Netzach is the first sphere on the Pillar of Mercy, and is
associated with Victory, Valor, and Unselfishness. The sphere of Netzach exists
in the realm of Yetzirah, which represents the mental plane of existence.
Netzach like Hod is a sphere having to do with the Mind. Netzach has to do with
your emotions; it is a sphere to reflect on in order to seek victory over your
emotions as you seek to overcome the sin and obstacles on your path to
This is the sphere to meditate on if you have trouble controlling your anger, or if you have any emotional problems such as, feeling unlovable or unable to love. This sphere is where you master your emotions and begin to understand the victory that you can have in every aspect of your life with the help of God. By studying the victory aspect of God, and knowing that through faith in God you can overcome anything you begin to grow in faith and receive emotional balance.
Jesus had victory over sin; He even had victory over death, and overcame the cross. This is the sphere where you learn that through Jesus all things are possible for you. You learn the importance of love and understand that love can overcome all obstacles. Contemplate what victory means to you, contemplate the endurance and the will required to follow through with something until you achieve victory, and begin trusting in God's assistance in your life. Know that victory starts in your mind, and in believing that victory is possible, once you understand this, all that you need to do is control your emotions and set your desires on the victory that you wish to achieve.
The name of God associated with the sphere of Netzach is YHVH Tzabaoth (God of Hosts). In the Bible the nature of God associated with the name YHVH of Hosts is that of a God of judgment. Those that choose to defy the commandments of God will face His wrath. This name is associated with the Pillar of Mercy, because God has given man a way to be spared from His wrath; by following His commandments and receiving salvation through His son.
Psalm 89:7-10 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.
God is all-powerful and is to be respected and revered by His saints. To those that fear Him, He is a shield (Genesis 15:1) that will protect them from their enemies.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
Proverbs 14:26-27 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.
Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.
Job 28:28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.'
2 Chronicles 19:7 "Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes."
2 Chronicles 19:9 And he commanded them, saying, Thus you shall act in the fear of the Lord, faithfully and with a loyal heart:
The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). By understanding that those who practice evil will face Godís wrath, we are more apt to follow Godís commandments. It is through Godís mercy that we are aware of His wrath in order that we might be spared from it. We are given the Fear of the Lord so that we will make the correct choices in our lives, and through the Fear of the Lord we are given the opportunity of salvation.
Isaiah 22:12-14 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die. And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
In the above set of verses the people received the Fear of the Lord yet continued in their iniquities. The people understood that Godís judgment was about to fall on them and they decided to live it up while they had the chance, instead of turning from their sins. Because the people refused to repent God saw that they were hopeless and would be lost.
Jeremiah 44:10-13 They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:
Jeremiah 50:31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.
There is no escaping the judgment of the Lord. The sinners that tried escaping Godís wrath by fleeing into Egypt faced the same fate as the sinners that remained in Jerusalem. These people chose to attempt to escape to Egypt instead of humbling themselves and turning from their sins. Godís wrath fell on them because they chose not to walk in His statutes and laws, and they refused to give Him reverence. They were too proud to humble themselves before the Lord.
Jeremiah 46:10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
Amos 5:14-19 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! Alas! And they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing. And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD. Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
If we choose good and turn away from evil, the God of Hosts will be with us. If we choose to remain in our sins there will be no escaping the Wrath of God. Godís mercy would not exist if some did not face judgment. The mercy that those who Fear the Lord receive is through the salvation offered by His son in order that we might not have to face the judgment that is due us. All have sinned and are deserving of judgment (Romans 3:23). Judgment is not something that God created in order for His mercies to seem greater. Judgment exists because of sin and we are all sinners. We do not deserve mercy, but we are all deserving of judgment. It is through Godís mercy that we might be spared from the judgment that we would otherwise have to face.
Psalm 80:7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Hosea 12:5 Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. 6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.
If we turn from our sins and follow Godís commandments His mercies will be upon us, and we will be saved. The lesson of the sphere of Netzach is to obtain victory over your mind and change your way of thinking. It is where you seek to understand the Fear of God, and to renew your mind to the mindset of one of His followers.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Once you have begun the Great Work you need to renew your mind and change your way of thinking to be conformed to the new direction your life is going in. You are to begin living according to Godís will and following His statutes (Jeremiah 44:10), in order for you to receive His mercy. The Victory spoken of in Netzach is that of learning to control your emotions and your behaviors in order to follow Christ. It is through Christ that we are able to overcome the sins of the world.
