In a world so focused upon what is seen and what can be measured we learn to ignore what cannot be scene or measured. God is love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, truth, and justice. We cannot see or hear such things until will learn to pay close attention to them and the power behind them. Such character is invaluable in human relations. God's spirit is within us. Yet it takes a special kind of attention to hear it.
The meta-message is the message behind the message. It's not what is said, but how it is said. This takes skill and experience to read in others. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-communication
Use the Force... or is it the Spirit?
Han, Luke or Obi? Which mental attitude do you identify with the most?
Han's style of belief leans in the direction of God not existing or at least within the scope of his understanding. His whole being is based on living life selfishly. He pursues money, status, and women. His hope is based on the external so he judges and believes in the material and superficial. He believes love to be a weakness and something to be avoided. He later learns through undeniable experience the guiding force exists. He had to be shown. He begins to give in to love, but someone needed to love him first.
Luke believes but does not understand. His belief is confused. He begins his journey of studying, practicing, examining, testing, engaging, listening, processing the experience, exerting time, and effort giving in to the experience to grow, learn, and understand. He risks everything and gives himself fully toward the journey. He hopes, but inside he has doubt. His mind is plagued with countless statements and experiences from other's disbelief and replays within him reminding him 'the force' cannot be true. It's just a story, myth, or legend. Yet his interest, curiosity, and ability to listen to the spirit of truth propels him into testing and new experience despite continuous disagreement by others. In this example the spirit speaks through Obi. Luke's new experience and mentor reinforces his hope and strengthens his desire to act against the norm and continue testing. With each successful result his faith is strengthened more and more.
Obi is the teacher full of confidence and faith. He not only believes, but he knows undoubtedly. There is no confusion in him. Fully confident and experienced he understands the feelings, thoughts, and struggles of both Luke and Han making him a good teacher. He exemplifies patience, humility, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, and mercy. These attributes assist him in everything he does. He lives by such principles knowing they improve his ability to sense the unseen.
Psalm 26:2 Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
1 Corinthians 11:28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
Like Luke in the example, our thoughts need to be trained, guided, focused, evaluated, and understood. Our self control is the ability to choose an action. We control our choices. When we choose incorrectly we give into the control of something else. We choose to seek sinful ways and give into it or we choose to seek God's and give into it. This choice is repeated constantly. Choosing new or different routes requires effort and restraint because our neural pathways become trained to repeat activity. The longer we train our neurons to perform an activity the more temptation or desire we will encounter to reproduce that activity. Since comfort will lie in the familiar our minds will conjure up a multitude of justification to convince us to continue doing the same thing we have always done. Choosing to live differently to follow God may feel confusing, mysterious, awkward, abnormal, and perhaps even wrong. This is where faith becomes important. We move by faith in God's ways instead of our logic because our logic can be misleading. We do what is right while denying our instincts.
We use self control to align our thoughts and actions with God (love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, gentleness, compassion, generosity). God desires us to purposefully live to be with Him in our minds, hearts, soul, and strength. This takes focus, planning, intention, change, and continued effort. In this spiritual marathon we ought to move at a pace where we grow, but do not burn out. Perseverance is key.
Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Titus 1:8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.