Soul

We know it is there—somewhere inside us.
We can feel the soul better than we can define it. We use the term loosely calling some music “soul music,” some persons an “old soul,” and a close friend a “soulmate.”

We see the souls of others and sense that they have the same worth, the same value, as we have because we each have a soul. We are not sure about our dogs but we are pretty sure about houseflies and plants—not every living thing has a soul.

In the Image of God—a Trinity.
We sense also that this mystery living in us is connected to God in some direct way. The Bible indicates that we are each made of up three distinct parts: body, soul, and spirit. Here’s how I understand this:

  • The body is our sense-consciousness.
  • The soul is our self-consciousness.
  • The spirit is our God-consciousness.

Let me explain further:

  • We process the material world through the five senses resident in the human body.
  • We maintain an inner world through memory, emotion, and various kinds of intelligence.
  • We relate to God through the spirit He gave us and for the New Covenant believer this is done with the aid of the Abiding Holy Spirit within.

The soul then is our inner person: mind, memory, needs, wounds that have been healed and those that still hurt, passions (good and bad) and unnamed urges we don’t like to own up to.

Some may ask, “What about the heart?”
I have heard it said and it make sense to me that the heart is both the soul and the spirit of a person, the total inner life. When Jesus lives in our hearts He occupies both soul and spirit.

In Psalm 116 the poet implores the Lord to deliver his soul and later gives testimony to that deliverance. We cannot overestimate this miracle. It begins deep inside and works its way out to the surface affecting the whole of our being—body, soul, and spirit.

“Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

Such complete deliverance bring freedom, joy, stability, and of all things—rest!

Scriptures:
Psalm 116:1-10 NKJV
I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NKJV
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Matthew 16:24-28 NIV
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Luke 1:46-48 NIV
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”
3 John 2-3 NKJV
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, from the depths of my soul I cry out to You! Like the panting deer pursued by hungry hounds, I thirst for Your presence. All that is within me, soul and spirit, longs for You—and finds You! You are near to me! You are “God with Us” and that includes me. When I stand beneath the banner of Your name, You are with me. When my mind ponders the wonders and riches of Your love, You are with me. When my wounded soul cries out for Your touch, You are there with healing virtue flowing. I repeat the words of Mary: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

Song:
Be Still, My Soul
Words: William H. Monk; Music: Jean Sibelius

1. Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

4. Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

5. Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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