1 John 5:4-5 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Revelations 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
It is through our faith in Christ that we are able to overcome the world, and it is through His blood that we are able to receive salvation. Now that we have been shown the path to salvation, the next step in the Great Work is to change our earthly desires to more heavenly ones.
Ephesians 4:21-24 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Once you have made the decision to follow Christ Ė and have put to death your old self and sinful nature Ė in order to be born again in righteousness (John 3:3), you begin the Great Work of purifying your soul.
1 Peter 1:22-23 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever
You purify your soul by obeying the truth of the spirit, and changing your emotions so that they are in compliance with the scriptures. You learn to love your brethren sincerely out of a pure heart. Love is the greatest of the commandments.
Matthew 22:36-39 Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ĎYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.í
You are called to love the Lord your God with all of your heart. This is a major step in being able to overcome your emotions, but it may seem a bit tricky at first. How do you love someone that you have never seen or met? Your love for God will grow as you learn more about Him, and gain a better understanding of how He is working in your life.
1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
We know love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19), which is demonstrated by the fact that although we are deserving of wrath, God offers us mercy. God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten son to die in our stead in order for us to receive His salvation (John 3:16). God is love. For us to know God we must first know love. If we abide in love we can be assured that God dwells within us, because those that know love, know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:20-21 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
In order for us to know God we must first love our neighbors. In doing so we are acting in the same manner as God, for God is great in loving-kindness (Psalm 145:8). Our love for God will grow along with our love for our fellow man. The more we learn about and understand God the more we will love Him. The more love that we feel for those around us the closer to God we will become. God is love, so if love exists within us, then God also is dwelling within us (1 John 4:16).
Some people have a hard time grasping the concept of love. When we are told to love our neighbors we are not expected to love them with the same intensity that we do with our spouses or our children, but we are supposed to seek our neighbors good. We are not supposed to wish anyone illwill or misfortune, but are actions should be in our neighborís best interests. As our relationship with God increases this becomes much easier.
Matthew 7:12 ďTherefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.Ē
The easiest way for us to learn to love our neighbors is to have empathy towards them. If we place ourselves in their shoes, and try to see things from their perspectives it is easier for us to have compassion, understanding, and love for them. Think of your neighbor as though they were you, and treat them, as you would like to be treated. Understand that your neighbor is no different then you are. Our neighbors love their families in the same way that we love ours. They are pursuing their own interests and are facing the same trials and tribulations in their lives as we our facing in ours. We should wish that our neighbors would be successful in their endeavors, as we wish ourselves to be in our own.
Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Romans 15:1-3 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
We are called to love our neighbors and look out for their well-beings. We are not to be selfish, but are to be humble, working together and looking out for one another. If we are stronger, we should lend our strength to the weak, not seeking our own good, but the good of us all. In doing so, we emulate Christ, who gave His life for us all.
John 15:10-14 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
If we follow Christ and keep His commandments, we can be assured that we abide in His love. Loving our neighbors is in our own best interests, as we will please God, and our joy will also be made full. We are to love our neighbors in the same way that Christ loved us. We are to sacrifice ourselves for our neighbors. This does not mean that we sacrifice our lives for everyone else over trivial matters.
We are still to use discretion in the decisions that we make. Most people would be willing to give their lives to save the lives of their spouses or children. We are not told to throw our lives away or cast our pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6), but we should be willing to sacrifice ourselves if the situation dictates.
If someone has committed a crime and they are in a shoot out with the police, we should not throw our lives away by taking the bullets for the criminal. However, if there is a child stuck inside a burning building, risking our lives to save that child might be appropriate. Remember to have empathy on your neighbor. Imagine that your child was the one trapped inside the burning building. Would you want others to stand around and watch them burn to death, or would you want someone to take action even if it means they put themselves at risk? There is no difference between your child and the other personís child (the same way that you love your children, other parents love theirs); if you are able to help someone in need then you should do so.
Of course everything needs to be done with discretion; you should not take the money that is to be used to support your family and give it to a beggar on the street that might use the money to feed their drug addiction. In doing so you are not helping anybody. There are programs that you could donate to that are set up to help the homeless and to provide for their needs. If you want to help the homeless you could donate your money to such a program, you could inform the homeless person that such a program exists, or you could volunteer your time to help out with the program, but giving your money to a beggar is not doing them any favors and will not assist them in improving their lives.
