HOW TO GET INTEGRATED

  • Has it begun to concern you that living the Christian life is oftentimes difficult, if not downright
    impossible?   
  • Does it seem to you that you ought to be at least a little successful at being like Jesus?  
  • Do you often feel powerless to resist sinful things - and to do Christ-like things?

Well, this short paper addresses these topics, using Romans 5:12-6:13 as a resource of revelation
on how to be a whole, as well as a holy, Christian.  If that’s something that appeals to you - read
on.  

Let's use the term, “INTEGRATED” to describe our goal to be like Jesus.  I know it’s kind of a
strange word to use for salvation, but follow me here. To be “integrated” means to be “coordinated
or blended into a functioning or unified whole.” Does that sound like something you’d like to see in
your own life. In the bigger picture, that's what it means to be saved.   I’m talking about our "parts"
(that is, our spirit, soul and body) working together instead of against each other.

One man asked another, “Sir, are you a Christian?” He hesitated and then replied, “Yes – in spots.”
Well, the goal of this paper is to help you become a Christian throughout your being – to become a
“spotless” Christian!

Before we can begin to understand being "integrated,” we must look back to our disintegration, and
then trace the path toward integration.

Romans 5:12-21 is key to understanding how we became so disintegrated to begin with. Read the
passage in its entirety. Here are some highlights…

“…just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin… death came to
all men because all sinned… just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so
also the result of one act of righteousness (Jesus’ death on the cross) was justification that brings
life for all men. … just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners,
so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous...”

So, the first thing we should note is that the First Adam began as a totally “together” person.   

The First Adam was totally
TOGETHER
("integrated")
Adam was totally integrated in the beginning.  None of him was working against the rest of him.  He
had no opposition from his own being.   The only opposition he had was from the outside of him (i.e.
the devil).  His spirit, soul, and body all worked in cooperation with each other. His mind, emotion,
and will (his soul) and his body were complete assets to his life.   His "spirit was willing,” and his
flesh wasn't weak!

Note that in the diagram, Adam's "parts" all cooperate within him.  There is no conflict between his
spirit, soul, and body.  His spirit was saturated with God, his soul (mind, emotion, and will) was
submitted to God (and cooperating with his spirit), and his body was subject to God, following the
lead of his spirit and soul.

       
The First Adam
FELL APART
(he disintegrated)
Then there came a day that Adam got "converted!”  He changed his mind about God and his faith
died (that is, he doubted God and believed a lie!).

Immediately his "parts" quit working together.  His spirit became vacant.   He became disintegrated.  
He lost coordination of the whole.   He lost his wholeness.  His soul and body became renegade.  
As a result, his parts were invaded by Satan and thus became instruments of unrighteousness
(Romans 6:13).

In the following diagram, his "center" is empty because he kicked God out of his spirit.  There is now
confusion in the soul and body as a result of sin.  When we pushed God out of the core of our lives,
the rest of our being “fell apart.” Since then we’ve been plagued with psychological dysfunction (the
Greek word for soul is ‘psuches’) and physical disease.

The real bad news is that everybody born since then was born into the same state into which Adam
fell - that's the message of Romans  5:12-21. Each of us were born (the first time) with a deserted
spirit, a dysfunctional soul, and a dying body! That’s why we need to be “born-again!”


The Last Adam was totally
TOGETHER
(integrated)
This is where the Good News comes in…  

Adam is called, "The First Adam" and Christ, "The Last Adam" (I Corinthians 15:45).  This is
because Jesus lived in the same state as Adam did before he fell into sin.  Like Adam, Jesus had
unfallen human nature.  He was totally integrated - all His "parts" worked together, as did Adam's
before he fell.   

Notice that the diagram for the "Last Adam" is identical with that of the "First Adam,” with "integrity"
throughout. Jesus was “altogether lovely… holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners… (He) did
all things well…” He had a saturated spirit, a submitted soul, and a body subject to the Father’s will.
He had no contradictions in His being, no confusion between His parts. He had “integrity” –
wholeness!


