Practical Christianity

Armand Kruger, MA

Summary: The Bible gives promises of what people get/receive, explains the why, instructs clearly the what, and presupposes certain reference experiences that people can and will access in certain contexts.

1. The Bible makes promises of what human beings get from God: grace to do, power to affect, redemption to set free, the working and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide, nourish, counsel, etc.

Col. 1:12-14 " giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Ro 5:3-4 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."

Ro 5:5 "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

2. What is given leads to certain emergent properties which is an expression of these "givens', for example, the fruit of the Spirit, to which the person as the recipient can only be thankful and safeguard them with the proper "away from" thinking and behavior patterns.

Col.1:10-11 "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully"

3. As a free agent in God's plan, consistent instructions in "how to run the race" is given in juxtaposition to that which takes us further away from God (sin) and spoils any likeness to Christ. Always(!) are the don'ts followed up immediately by the do's":

1 Peter 3:11 "He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it." 

Col. 3:5-13 "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator..... Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

4. The do/s are even layered/chained for us in a way that is acceptable to God.

2 Pe 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Pe 1:5-7 "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."

5. Loving God is a two way street: you get so that you can give. 

Col 1:22-23 "But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel."

Experienced Christians through the ages1 write and wrestle with the fact of "keeping the faith". There are "enough" admonitions" in the Bible to appreciate the fact that it is a key element in one's practical Christianity, and in the Scripture quote above it is linked to a beautiful promise. For both the experienced Christian and the young, "post-honey-moon" one dealing with doubt under difficult circumstances as an ever present challenge. Knowing what to do, and what it will cost you if you don't, is clear. But, where do I start? Is there something to learn from the "resilience pattern"?

6. Why and what to do in the life of Faith is clear, however, what is not found in the Bible is a prescribed or preferred way of "how to specifically do.....". NS/NLP is ideally suited to contribute to this "how" against the mystery and the standards stated in the Bible.

Power Zone.

Michael Hall describes the Power Zone2 as the four powers or responses (thought-feelings = the private powers, and expression as verbalizing and behavior = public powers) which serves as the irrefutable evidence of one's "me-ness" or "I am".

The power lies in the fact that it emerges from "me" and cannot be sources any other place. External situations might create the context for, but they cannot produce my pictures, sounds, feelings, meanings, etc. Secondly, the power lies further in the fact that this is also the "place" of my choosing. Choosing to think like this or that, tolerate or change my feelings about...., etc.

This is the intimate private "place" from which a person interfaces with God; the core of the experience of being in God's presence, having a relationship with Him, is in this very singular place of my thoughts, my feelings, the source of my behaviors. This is the place where the Holy Spirit as logos operates and works, and here I sense the calling or admonishing of the Holy Spirit. My power zone is the cutting edge of my relationship with Christ. The power of recognizing my boundaries and that I am more than any one piece of content that flits through my power zone, is the beginning of recognizing the "indwelling" of the Holy Spirit. 

The power zone is source of the conviction of the anguish of Martin Luther when he said "I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen." Some earlier versions added the words: "Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise." Here is a man who operated from his power zone, like a Paul whose power zone was enveloped by "being in Christ". One cannot help but think that "being in Christ" has the meaning of one's power zone being outframed by one's relationship to and love of Christ. The frame-of-reference as from the renewal of my mind is Christ, the source of my strength, the nourishment when I am weak, the ultimate answer to my "about" questions. In Christ, "here I stand, I cannot do otherwise"3.

Meta-stating negative emotions:

Meta-stating negative emotions results from the bringing a state to bear on another state. Michael writes about our Dragons, i.e. when we have a negative emotion about in existing state. Examples are: fear about my fear, anger about being angry, dislike of my sentimentality, etc. Princely states are bringing resourceful states onto an existing state so that the emergent quality or texture of the new state is "better". Examples of Princely states are being calm about my anger, respectful of my fear, gentle about my sentimentality, repentant about my attitude rather than self-rejecting, etc. The above examples are as if one can layer only two states at a time, but nothing is further from the truth: reflecting on my anger is about my progress in my increasing likeness to Jesus Christ.

Meta-frame4:

Love God and likewise, love thy neighbor as thyself.

Resilience5:

"The power to bounce back from Set-backs" is how Michael Hall describes it. When we get the set backs because things have gone (unexpectedly) wrong, then we need the resilience of mind and emotions to bounce back. If one use a pessimistic way of thinking about the setback, you aggravate the effect. Seligman6 suggests that one seriously considers frames like it is "i) temporary; ii) specific in time and place; iii) external in source".

James reminds us in chapter 1:2-5 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." 

J.I. Packer, in his bestseller "Knowing God" describes wisdom as not knowing the mind of God, but how to be/behave in the practice of the contexts which He creates. Rather than a "woe is me to whom this always happen no matter where I find myself, and I can expect more since these things never end", one can be a Paul who remembers that not only is this training, a race, but it does not really stack up to the end in store for us. Setbacks are about remembering "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James chapter 1:12)

References

1 St. John of the Cross: Dark Night of the Soul. Hodder and Stoughton Christian Classics, London; as well as John Bunyan's Grace Abounding. The Works of John Bunyan, Vol.1. Banner of Truth Trust, London.

2 Hall, L Michael (2000): Secrets of Personal Mastery. Crown Publishers; page 63ff and his "Pattern for a Magnificent Obsession" as described in Frame Games. Neuro-Semantics, Grand junction. Page 228ff.

3 Roland H Bainton (1987): Here I stand. A life of Martin Luther. Abingdon Press, Nashville; page 144.

4 Kruger, Armand and Bodenhamer, Bob G (2001) "Biblical Frames: Key to Spirituality."

5 Hall, L Michael (2000): Meta-States Certification Manual. Neuro-Semantics Publication, Grand Junction; page106ff.

6 Seligman, Martin E.P. (1998): Learned Optimism. Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, NY.

Contact information for Armand Kruger:

South Africa's Institute of Neuro - Semantics
Armand Kruger
PO Box 494
Meyerton
South Africa, 1960
Fax: 2716-362-1559

armandk@lantic.net

www.peakperformer.co.za


    2001 Armand Kruger All rights reserved.