There is no greater love then for us to sacrifice ourselves for one another. Sacrificing ourselves does not necessarily mean that we give up our lives, but means that we are willing to give of ourselves. If we over hear that somebody standing in line behind us has an urgent need and is running late we might give them our place in the line if we are not in as much of a hurry as they are. If we know that somebody is in need of help and we have the means to help them, but in doing so we may miss out on something for ourselves, then we should sacrifice our good for that of our neighbor.
Of course, this is to be done with discretion. We shouldnít choose to not pick our children up from school in order for us to give a colleague some advise about a job interview or something along those lines, but if the choice is to be there for someone in need or to hurry home so that we donít miss our favorite television show, the choice is obvious.
Romans 12:9-16 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
The above is an example of the new attitudes and behaviors we are to renew our minds to express. We should strive to genuinely love our fellow man and wish for their good and well-being. We are to be kind and treat others with respect. We are to be diligent in serving the Lord from our hearts. We are to maintain our faith and be patient during our trials and tribulations.
We are not to wish anybody harm, but we should show empathy towards them; rejoicing when they rejoice and weeping when they weep. We are not to be proud or arrogant, but humble. We are to treat others as we would like to be treated, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
God is love. One of the keys to understanding God is to gain a better understanding of love. If we sacrifice ourselves for our neighbors but do not have love, then it profits us nothing. In love there is no vanity, ones ego is not puffed up, but you put the needs of those you love before yourself.
Love suffers long. If you genuinely love somebody you would be willing to stand beside them even when their behavior is not what you would like it to be. You will stand by your loved ones when they face their trials and you will rejoice with them when they overcome their obstacles. You do not wish ill will on those you love. Love bears and endures all obstacles.
God has given us many examples and ways to know love and understand Him better. We can understand love by having empathy towards one another, and trying to experience their pains or what they might be going through. The easiest way is to love them as we love ourselves. We take the love and care we show towards ourselves and project it onto them; understanding that they have the same needs and desires that we have.
It was not an accident that God gave man dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26) or that He placed man in the Garden of Eden in order to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:15). God did these things in order for us to understand Him better and for us to know love. By man tending the garden he is placed in a position in which he can care and nurture something and watch it grow. In the same way by taking care of animals we are able to experience a relationship with them, experience emotions, and receive our first glimpse of love.
If you have ever had a pet dog or cat you would know what I am talking about. As you raise your pets you grow to love them, and they love you, trust you, and depend upon you for their survival. In the same way God loves us, He nurtures us, cares for us, provides for our needs, and helps us to grow. By examining the relationships that we have with our pets we can get a better understanding of our relationship with God.
There have been times when I had multiple dogs as pets, and I had love for each of them individually. Sometimes the dogs would fight each other and it would make me very sad. I did not want to see either of my dogs get hurt. I could intervene to stop them from fighting, but I could not affect their freewill and prevent the anger they feel towards one another. I wished that they could just get along with each other and love one another with the same love that I felt for them. This is a lesson in love that God provided me by giving humans dominion over the animals. In doing so I can imagine how God must feel when humans fight or go to war with each other. We can also gain a better understanding of God by looking at our own families.
As parents we are the first perception or example of God that our children have. Our children trust us and rely on us to take care of their needs. We provide them with love and guidance. We love our children and want to do what is best for them, so that they might be happy, safe, and successful in life. We give our children rules to protect them. Sometimes our children will choose not to listen to us and they may get hurt as a result. This is the same as when sinners choose to disobey Godís commandments. God does not give us commandments because He wants to boss us around. He gives us commandments because He loves us and wants us to be happy and successful.
Dealing with teenagers can be especially hard. Many parents watch as their children get mixed up in the wrong crowds, or make bad decisions that destroy their lives. While these parents watch their childrenís lives fall apart, they are thinking to themselves, ďWhy wonít my child listen to me, everything would be so easy and they would benefit so much if they would only listen to the guidance that I have given them.Ē This is the same way that God feels about sinners. He has given them the commandments, provided them with guidance, and has to watch as they defy His instructions and bring themselves to ruin.
Sometimes we must discipline our children in order for them to make better decisions in the future, and so that they might grow in knowledge and understanding. God disciplines us in the same way and for the same purposes (discussed in the chapter of the path connecting Yesod and Tiphareth).