The Last Adam was also the
SECOND MAN
(integrated & exemplary)
In I Corinthians 15:47 Adam is called "The First Man,” and Christ, "The Second Man.”  As the Last
Adam, He played a part that won't be duplicated by anyone else. But as the Second Man, He was
being something that is to be duplicated - He was being what we are aiming at being, that is,
"integrated.” Jesus is, "The firstborn among many brothers," (Romans 8:29) which means that we
who follow Him are aiming at the same kind of "integration" which He had. He’s our prototype of
wholeness.

The $100 question is: How can this ever be?  How do we become integrated like He was when on
earth?  The answer is simple, but profound.


The Last Adam/ The Second Man
IS IN US!
(Living His life through us)
If we hope to integrated, we need the "Second Man" to live in us!  If we want to be whole like He
was whole, we must receive Him into our spirit and live in the power of the Integrated One!  In order
to rid ourselves of our disintegration, we must welcome Him to reside in us, and live His life through
us!

Note that in the diagram below depicting the Christian, the spirit is once again full, because God
lives there. Notice also that in the soul and body there is still some conflict (i.e. we still have sin
nature to bother us), but there is measurably less conflict and confusion in the soul and body or the
born-again person.

Paul summed it up when he declared:  
"I've been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me, and the life
which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for
me." (Galatians 2:20).

That is what the next section in Romans is all about (Romans 6:1-13).   In it, Paul teaches us about
the DYNAMIC of the life of Christ in our spirit, the DECISION we have to constantly make in our
soul, and the DISCIPLINE we must cultivate in our body.   Read these thirteen verses before
proceeding.

What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!  We
died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized
into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  We were therefore buried with Him through baptism
into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we
too may live a new life.  If we have been united with Him in His death, we will certainly also be
united with Him in His resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the
body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because
anyone who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will
also live with Him.  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again;
death no longer has mastery over Him.  The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life
He lives, He lives to God.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ
Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  Do not
offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God,
as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as
instruments of  righteousness.


Understanding
The
DYNAMIC
in your spirit
(Romans 6:1-10)
Can you see that God offers not so much a changed life, as an exchanged one?! Salvation is not an
improvement of the old, but an impartation of the new!  Too many people seem to join the "Old
Adam Improvement Society.”  Christ is not offering a make-over or a face-lift. It’s not a reformation,
but a transformation.

Salvation is so radical that it's illustrated by life's two most radical experiences: Birth (John 3:3-5)
and death (Romans 6:1-13). The changes God makes in us are not so much due to our trying, but
to our dying, and then rising again with new life and power to obey Him!

It's important to remember that we are able to change our lifestyle after receiving Jesus, not
primarily because of anything we do, but because of the power He imparts when He comes to be
our “Live-In Savior!”  True, we become recipients of the DYNAMIC through the DECISION and the
DISCIPLINE, but the bottom-line is the DYNAMIC of Christ's life within us that empowers us to be
holy.

In verse 6, Paul speaks of the "old self".  So, who's that?  That is the person you used to be.  The
"new self,” then is the person you are now since receiving Jesus into your spirit.  The "old self,” was
crucified with Christ, and you were raised to life again with Him and became the "new self.”

Someone explained it in terms of your biography being written in two volumes.  Volume One is your
old self, before your salvation (You - B.C. 'before Christ'). Volume Two is your new self, what you
are now that you're saved.  Volume One ended with the death of the "old self,”  and Volume Two
begins with the resurrection of the "new self.”

When Paul says that, "the body of sin was rendered powerless,”  he  means that your sin nature,
though still in you, is now out of a job!   It's still in town but is unemployed.  It's not extinct or
annihilated, but doesn’t have the authority it once had.  Its power is broken.  It's not abolished, but it
is overthrown.

The sin nature within us is therefore defeated, but won't lie down!  It's unemployed, but won't
entirely retire. God doesn't take away our ability to sin, but He does give us the power not to.  God’s
“divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) but won’t make
us use it.

The story is told of the town drunk who would stumble down to the church altar each Sunday crying,
"Clean out the cobwebs, Lord.  Clean out the cobwebs!"  Finally one woman in the church had had
enough, and as he was staggering down the aisle one Sunday she cried out, "Forget the cobwebs,
Lord!  Kill the spider!"

