The Organic Soul
As people traveling through life, we are not like bits of data traveling through a computer. Rather, our environments heavily influence our identity.
We take on the flavor of what we're marinated in.
And regardless of awareness, we are always in the context of environments. (Also see neurological Hysteresis.)
Artists especially know how the experience of one color is dependent on the neighboring colors, as when your tie "goes" with your shirt.
Another example: consider how a cucumber becomes a pickle, by a flavor immersion. (This is related to the Greek expression "baptidzo" or full immersion baptism, not merely dipped.) The normal process is a sterilization and then a re-flavoring, giving it a new identity. When we are immersed in God, we taste like the Holy Spirit.
So the trick here is this: if we want to know and become genuine love, one key is exposure to those who are full of love, those that we aspire to and admire—who in your life is like that? This is one great motivator for praying: we hang around God to become like Him.
But what about bad environmental elements? For example, is it ok to watch a film with unhealthy things in it?
Some say it's fine if you're an adult, and certainly no film is perfect, so we have to be led by the Spirit for this. In any case, be aware the tendency is to be indiscriminate. For example, last year the advertising industry spent 600 billion dollars based on the fact everyone makes decisions based on exposure. And your environmental choices effect your identity. Jesus said "if your eyes are full of light, your whole self will be." (Luke 11)
Why? Because the soul is organic. Intellectually, morally, aesthetically, relationally, etc; we take on characteristics of the environment. (E.g., picking up local feelings, psychologists call "emotional contagion.")
Does this mean you can't be exposed to sin? No, but we must never cooperate with it, and must limit exposure. Just like the body can survive exposure to toxins, it should never choose them and should always avoid them. Our pure flavor is Christ's character. Like Him, we are to be in the world, but not of it. Christ is first flavored by Heaven.
If we are planted in good ground, the effects of those seeds will arrive quite naturally, as in one of my favorite, but rarely quoted, parables (perhaps because it is about being more than doing).
A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come. (Mark 13)
So be with those you want to be like and let it happen. First with Christ, then with others you admire. You become like those you love. That's a key for good prayer— abide. He is the vine; we the branches.
Taste the Divine
What statement is your life making with regard to your relationship with Me? Is it an intentional act of moving ever closer to Me? Are you free? Free to love Me? Is the Christ in you evident to others? This life is about being in Me and with Me at all times. "In My presence is fullness of joy." (Psalm 16:11)
Are you spending enough time communing with Me—just you and I? I long to be with you. I want us to spend time together where you're not petitioning or seeking some earthly gain that you see as paramount. Too often those petitions overshadow Me. You know I am the God who can make things new. But what I want is you. All of you. Can you still rest in Me when all about you appears in turmoil? Why does My Word speak of peace amidst tribulation? Were it not possible, it would not be there.
Spend some time with Me where you are alone with Me, just seeking My heart, resting in Me, letting go. I can refresh and bring light to your world just being with Me. Come in praise and worship. Fix your heart, soul, and mind on all things Godly. Pray for My heart and mind. I will be with you and I will speak to your heart. You will taste of My peace.
Give us some time—don't rush through our time as you might any other event in your day. Our time together is too important. Come, My child, and be present with Me. Taste the divine. Let Me flow in you, over you, through you. Once you know this, you will begin to long for more. And I will meet you each time. Trust Me. I will be there. I am there. My love is all-consuming. Let it consume you today.