God is our father and we are His children (Romans 8:16-17). He is a good example of what a parent should be like. God tells us everything that we need to know in order for us to be successful. If we listen to Him and obey His commandments, then we will love Him and can be assured that He abides in us (1 John 2:3, 3:24). If we are to be good parents we need to take on the same attitude and provide for our children. We should instruct our children, love them, discipline them, and support them. We should place the needs of our family above our own. Of course not all parents are good parents.
The difference between good parents and bad parents is their level of selfishness. Unselfish parents place their childrenís needs above their own, and provide their children with love and support. Selfish parents neglect their children. They spend their time making themselves happy, and their children suffer because of it.
Selfishness and Unselfishness could be compared to good and evil, God and the Devil. God was willing to sacrifice is only begotten son because He loves us, and He provides us with guidance and everything we need to be happy in this life and the next. God tells us the truth and is faithful regarding His promises. Jesus lived and died for our benefit. The Devil lives for himself. He seeks his own glory (Luke 4:7); he lies to us (John 8:44), leads us astray (Genesis 3:4-5), and betrays us (Revelations 12:10). Who would you rather have as a parent?
1 John 3:17-18 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
We are instructed to be unselfish. This is one of the main lessons of this sphere of the Qabalah. We are to gain mastery over our emotions and share our talents, material goods, and emotional support with those in need. Those that choose to be ministers of God are to sell everything they have and follow Christ. This has to do with placing God above the materialism commonly found in the world. For those of us that have families we are to provide for our families, and raise our children in the Lord.
Of course we are not being instructed to sell everything we have and raise our children on the streets, but we are to place God above our material possessions. Providing for our own is much different then living in excess. If we have material wealth to spare after we have provided for our families, then we should share it with those in need. In the sphere of Netzach we are to seek victory over our emotions and change our belief systems and emotional desires to that of a follower of Christ.
Colossians 3:4-11 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
The Great Work contained in this sphere of the Qabalah is to learn to overcome your earthly desires and lusts, and to change your behavior to that of a follower of Christ. The actions of sinners will bring about Godís wrath. We have been shown mercy because God has made His wrath known to us before hand, in order for us to change our behaviors. Once you have been baptized into Christís death (Yesod) and received the salvation offered to you through His sacrifice (Tiphareth), you have become a new creation, and have put to death the sins of your former self. Now you need to learn to control your desires so that you do not regress back to your former way of life.
Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Since we have been selected by God, and called to receive salvation, we are to change our attitudes and our actions so that they are in compliance with the precepts in the scriptures. We are to live holy lives, supporting one another and forgiving each other. We are to be kind, merciful, and patient with our fellow man. We are to experience love, which is the bond of perfection. We are to place God first in our lives, and let Christ rule in our hearts.
All of our actions and behaviors are to be in compliance with the scriptures. This is only for our benefit. We are the rebellious teenagers whose lives are being brought to ruin. This is our chance to accept the guidance and instructions of our Heavenly Father, in order for us to receive peace and happiness in this life and the next. We are to pursue love, the bond of perfection by which we may know God and overcome our selfish natures.
Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christís have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The Tree of Life (Qabalah) can be looked at as a map of our spiritual growth. We are the tree, and we will be judged by the fruit we produce (Matthew 7:16-20). The fruit of the Spirit is a list of emotions that should be found in us (Galatians 5:22). We are to overcome our earthly desires and live in the Spirit and produce good fruit.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
Romans 8:5-6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. or to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Proverbs 16:3-7 Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished. In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
If we turn from our wicked ways and follow the Lord, he will have mercy on us. The carnally minded will receive death, but the spiritually minded will receive life and peace. We are to commit our thoughts and deeds to the Lord. The wicked may behave in the same manner as most of the world, but that is not an excuse for their actions and will not save them from Godís wrath. Those who fear the Lord will depart from their evil deeds, and will receive mercy and peace.
Overcoming our sinful natures may seem hard at first, because for several people it is the way that they were brought up and is the only way of behaving they have known or can imagine. Once you have decided to follow Christ and have been baptized into His death you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which will assist you in this area and will transform your actions and conform you to the image of Christ more each day (Titus 3:5, Romans 8:29). The gift and work of the Holy Spirit is discussed in greater detail in the chapter on the sphere of Yesod.
