There are days when I don’t feel like praying. I had one recently. That morning, I was listless and distracted, just “not feeling it.” I prayed anyway. Over the years, I have learned the vital importance of pushing through contrary emotions to be with God. The wonderful thing about this exercise is that more often than not, my emotions end up catching up with my spirit!
My quiet time that day was no exception. After pressing in to focus on the Lord, I found that my feelings were entirely relieved of their lethargy. I was strengthened, renewed, and ready for the day.
I love the way Psalm 42 models for us the way to address our own soul, in challenging moments like the one I just described. The soul is composed of our mind, will, and emotions. The psalmists through whom Holy Spirit wrote this Scripture, the Sons of Korah, understood that the soul needs to be in subjection to the spirit. With our spirit, we can take charge of our inner space and exhort our own soul, causing it to align with the truth of God’s word.
The Spirit of Jesus became one with our spirit when we were born again (1 Cor. 6:17). As a result, our spirit is already perfect (Heb. 12:23). This means that our spirit is charged with the presence of God, predisposed to be a channel of His power. Not only that, but our spirit is the core of our being. All matters of life can and should flow out from this center, where He lives and reigns.
Growing up in Him means that we learn to walk in this way increasingly every day. We learn to allow His Spirit, through our spirit, to govern our soul. This means that Holy Spirit comes to lead in everything that we do, think, and speak. As a result, when our soul is thinking, feeling, or wanting something contrary to the perfect will of God, Holy Spirit will alert us to the contradiction. At the same time, He will endue our spirit with His power. As we lift our eyes to Him, He will provide us with everything we need to bring our soul into a place of obedience and life.
In light of this principle, the Sons of Korah say encouragingly to their souls, “Why are you downcast? Put your hope in the Lord!” As we read and meditate on their words, we join in with them. We talk to our own despondent souls too, saying: “Beloved soul, discouragement is not going to dictate how I live my life today! Nope! I’m going to praise Him! He’s my Savior! He’s my God! He’s never once let me down! I know I will once again see His faithfulness and His goodness in the land of the living!” And we keep on in that way, until our spirit has risen up in His power and created a whole new inner atmosphere within us!
Is heaviness trying to sit on your emotions today, my friend? Give it a try. Rev up your engines… get your praise on! In the power of God, let your spirit arise!
Have you ever tried exhorting your own soul?