Angel and Devil on Homer's ShoulderMost of the time, we’re unaware of having two wills, because our good and evil selves often agree on what to do, each for its own reasons.

This is not directly taught in the Word (as far as I know), but it’s a logical inference from other teachings. For instance, True Christian Religion 596 (among other places in the doctrines) describes spiritual temptation as combat between our two wills:

…[A] struggle ensues between the internal and the external man, and the victor then controls the other.

The reason why a struggle then ensues is that the internal man is reformed by means of truths, which enable him to see what is evil and false; and these truths are still in his external or natural man. First, therefore, there is dissension between the new will, which is above, and the old will, which is below. Since it is dissension between wills, it is between the pleasures of either, for it is well known that the flesh opposes the spirit, and the spirit the flesh, and the flesh with its lusts must be tamed, before the spirit can act and the person can become a new man. Following this dissension of the wills, a struggle, known as spiritual temptation, takes place.

And New Jerusalem 193 (among other places) says that these days few people experience much spiritual temptation at all:

Since to-day faith is rare because of the absence of charity, the church being at its end, few people nowadays experience any degree of spiritual temptation. As a result it is hardly known what spiritual temptations are and what purpose they serve.

So putting the two together, it seems that many people very rarely experience a conflict between their higher and lower selves. No conflict must mean agreement. And this is actually a good thing, I think. Imagine if every minute decision of every day of your life caused spiritual warfare to break out in your mind! There would be little break at all from spiritual suffering. So here’s an example: this morning I got in my car and drove to the pastor’s office. Why? Well, I think my selfish will (kickin’ it old-school, I might even say my “proprium”!) figured my reputation and wealth might take a hit if I just stopped showing up for work. Besides, my evil will likes it when people think I’m doing a good job. At the same time, I believe, the new will that the Lord is growing within me, based off of my conscience, wanted to drive to work this morning because it loves serving the Lord and other people as a pastor and preacher. It was excited to get to work on things like my proposal for Austin and the next Living Courageously sermon. Now, if the two wills disagreed, then I would have to have duked it out inside myself. Some mornings, that does, indeed, happen, when my evil self decides it can blow off work because it’d rather play video games and eat stromboli all day. But today, I happily got up, got dressed, and drove off to the office without a tinge of internal struggle. This week’s task for people doing the “Living Courageously” program is to regularly ask “Why did I do that?” This is in observance of the fact that the Lord mercifully works with us through these mixed motives of ours. E.g., see Secrets of Heaven 4063:

When people are being spiritually remade (“regenerated”) the Lord keeps them in an intermediate kind of good, a good which serves to introduce genuine goods and truths. But once those [genuine] goods and truths have been introduced, the intermediate good is separated from them. The spiritually reborn person has an affection for spiritual and heavenly matters since these give one feelings of delight and blessedness, whereas the affections of the person who is not spiritually reborn are for worldly and earthly things, and these things give him feelings of delight and pleasure.

…Since therefore our states of life have to be changed so drastically we are inevitably kept for a long time in an intermediate kind of good which partakes both of worldly affections and of heavenly ones. And unless we are maintained in that intermediate good we will no way let heavenly goods and truths enter us.

By the way, if you haven’t, yet, you should check out the Living Courageously program.

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