Changing our behavior and following Christ is in accordance to the will of God. He has given us many examples of how to make these changes, but He also provides us the strength to do so.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
All things are possible through Christ. Ask Him and He will provide you with the strength you need. If we have faith in Christ and follow His commandments He will provide us with the strength necessary to bring about the desired changes in our lives. God is faithful and does not lie (Hebrews 6:18); we can trust in His promises and face our obstacles with courage knowing that He will give us the strength we need. Courage or valor is another one of the topics associated with the sphere of Netzach.
Psalm 60:11-12 Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
We can face all of our obstacles head on knowing that God will be there to support us. God is with us wherever we go, and will provide us with the strength we need as necessary.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
The Lord is our helper. With Him we have no reason to fear what man can do to us, because we live for Christ and if we die we will receive a great reward (Philippians 1:21). Therefore there is no reason to fear man. Through Christ we have victory over the world and He will also provide us with the strength to have victory over our emotions. The world and everything in it belongs to the Lord, and He will give us the strength we need.
1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name.
God is omnipotent and is in control of our lives and our destinies. He provides us with riches, honor, and strength so that His will is done on earth. We need to be thankful for the things He provides us, and have faith in Him that He will give us the strength necessary to accomplish His will. It is His will that we change our behavior, and because of this He will provide us with the strength to do so. We will further examine Godís will and our destinies in the next chapter when we study the path connecting the sphere of Netzach and Chesed.
Psalm 98:1-3 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
1 Corinthians 15:55-58 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
God has made known His salvation through out all the earth. This is because the gospel of Christ is preached to all the nations (Matthew 28:19). Christ achieved victory over death and sin. We are likewise offered victory over sin and death through the sacrifice that Christ made. Because of this we should strive to renew our minds, change our behaviors, and follow Him. Our labor will not be in vain.
Changing our behavior and our desires is done through growing in love, and faith in God. To further our understanding of the reasons for us to change our behaviors and instructions on how to do so, we will examine the book of James verses 1:19-21. These verses are important, because not only do they give us guidelines on how to control our emotions, but they also tell us how to achieve or not achieve the Righteousness of God.
James 1:19-21 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
We must listen to Godís word, not speak rashly, and we must learn to control our emotions. If we give into anger and hatred we are not following Godís commandments, or the example that God has given us. If we don't control our emotions and our deeds, we will not be on the path of righteousness. We are told how to achieve the righteousness of God; by removing all sin, anger, and all things unclean from our lives that may lead us to sin (James 1:21). In humility we are to receive Godís word, which if followed is able to save our souls.
To gain a better understanding of these verses (James 1:19-21) I have broken them down into three different categories; Anger, Speech, and Hearing and Following the will of God. James 1:19 says to be slow to anger. This not only tells us to control our emotions, but also to follow God's example.
Psalm 145:8-9 The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in loving-kindness. The Lord is good to all; and his mercies are over all his works.
Ephesians 4:30-32 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Nehemiah 9:17 They refused to listen, and did not remember Your wondrous deeds which you had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a god of forgiveness, gracious, and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness; And You did not forsake them.
We need to learn to control our emotions to emulate God, for He is slow to anger and great in loving-kindness. The following verse demonstrates why there is a need for us to be slow to anger.
Proverbs 14:17 A quick tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.
When you are quick to anger you act foolishly, and you cause others to hate you. Causing someone to hate is causing them to experience sin or stumble, and we are warned not to be a stumbling block to others. Nothing good can come of making enemies and it profits us nothing to have others hate us.
Matthew 18:7 Woe to the world because of it's stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!
The following verses are examples of how to overcome anger.
Psalm 37:8-9 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Hosea 14:4 I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For my anger has turned away from them.
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Proverbs 19:11 A man's discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.
We overcome anger and evil with love, goodness, forgiveness, and trust and obedience to God. If we submit to God and follow His commandments the Devil will flee from us. We can overcome evil with good. When we first find ourselves getting angry we need to realize that nothing good can come from our anger, and we need to remember that it is to our glory to overlook a transgression. In doing so we are emulating Christ. Now are going to examine a few verses on why we should be slow to speak, and what speaking in haste might cause.
Proverbs 15:1-2 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, "You good-for-nothing" shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, "You fool" shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
What you say can either turn away wrath or cause anger. If you do not watch what you say (and you speak from your emotions and not God's truth), your religion is worthless. If you do not control your anger but instead speak from it, you are guilty before the Supreme Court (God), and it may be enough of an offence to merit being thrown into Hell. The next subject we will cover is Hearing, or listening to God's word, and following it in obedience.
