Becoming a person of fully realized potential requires embracing the world of possibilities.
What are the possibilities for you when your spirit, soul and body are all in alignment with the thoughts, nature and character of God, in whose image you are created?
What is the nature of the link between the non-material spirit and soul to the material body?
Although limited research into the spirit/body connection exists, we have significant data regarding the mind/body dynamic.
Dr. Ellen Langer is prolific among “Psychology of Possibility” researchers. The research she published in “Counter Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility,” includes a most delightful and interesting project.
To what extent can the mind influence the body? If I smelled a fresh donut and imagined eating it, would my blood sugar rise? Would people fully convinced that their teeth are in excellent condition have healthier-looking X-rays at their annual checkups? Do men who become bald at a young age and thus see themselves as prematurely old test as older physiologically than men their age with a full head of hair? Do women who undergo cosmetic surgery and see a more youthful self in the mirror age more slowly? The questions may seem a bit “out there,” but they were worth asking. Langer, Ellen J.. Counterclockwise (p. 5). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Michelle Gielan, in Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change, summarizes Dr. Langer’s initial study.
The brilliant maverick Harvard professor Dr. Ellen Langer has been designing studies for four decades that prove our mental story affects our health. In a single study Dr. Langer cracked the code and scientifically reversed signs of aging. She did not accomplish this with expensive creams or plastic surgery but simply by telling a different story about aging. This happened almost three decades ago, but it still has yet to be learned by the general public. “Welcome to the year 1959!” Dr. Langer said in 1979, as she invited a group of seventy-five-year-old men to go on a weeklong retreat as part of a large-scale psychology experiment.7 The men had been told one thing only before coming to the retreat: They could not bring any newspapers, photographs, or books from the past twenty years of their lives. Langer and her team took these men twenty years back in time to the late fifties by refitting the retreat center with items recalling the year 1959, when these men were fifty-five years old, such as Saturday Evening Posts and Life magazines. Each man received a badge with his name on it and a photo of himself from 1959. They were told to talk only about their jobs and lives from that time period. Langer had a daring hypothesis: The human aging process was mediated by what we tell ourselves about our life stories. And this seemingly off-the-wall study showed she was right. Langer tested the men for signs of aging before and after the week, and the results were mind-blowing. Gielan, Michelle. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change (pp. 11-12). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Dr. Langer explains the day to day activities of the research group.
Once at the retreat, we met daily to discuss current events such as the 1958 (“last year” in the case of the experimental group) launch of the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1; the need for bomb shelters; and Castro’s advance into Havana. A talk on communism became very heated, as did a recap of the Baltimore Colts’: 31–16 defeat of the New York Giants in the NFL championship game. We listened as Royal Orbit won the Preakness, watched Sgt. Bilko and Ed Sullivan on a black-and-white television, and shared our thoughts about “recent” books such as Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger, Leon Uris’s Exodus, and Philip Roth’s Goodbye Columbus. Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason made us laugh; Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat “King” Cole sang on the radio, and we watched movies like The Diary of Anne Frank, Ben Hur, North by Northwest, and Some Like It Hot. Langer, Ellen J.. Counterclockwise (pp. 9-10). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Michelle Gielan summarizes the results of the research.
After one week of reliving life in their mid-fifties, the men showed, on average, statistically significant improvements in strength, posture, flexibility, memory, and intelligence. Even more incredible, the men’s eyesight improved by an average of 10 percent! Even naive raters—people who had never met the men—viewed pictures of the men at week’s end and judged them as looking an average of three years younger.
Gielan, Michelle. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change (pp. 11-12). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
God’s word has much to say about the possibilities that exist in the spirit/soul/body link within the Christian person.
Consider Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Jesus is I AM in all three. Not so for you and me. I was, I am, I will be.
What I am is not my greatest limiting factor. An inadequate understanding of what I can be is the major limitation.
- My understanding of what I was can limit my understanding of what I can be.
- My understanding of what I am can limit my understanding of what I can be.
Knowing what I am and knowing what I can be are two different things.
What are the possibilities before you when you tune your spirit, soul and body to the frequency of God and His word?
Consider the possibilities of your spirit impacting your body as revealed in Proverbs 18:14.
A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
Notice the positive impact the healthy spirit has on the human body with infirmity. Also, we see the negative impact a wounded spirit has on the body.
Look what possibilities exist when you present your body and mind to God. Romans 12:1, 2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Soak in the positive results of presenting your body and mind to God.
- Holy and acceptable to God
- Spiritual worship
- Discern the will of God
- Discern what is good and acceptable and perfect
What you view as impossible in your spirit significantly impacts your body and soul.
What you view as impossible in your body significantly impacts your spirit and soul.
What you view as impossible in your soul significantly impacts your spirit and body.
I can become a person of fully realized potential when I embrace the world of possibilities of a God aligned spirit, soul and body.
Jesus said, in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
With the Psalmist in Psalm 43:5, let us talk to ourselves.
- “Spirit, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- “Soul, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- “Body, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Listen – My Story
- Do you have a personal story of a time when your emotions (soul) impacted your body?
- Do you have a personal story of a time when your body impacted your spirit?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Please talk about the interrelationships between the spirit, soul and body in the following passages:
- Proverbs 17:22
- Proverbs 15:13
- Proverbs 15:15
- Proverbs 14:30
- Please read Philippians 4:8. What might be the benefits of obedience to this passage for your spirit, soul and body?
Lift – Prayer
- Please pray for the team who traveled from Texas to upgrade the MCA Children’s Ministry Center for the upcoming Champions Club.
- Please pray for the role you will serve in the July 4th outreach event.
- Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the July 4th
- Please pray for things or situations in the spirit, soul and body of your life group members.
Life – Taking it Home
- Is there something you need to add or subtract in your spirit, soul or body?
- What possibility in your spirit, soul and body do you need to encourage today?