By: Shane James O’Neill
Sitting in church, singing, worship, beautiful voices, God’s Word, smiling, laughter, lust.
Good things are being said, but I can’t hear them. People are trying to connect, but I can’t see them. Old memories vying to be my current masters. They want me to play in a world that they’ve created, created just for me. An imaginary world of perfect smells, pleasurable sights, and touches that capture my heart’s affections even as they take control of my hearts beating pace.
Exhale: “I am yours”
Exhale: “I am yours”
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
“You are not my master. You do not have dominion.”
“I am yours”
Tracing Our Steps
A few weeks ago we looked at how Paul talks about authority and slavery. Peter has his own communication of slavery: “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” — 2 Peter 2:19
Lust promises freedom as it lulls us into submission, overcomes us, and makes us slaves of corruption. It eats away our imaginations, our relationships, our time, our passions, our hopes, and our desires. We begin to orient our days around lust, we begin to measure people by it, we plan our futures around it, and over time we pick the imaginary over the real.
“Have dominion…. and authority.” Strange to think that we need to practice dominion over our selves — authority of thoughts and feelings.
“For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh…. We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
Building the Kingdom of God is a practice that includes our imaginations. If we can’t reason rightly, how will we interact with Jesus and His saints; if we can’t picture who we want to be, how can we partner with Jesus toward wholeness; if we can’t conceive of a better world, how will we sow into it; if we can’t envision redemption, how will we exercise hope?
Dominion of Breath
I learned that practice of breathing from Brennan Manning. It compels you to take dominion in the simplest way possible, over your breath.
Authority over what and how I was breathing slowly granted me dominion over my thoughts, then over my imagination, and then over my body.
Living freely is not intuitive or natural. We need to practice it. Settling for enslavement is not an option. But that is what Jesus has invited us into: a lifetime and eternity of regaining and practicing dominion — even of our own selves. And we get a family to do it with.
Breathe and “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
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Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for ProvenMen Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.