How's Your Soul?
People are continually monitoring and maintaining things in their lives. We schedule routine check-ups and physicals with our doctors. We get our oil changed, tires rotated, top off our fluids and check our breaks on our vehicles. We perform regular maintenance on our homes by cleaning gutters, pressure washing needed areas, mowing our lawns, updating landscaping, touching up paint, and spring cleaning. We clean up and delete our emails from overcrowded and overwhelming inboxes. We also go through our clothes and household items to give away or sell in order to declutter.
In other words, we are professional maintenance repair people. But what about your soul? According to Jesus, this is the most valuable part of us. No amount of money in the whole world can be placed on the value of our soul. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus speaks on the value of the soul by asking two important and convicting questions regarding our understanding of our own souls. "For what is a man profitted, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Those are profound and inescapable questions which we must ask ourselves continually. Simply put, how's your soul? I want us to examine our soul's health in this post by asking some personal questions concerning the well-being of our soul.
1. Is your soul prepared?
Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement." Our preparation for eternity is the ultimate question we must ask concerning our soul. The writer of Hebrews gets right to the point as he explains the reality of death and judgement for all mankind. This life is not dress rehearsal and the sooner we realize that the more aware we become of the necessity of our soul's salvation. Therefore, the gospel becomes central as we focus on the redeeming grace of our Lord for wretched sinners who have no hope in escaping God's judgement apart from the finished work of Christ in our place. Jesus and Jesus alone prepares our soul for eternity as He not only saves us, but keeps us in His wonderful saving grace past this life and into all of eternity.
2. Is your soul being kept clean?
Nothing ruins a Christian's soul like the clutter and filth of sin. David wrote in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God;; and renew a right spirit within me." We have to be on constant guard about allowing the trash of this world to overtake our soul and bringing us to a low spiritual state. The wisdom of the author of Proverbs 4:23 rings loud and clear on this subject as he teaches us to "Keep thy heart with all diligence." Again, we attend to so many earthly matters and possessions to maintain their cleanliness, but have we given proper attention to the most important thing about us?
3. Is your soul being fed?
Jesus spoke quite often about the nourishment of our souls. In John 6:35 the Bible says, "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." What a promise from our great Promise Keeper! Our souls should never go hungry for spiritual replenishment as long as we stay close to our Lord. How do we do that? Well, Jesus gave us the answer in Matthew 4:4, "But He answered and said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." It is the Scriptures which daily feed our spiritually hungry souls. Ironically, too often we end up starving ourselves spiritually because we instead over-feed our natural selves. We are all guilty of feeding our lusts, our greed, our egos, and our itching ears. All the while, our souls are being starved out because we give our flesh the main course and feed our spirits the table scraps.
4. Is your soul being educated?
As a teacher, I'm all for growing and learning as much as we possibly can. However, certain forms of education must take precedent over others. There's certainly nothing wrong with strengthening our understanding of literature, mathematics, history, science, and all other subjects of human interest, but most of all there must be a firm dedication to educating our soul about the truths of the Bible. In order to know and obey the Lord on a deeper lever, we must spend time with the Lord. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16 that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." God's word educates our souls to correct us where we fail, instruct us toward holiness, and shape us into a better reflection of Jesus. His word also provides us with a wealth of wisdom. Proverbs 2:6 says "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." Who couldn't use a lot more of that in their lives?
5. Is your soul being exercised?
Psalm 103:1-2 says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." This is a clear guideline for how we exercise our souls on a regular basis. The psalmist teaches us to worship and be grateful to the Lord. These two methods of spiritual exercise will keep our souls functioning at maximum ability regardless of what comes our way. As we worship, we strengthen our humility and faith in the Lord. This gives us the ability to keep the weight of pride and doubt off of our souls. Gratitude also puts us in peak spiritual condition because we are able to crucify our carnal flesh when it begins to take credit for the blessings and successes we've experienced in our lives. As a matter of fact, driving down memory lane in our minds and rehearsing all the benefits the Lord has showered us with is a good way to get on the highway of faith and keep our souls exercised and healthy.
6. Is your soul being given rest?
We live in a perpetual rat race here in America. Nothing and no one ever seems to stop long enough to rest and recharge. Our souls are no different. Burnout is an all too real condition many Christians find themselves in and it's a sad state of affairs for anyone caught in that trap. Whether we foolishly assume we have to constantly keep proving ourselves to the Lord or we just can't say "no" to certain things in ministry, we have to guard the well-being of our souls by giving them rest. In the beautifully written 23rd Psalm, David points out in verses 2 and 3 that "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still water. He restoreth my soul:"What a perfect picture of the Good Shepherd providing rest for weary sheep like you and I. It's not wrong to recharge your spirit and it's not wrong to make time for your soul to rest. The problem comes when we think we can stay hyperactive without having this negatively affect our spiritual condition. When this happens, it's time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, "How's your soul?"
I hope you understand just how valuable your soul is and more importantly, how valuable your soul is to God. Cherish it, nurture it, care for it, grow it, and surrender it! All of that can happen when we put our soul in the hands of Christ. He alone is the answer to those 6 questions which we just covered. Always remember, no one prepares our soul, keeps sour soul, feeds our soul, educates our soul, exercises our soul, or gives rest to our soul like Jesus does.