In the process of working on my most recent newsletter, I stumbled on this scripture:
It was interesting to me so I looked it up. in this instance, "Patience" is the Greek word ὑπομονή Transliteration:hupomonē Phonetic: hoop-om-on-ay' Part of Speech: Noun Feminine.
It's a NOUN! It's not an adverb describing how to wait, it's is a noun. You wait WITH patience. This is a concept that is difficult for a lot of English speakers and, let's face it, people in general to comprehend, but Patience is not a verb, adjective, or adverb here. It is a Noun. A person, place, thing, or idea. This means it is an existing thing. It is tangible and while it may not have a physical form that most can see, it does have a form.
The fact that " concepts" or " Ideas" have physical manifestations was not at all uncommon in the world of the ancients. It is well documented in many religious texts that concepts like fear, compassion, glory, and patience were once accepted as entities. Beings that could be interacted with, fought with, conjured, or rebuked. To this day we still have an understanding that these concepts are THINGS that one can possess.
" She moved through the water with effortless GRACE. "
" The boy was begging for MERCY. "
" It is a KINDNESS I shall never forget. "
" Police launched a search for the family amid FEARS for their safety. "
It is a common understanding among spiritual and religious platforms that things like Fear, Control, and Hate are not just emotions felt in the human mind, but are LITERAL entities, spirits, or demons. In practically ALL non-Western Pollytheistic viewpoints these entities are their own Gods, Demi-Gods, or some form of powerful being that influences the physical realm ( imps, sprits, fairies, demons, spirits, etc..). So why then, is it not equally as likely that positive counterparts of these entities exist? In non-western cultures and non-Christian theologies, they actually ARE. Many Eastern philosophies and religions believe deeply in the fact that for every " negative" there is a " positive" and the power they hold is either balanced or not. Even in the Christian church, there are Demond and Angels, while they are not always separated out into " demons of _____" or " angels of _____" there are texts that indicate they are associated with many human " emotions." This was especially relevant in the early churches and a similar concept of Saints can be compared in the modern Catholic Church.
Why then is it ok to tell someone who is struggling with life that they have a spirit of Control wreaking havoc, but not that someone who is blissfully happy that they are being influenced by a spirit of peace? Why are positive emotions things that we are expected to believe dwell within our bodies as our emotions, instead of outside of us as an influence? We are expected to push away fear like it's an object but told that peace is inside of us. Why is it common to tell someone that their fear is a real-life demon but it's not common to talk about an entity of say, mercy?
Some bible scholars refer to Archangel Zadkiel as the angel of mercy and believe that God used him to speak to Abraham when he was about to sacrifice Issac. If we attribute negative emotions to external forces such as demons and find biblical proof that this is so, why would we not then also attribute positive emotions to external forces such as Angels? the Book of Enoch mentions seven holy angels who watch, that often are considered the seven archangels: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Saraqael, Raguel, and Remiel. Why would these entities not be appropriate to view as the concept of grace or patience? Thereby meaning that we could invite peace, love, mercy into our lives just as we would push fear, hate, and sadness out.
On the flip side of this is the idea that I feel is the most fundamentally understood, though possibly least actualized concept and that is this: As creations of God, we were made from the same things God is. We can find what God is made of throughout the bible, but he is very open about what he is the God of in Exodus 33.
“the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…”
As we know, before the fall of man, we were created in the image and likeness of God. So our souls ARE patience, grace, compassion, love, faithfulness; and yes, even anger and sadness becasue there are righteous forms of those emotions. Once humanity fell we had to interact with the physical realm of existence. ( the flesh ). WHich opened us up to a host of things. Pain, Disease, Death ( all of which are biblically entities that are made manifest in the physical realm). However, some of these concepts/ emotions are double-edged. Similarly to God, we EXPERIENCE, things like anger and sorrow, but we are not MADE of them. We, like God, only experience those things when interacting with the physical world. God interacts with humans who are under the influence of the world we find that it sometimes brings sorrow or anger but in these cases, we see the righteous embodiment of those negative forces. God feels sorrow, not out of selfishness, but out of knowing how what his children are doing will hurt them. He feels anger, not against his children, but against the forces that have tricked them.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
So the reason we do not associate these positive concepts with external entities is that on a base level, we know that they are part of what we are made of. Just as God is not a God of fear, hate, or control. We are not beings of fear, hate, or control. We understand on a base level that these are external forces that wish to do us harm and steer us away from who we were created in the image of. We are created as beings of Mercy, Grace, Patience, Faithfulness, and Love. When we see our fellow humans being treated poorly, we experience sorrow. When we are treated poorly by our fellow humans, we feel anger. It is when we steer away from, see someone else steering away from, or are being pushed away from our true identity, that we begin to have external forces influences us and tell us that they are really on the inside and part of our " emotions", part of who we ARE. Because when they can convince us that they are just another element of our personality, we won't force them out.
So in closing, I offer these thoughts and ask these questions.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us. The Holy Spirit is a person, a part of God. We are creations made in the same image as God. Why then would we not believe that things like Patience, Love, Compassion, Knowledge, Truth, etc... ( all of which are elements that make up the Holy Spirit, there for part of God, whom we are the image of ) are not entities that makeup who we are? Internal forces that are there to help us combat the negative external forces. Why do we have no problem with a triune God that had multiple separate entities, nor do we struggle with the fact that we were made like Him, but we struggle with the idea that more than one entity can dwell within us, as us because they are us?
Is it possible that catching hold of this concept, that patience, grace, love, joy, peace, sadness, anger, etc.. are all " people" could open up a better understanding of who we are? Could we then find it easier to allow those " people" in and out of our lives, expressions of ourselves, and therefore also be able to release the ones that are no good for us? ( is that not what is done during a deliverance?)
Is it possible that non of these concepts/emotions/ entities are inherently bad, but that the way we interact with them is what determines their effect on our lives?
Food for thought until next time.