Acts 3:22-23 Moses said, ďThe Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your own brethren; to him you shall give heed to everything he says to you.Ē And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.
John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.
In the first set of verses above Moses predicts the coming of Jesus, and states that if you don't listen to Him you will be utterly destroyed. In the second verse above Jesus states that without Him you have no life in yourself.
John 5:25 Truly, Truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
Those who hear Jesus (listen to Him) will have life. The dead in this verse is referring to those mentioned above in John 6:53 who are not the followers of Christ.
James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
The true hearers of the word do what it says. Those who delude themselves might be compared to those spoken of by Jesus in the book of Matthew.
Matthew 7:22-24 Many will say to me on that day Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and in your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; Depart from me you who practice lawlessness. Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wiseman who built his house on the rock
James 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does
Luke 11:28 But he said," On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.
The followers of Jesus are the ones who hear his words, and observe His commandments. They will be blessed in what they do. We are to look at the perfect law, (which is the commandments written in the Bible) and we are to adapt our lives to follow them.
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears because they hear
John 10:3-4 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
It is the Christian who hears Jesus' voice and follows Him. Jesus goes ahead of them to death and is crucified, but the Christians of modern times still are able to follow Him, because they know His voice Ė the teachings in the Bible.
John 10:15-16 Even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep , which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My Voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
Jesus died for our sins (all those who hear him). The other sheep mentioned above (that He will also bring), refers to all nations Jews and Gentiles as well. We all will be one flock with one shepherd, Jesus Christ.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they know me, And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand
It is clear that the Hearers (followers of Christ) are the ones who listen to God's word, and do what it says. So James 1:19 can be looked at as stating that we should be quick to follow God.
James 1:21 states, ďin humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.Ē The word "humility" in this passage is referring to meekness like that of a child. Forsaking all your pride, and your preconceived ideas, your thoughts that you know what is right, forsake all those ideas and start over, fresh, and except the word of God as the only truth and abide in it, and receive the kingdom of God like a child. A child trusts its Father and obeys His commands.
Mark 10:15 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
Controlling our emotions can be very trying at times. We must do what is right even if it is hard. We need to remember that Christ will provide us the strength we need when we need it, and we should have faith in Him. Sometimes controlling our emotions may be hard, but it is also necessary. We will examine an event from the life of King David as an example.
2 Samuel 18:31-33 Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, "There is good news, my lord the king! For the Lord has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you." And the king said to the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" So the Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!" Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: "O my son Absalom-my son, my son Absalom-if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"
King Davidís son Absalom rose up against him, and tried taking over Davidís kingdom. Absalom died during the battle, and King David was devastated. It is hard enough that David received news that his son was dead, what makes it even harder is that David was partially to blame (as we will cover in the next chapter). David loved his son and wished that he could have died in Absalomís place.
2 Samuel 19:1-8 And Joab was told, "Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom." So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people. For the people heard it said that day, "The king is grieved for his son." And the people stole back into the city that day, as people who are ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But the king covered his face, and the king cried out with a loud voice, "O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!" Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, "Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, "in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well. "Now therefore, arise, go out and speak comfort to your servants. For I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, not one will stay with you this night. And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now." Then the king arose and sat in the gate. And they told all the people, saying, "There is the king, sitting in the gate." So all the people came before the king. For everyone of Israel had fled to his tent.
David was the king and he had responsibilities to his people. His people were celebrating because God had delivered them from their enemies. Davidís soldiers fought and died protecting him, but Davidís actions caused his people to be ashamed that they had survived. Joab who was one of the leaders of Davidís armies confronted him and set him straight. David had a responsibility to his people, he needed to pull himself together and fulfill his responsibilities as King. He got control of his emotions and did what he had to do. He did the right thing and fulfilled his responsibility to his people.
Controlling our emotions may be hard at times, but we need to do what is right. Sometimes we may get angry, but we need to control our anger and recognize that nothing good can come of it. We need to change our actions and behaviors so that we live a life according to the scriptures, and a life that is pleasing to God. We need to strive to be unselfish and place the needs of our fellow man ahead of our own. We need to grow in love and gain a better understanding of God. We need to put God first in our lives and love our neighbors as ourselves. We can achieve victory over our emotions. All things are possible through Christ, and He will give us the strength we need at the appropriate time.