body will pass away, be made new in the resurrection.
As I said, I am humble about the possibilities of explaining how God made us. I want to leave a bit of mystery because I believe God is so creative that we’re not going to be able to explain the entirety of how he creates. Suffice it to say, the eternal part of us will know him forever.
The Psalmist isn’t wrong. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). These are just the musings of another guy trying to figure out these things. But I can tell you that Jesus changes the parts of us that need his changes the most.
He doesn’t make us mindless drones. The Bible preserves the personalities of the biblical writers. You can see their personality and conflicts as they interacted with one another. As long as we use the proper channels, our different opinions and backgrounds can make us stronger together.
God can use you as he made you. After all, he took great joy in crafting you in your mother’s womb and making you the person that can serve him the best in your corner of the world. Be confident that God is making you the holy person he can use for maximum impact in his kingdom. Leave a comment and tell me how God is using you in your unique approach for his kingdom.