Many seem to be living as though they were just trying to constantly clean out the cobwebs - But
God has killed the spider!  Without sin's dynamic being undone and the new dynamic put inside,
we're just cleaning cobwebs.

In light of what we’re saying, someone once profoundly summed up living out the Christian life in
this way:  

"The Christian life is the life which He lived then, lived now by Him in you!"

Paul spoke of the "mystery of godliness,” and then told us that "He (God) appeared in a body." (I
Timothy 3:16).  Well, He is still appearing in bodies - OURS, which are His temples.  One little girl
understood this when she asked her mother, "Mommy, is God bigger that us?"  To which her mother
replied, "Of course."  She then asked, "And He lives in us doesn't He?"  "Sure He does," her mom
returned.  The girl finally questioned, "Well, then wouldn't He show through?"  And that's essence of
what the Christian life is, God bigger than us, living in us, showing through us!

Another way this power for living right, living the integrated life, is described is found in Colossians,
"your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).  He's saying that our power source is in
Christ, and so we needn't look elsewhere for strength to live Christianly.  It’s a "hidden" source of
life, like the roots of a tree are hidden underground supplying the energy for fruitfulness and growth.

Next we have to look at the DECISION which is imperative for us to make in order for this DYNAMIC
to function.

Making the
DECISION
in your soul
(Romans 6:11)

Paul's words here are actually his very first command in the letter to the Romans. It is the first thing
that he exhorts them to do.  Up till then his letter was all was doctrine stating what we have in
Christ.  But here he tells us what we're to do with what we have.

He says plainly, "count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  

Something happened in your spirit, which needs to be acknowledged and counted on by your soul.   
Your soul needs to cling to the truth of what happened to your spirit.  Only then can your body be
put back to proper use.  This is what we're calling GETTING INTEGRATED! It’s here that your
“parts” begin cooperating, and you become more and more whole!

The story goes…
Two men were standing at a street corner arguing about a turtle they were watching.   Somehow
the turtle had had his head chopped off but was still running in circles.    One man said he believed
that the turtle was "dead" (not having the capacity of thought), the other disagreed.   Finally another
man arrived and they asked for his opinion.   He thought about it and eventually said, "He's dead
but he don't know it!"

That's how many Christians are – they’re dead but don't know it!  They are not "counting
themselves dead to sin,” nor that they are "alive to God in Christ". When we sin, we’re acting like
the “old self” that we used to be. We’re failing to take into account the miracle that God did in us to
separate us from sin’s overwhelming power. We often fail to remember that Volume One is over,
and we're in Volume Two. We're actually going back in time and living as the "old self" that we used
to be.

What keeps a married person from flirting with members of the opposite sex?  They remember that
they are married - they consider it, they count themselves married. They may or may not feel it but
they are it! Then they make a decision to believe it and act on it by resisting the temptation to deny
it.

What is a soul anyway?  It's that part of you which thinks, feels, and decides. It’s your intellect,
emotion, and will.  These capacities (your soul) must learn to take orders from your spirit (where
Jesus lives) and give them to the body to carry out.

This is what we mean when we speak of the DECISION of the soul. Your soul's decision is where
the battle for an integrated and obedient life is won or lost.   You’re deciding moment by moment
whether or not to utilize the DYNAMIC, which was placed in your spirit.  

It seems that both the spirit and the body are constantly sending orders to the soul. “For the sinful
nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They
are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (Galatians 5:17)  

The soul chooses between the spiritual (messages from the spirit) and the sensual (messages from
the body).   Whose orders will your soul follow?

“… put to death the misdeeds of the body… put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature…
those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires… If anyone
would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
(Galatians 5:24, Colossians 3:5, Romans 8:13, Luke 9:23)  

These all speak of putting to death the orders of the body, and not with a rubber  knife! We “crucify
the flesh” when we make choices that destroy the goals of the sinful nature (selfishness, pride,
etc.). If you want something to die you have to stop feeding it!

The orders which your body issues which you fail to kill, will come back and kill you later, much like
the enemies of Israel in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 7:1-3).  The "peace" God has promised to
us is not the absence of a battle with sin due to our giving in to sin’s lure.   It is the absence of a
battle with God because we've given in to Him!

