Sunday, April 28, 2019

What is a Soul? (and other related questions)

Ok, let’s be honest, who has ever heard a clear definition of a soul. It’s a mystical, ethereal thing that is somehow the same as and yet different from our spirit (Hebrews 4:12). I’ve heard it described as the mind, will and emotion, which is both true and says absolutely nothing. The best definition I’ve heard is that it’s our habit of thinking, those thoughts we think without realizing that we are thinking, and that concept finally opened doors for me to understand how the soul is indeed the mind, will and emotion all tied up together in a way that describes the essence of who we are. 

And that understanding opened many more doors to see how this battleground of the soul is where Satan operates. If he can get us to think wrongly without even realizing our self-sabotage, then the battle is almost won (by him… bad for us!). He can neutralize our efforts by the self-sabotage of our habits of thought. He can create discouraging feelings when God’s Word tells us to be bold and walk by faith. It is only by an act of will that we press forth against the feeling toward a goal that we cannot see, taking captive every thought for the victory that Christ intends for us. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Our mind knows how God wants us to live, but segments of our soul have been manipulated by the Enemy to work against us, creating feelings that don’t represent the truth or perceptions that cry out “you’re going the wrong way!”. So we walk by faith and over time that walk teaches us and repetition creates changes in our soul rendering the Enemy’s words as ineffective and over time, even laughable! If God is for us, who can be against? (Romans 8:31) 

There’s a book I highly recommend called R.A.R.E. Leadership (see on Amazon) that offers so many practical tips for training our brain to become the leaders who can change lives, starting first with our own. The time is short (1 Corinthians 7:29-31), so we need to be sober minded (1 Peter 5:8-9) – intentionally pursuing a transformation from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) I’m not saying that our soul is merely a physical attribute of the brain (read the book for context), but I believe like the Israelites that the physical and spiritual are both equally real and tightly intertwined. 

What, then, does it mean to save a soul? It starts with saving your own soul by agreeing with everything that Christ tells you is true and acting on it. We lead ourselves first, and we are inspired to lead others. R.A.R.E. Leaders start with becoming that R.A.R.E. Leader while at the same time reaching others. When we live by faith and not by the way of the world, we are changed, and that change is a beacon to people enslaved by fear. Out of fear and pain, they may reject the message, but they are watching and hoping that despite their words and actions to discourage us, we can show them the path to eternal healing. Truly they need God and us to forgive them, because they don’t know what they do. (Luke 23:34) 

The Word of God instructs us through the leading of the Holy Spirit and we can speak directly to spirit in each person we meet in a way that treats them as a valued brother or sister rather than a project. We find a freedom that we can’t keep to ourselves because we remember the kingdom of fear, afraid of the righteous judgement coming our way. We see the captives longing for delivery while not daring to hope it’s even possible. But perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), and Satan needs to flee from the battleground where confidence in God’s loving grace has cast out all fear and anxiety. 

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4 - NIV) 

So don’t fight with the weapons of this world and ask for creative ways to lead others, taking God’s truth into the workplace, the neighborhood, the school, the gym or wherever you happen to be, because you born for a time such as this! (Esther 4:14, Acts 17:26)