“May the God of peace himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again” (1 Thess. 5:23, TLB).
I want Jesus more than anything. That is, the real me wants Him more than anything. My spirit, which is the very core of my being, longs for Him continually. My spirit is one with the Holy Spirit. My spirit has already been made perfect (Heb. 12:23).
However, sometimes my soul (the seat of my emotions, thoughts, and will) is not quite in sync with my spirit. There are moments, and days, when my soul is lagging behind. So I find it necessary to give instructions to my soul. Instructions like these:
- “Return to your rest, O my soul…” (Ps 116:7, NKJV). Our souls have a tendency to slip out of the restfulness God has called us to abide in. Our inner “console” picks up on some incoming, disturbing information, and the soul slips into worry mode, or frustrated mode, or moody mode. It’s up to us what we do with ourselves at that point. Returning to rest is by far the best option. Recalibrating our souls back to a place of rest is a practice, a discipline.
Jesus calls us into His rest. Falling out of rest is human and normal. However, learning to habitually, promptly move our souls back into rest, into trust, is one of the wisest things we could ever do. The more we practice, the more quickly we will be able to return to rest. Over the course of time, it will become our norm instead of our exception.
- “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Hope in God…” (Ps. 42:5, NKJV). Sad, or disquieted emotions are also a normal part of the human experience. However, we don’t have to stay there. We don’t have to live there. We can actually direct our souls to focus on God and His overflowing goodness. This self-command is written into Psalms by the Holy Spirit, because it works.
We can transfer our own souls back into a position of hope, by His empowering, using His word. In this way, we can actually lift our soul up into a higher plain. David describes this action in these words: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul…” (Ps. 25:1, NIV). Again, this takes a whole lot of practice. We grow into it more and more, over a lifetime.
- “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” (Ps. 103:1, NKJV). Praise is one of our mightiest tools for syncing soul with spirit. As we make a choice to direct our soul in exuberant praise, our inner atmosphere shifts. This may not happen immediately. It may even take a persistent effort, over a period of time. But if we keep glorifying Him, no matter how we feel, the enemy is going to flee, and we are going to break through into peace. Once again, this takes practice and persistence! Holy Spirit is coaching us in a lifestyle of praise.
Little by little, our soul will continue to grow in strength. In ever increasing measure, our spirit, one with Holy Spirit, will direct our emotions, thoughts, and decisions. As we consistently apply ourselves to cultivating inner restfulness, over a lifetime, our soul will grow up into the stature of our spirit.
Let’s keep pressing onward, learning to submit our souls to His leadership. As Deborah beautifully expressed, “O my soul, march on in strength!” (Judg. 5:21, NKJV).
Pastor Steve Backlund has a wonderful book entitled You’re Crazy If You Don’t Talk to Yourself! Do you have conversations with your own soul?