It is our responsibility with the Spirit's help to "put to death the misdeeds of the body.”   The duty is
ours, but never forget that the dynamic His!   Apart from Him we can do nothing. Remember - the
Christian life is the life He lived then, lived now by Him in you!  

Jesus told us to "deny" ourselves (Luke 9:23),   that is, to behave toward our "old self" as Peter
behaved toward Jesus when he denied Him.   We're to deny, disown, turn our back on the "old self"
that we used to be.  The first time that we denied ourselves was when we initially repented.   We
just need to keep doing what we began to do then - DAILY!  

Our success in the Christian life will be in direct proportion to the exercise of our “No! Muscle.” We
must lean how to say, “No!” to sin, and then to say, “Yes!” to God.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “no” to
ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present
age.”   Titus 2:11-12

The final step in the process toward purity is to practice DISCIPLINE in our body.   God has placed
DYNAMIC in our spirit (the resurrection life of Christ); we learn how to make a daily DECISION in
the soul to cooperate with the dynamic; and now we must get our body involved and learn to
DISCIPLINE it.  


Applying
DISCIPLINE
in your body
(Romans 6:12-13)
Something happened in your spirit that the soul needs to acknowledge, and then the body needs to
put to proper use.   God gave us the body for the purpose of expressing and carrying out the
desires of the spirit.

With a vacant spirit, the body can only be used for sinful purposes.   When the spirit comes alive,
the body needs to learn how to follow.  That following is called, DISCIPLINE.

The spirit tells the soul, the soul orders the body, and the body obeys… That’s what we want!
That's the goal of the integrated life we’re shooting for!

Note Paul's references to the body:  "Don't let sin reign in your MORTAL BODY.  Do not offer the
PARTS OF YOUR BODY to sin as instruments of wickedness…  offer the PARTS OF YOUR BODY
as instruments of righteousness.  "

The term, "instruments" can also mean "weapons.”  When we yield our body to sin we are actually
attacking the purposes of God.   Sin is therefore sort of a treason - offering weapons to the enemy.   
Conversely, when we use our body for good, we are offering our members as weapons for God to
use in the cosmic battle against the evil one.  

When used properly, our body is the tool (instrument) of our spirit.   When this is the case, we are
moving toward the goal of integration! When you drop a rock in a pool, waves go OUT.  Your
actions originate (at least they should) in your spirit, move out to the soul (intellect, emotion, and
will), and finally get passed on out to the body to be lived out.  I think that this is part of what
"working OUT your own salvation" means.   It's getting the implications of our salvation on the
outside - from the spirit to the soul to the body.  

Instead of the body giving the orders, it needs to learn to take them.   Paul speaks of making his
body his "slave" (I Corinthians 9:27). He wanted his outer man (body) following the orders of his
inner man (soul and spirit), and not the other way around.  

Living the Christian life is not just what we don’t do. Living like Jesus is both - putting sinful deeds to
death, AND getting righteous deeds done! We're not merely denying ourselves and keeping the
orders of the body from controlling our lives.  We do want to get some orders OUT from the spirit to
the body to carry out. We want to be sure to live in such a way as to do some positive good!  On the
other hand, doing  a lot of righteous things doesn’t cover up the sin that you're letting in. This is all
part of being integrated and whole.   

Notice that in the diagram below there are BOTH - orders from the body being crucified, and orders
from the spirit being obeyed and practiced.  

Later in Romans, Paul speaks of offering our BODIES as "living sacrifices" to God (Romans 12:1).  
This parallels what he's said in 6:13, "offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought
from death to life".   We're a "living sacrifice" because we've not only died with Christ, but have been
raised with Him.   We're "living" because of the resurrection life of Jesus that God imparted to us at
conversion.   That’s the DYNAMIC we have in our spirit!  Let’s use it!

Don't forget -
The dynamic is GOD'S part…  
The decision and the discipline are both YOUR part…
 

The DECISION and DISCIPLINE are worthless without the DYNAMIC… And the DYNAMIC is
inoperative without the DECISION and the DISCIPLINE… We can’t do His part, and He won’t do
ours…  

Lord, make us whole! Help us to be integrated again!
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