“But be seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness, and these things, all of them, shall be added to you” (Matt 6:33, Wuest Translation).
There are days that I wake up when my soul is not quite on the same page as my spirit. My spirit longs for more of God, but my soul may feel flat, listless, or distracted. It’s in those moments that I must choose to let my spirit lead. I make choices through my spirit in spite of what my soul is feeling.
The cumulative effect of these choices, over a long period of time, contributes to the maturation of my soul. There are proactive measures that we can take to cooperate with Holy Spirit’s beautiful labor of love in growing our soul up. We can choose to make His presence our most passionate pursuit, no matter what emotional state we wake up in on any given day. As we do so, He will grace us with specific, individualized instructions to aid us in this growth process. Here I’ll share a few that He has given me, that have helped enormously:
- Cutting out time-stealers. Several years back, I had gotten pulled into the game Farmville on Facebook. While harmless in and of itself, it was getting out of hand. I found myself spending three hours at a time at it. I was even thinking about it when I was supposed to be focused on other things. Holy Spirit asked me to quit the game, cold turkey. I did. I’ve never once played it again.The point is, there will always be diversions available that don’t intrinsically seem harmful. But we need Him to point out to us if they’ve gotten to a point of stealing the time we need for more essential things, like fervently seeking after His presence. Though your soul may protest (e.g., my soul was very fond of Farmville), let your spirit (one with Holy Spirit) call the shots!
- Letting Him be my first waking thought. Before I even open my eyes, or slide my sleeping mask off my face, I direct my attention to Him. There are plenty of times when my soul doesn’t feel like doing this. Instead, my soul wants to look immediately at my phone and check my messages. So, I purposefully ignore my soul’s preference, and turn my focus to Jesus.I concentrate on Him, and pray some Scriptures to Him – whichever ones Holy Spirit stirs in my heart. For example, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Ps. 90:14, NIV). Connecting with Him before anything else helps me stay connected into His presence throughout the day.
- Eliminating distractions. Another specific instruction He gave me to help with this was to create a new email address for the exclusive purpose of receiving the devo emails I like to read each morning. I used to find that when I would open my usual email to hunt for them, the other subject lines would grab my attention and distract me. Opening the new email helped wonderfully with this. Now I purposefully can choose not to open my work or personal email until after I have spent time with Jesus as the very first priority of my day.
A friend of mine taught me a new abbreviation this week: WIP, Work In Progress. That’s what I am! That’s what we all are. Every day, Holy Spirit is shaping us a little bit more to resemble our Savior. He is teaching us to be led through our spirit (by Him), instead of by our soul. The beauty He intended for the soul comes out more and more as we learn to yield to Him… like a precious gem He is cutting with masterful precision to reflect His brilliance and His loveliness.
Let’s keep pressing forward! “O my soul, march on in strength!” (Judg. 5:21, NKJV).
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Heb. 4:12, NLT).
What distractions sometimes derail you from getting alone with Jesus at the beginning of your day? Is Holy Spirit speaking to your heart right now about a strategy for eliminating them?