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Soul Power

My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.

Proverbs 3:21–23

Watch Week Three, Day One

Soul sounds like Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. Tastes like collards and cornbread. Feels like Easter morning at grandma’s church when the preacher resounded with the words, “He got up!” It’s hard to define soul, partly because it’s difficult to parse or split the soul from our thoughts, feelings, and motivations. When we describe something as soulful, we’re straining to define a feeling that is both mysterious yet tactile. We feel it.

That’s by design. Nephesh, the Hebrew word for soul, has a complex and wide range of meaning. The simplest definition for nephesh is “life”—that part of the body that causes animation and awareness; soul is the beingness of a person. Nephesh also can be defined as the “self,” the personality.

The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible explains the soul as “man in his varied emotions and inner powers.” In the Old Testament, we see the soul—translated as “soul,” “will,” and “knowledge,” in the following scriptures—described as the seat of our memories (Job 30:16), our passions (Psalm 27:12), and our understanding (Psalm 139:14).

Jesus said in Mark 8:36–37, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” A soul that’s right with God is priceless—we know this because when God saw fit to ransom us from sin, He did so through the precious sacrifice of the Son, Jesus Christ.

Think about that: your soul is so valuable in the eyes of God that nothing in this world compares. Nothing.

soul stepping

Do you ever wonder how the value of a dollar was determined? Why did flimsy green paper gain such significance in our economy? Two reasons: the gold amassed in the treasury, and faith in the stability and power of the government. Money is just paper unless it’s backed by a greater power.

This is far more true for our souls, which find security only in the power and backing of God. But we don’t live that way, do we? Too often, instead of guarding the path of our choices with the good Word of God, we wander our way into hazards and walk into foolish circumstances. No wonder we can end up feeling lost and distant from God.

Even when we stray, like a prodigal daughter, we can be sure that we can always return home, and the Father is waiting for us with open arms. How can we be sure that we’re on the path of God and righteousness, rather than the broad way of the world? God gives us signposts to help us to stay on track.

The Spirit is our GPS of righteousness. If our conscience feels a prick of guilt for our words or actions, the Spirit may well be at work in us, nudging us to the path of blamelessness. The Spirit brings conviction of sin, not to shame us into paralysis but to lovingly move us to repentance and forgiveness.

Our souls were created to live in communion with God. When sin creates a gap between us and the Lord, He, through the bridge of Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, makes a way for us to get out of the wilderness and back into fellowship with Him.


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Daily Question

Can you think of a time when the Lord called you back to Himself when you were wandering? How did you know?

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Comments (4)

Before, I think I didn’t know.. now, I have an inner longing, a craving for my spiritual communion time with the Lord. I miss worship and closeness and quiet time with him like a close family member… I try to give into those longings or plan a time to do so when they happen… sometimes I just need some knee time…..

God called me back to himself in college when I had left my close relationship with God and started wandering the way of the world. I was living the high life of a partying college girl not living for God. I made friends that influenced me down paths that I didn’t belong. I lived this way for a year and then one morning, I woke up and just like that, God convicted me to stop living a sinful life. I went to my friends and told them I was giving my life back to God. I found out that my parents had started praying for me in their weekly home group 30 days before. No one preached to me or told me I was living in sin, it was all God and His sovereign Spirit that convicted me and changed me.

When my kids went to high school they started attending a youth church service at a more active church. I started to not attend church. Had been very involved with Sunday school and vacation bible school. A friend asked me (after kids went to college) to attend a women’s Bible study. My friend never signed up but it was God’s way of drawing me back into the church

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