I wrote a piece recently (see previous article) challenging the reader to inquire of someone regarding the condition of their soul. If we want meaningful conversation that tells the other person we really care about them, and if indeed we do care, the most important thing we should care about would be the condition of their souls. We commonly understand our souls to be much as the 1913 Webster Dictionary defined it as, “That spiritual, rational, and immortal part in man … that is, the seat of life …” It is our innermost being, the essence of who we are as God-created humans, distinct from the animal kingdom. God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into Him. It was with this breath of God that Adam was given a soul, that would be immortal. Depending on the choices we make on this earth, the immortality of the soul can be glorious or a literal hell. It was the very breath of God that made man into His likeness. It is with the first man, Adam, that God walked in the Garden of Eden and had a relationship with Him. God did not have the same relationship with the animals. Man had a soul and was an eternal likeness of God.
It was at the soul level that Adam and Eve had relationship with their Creator. Christ told us in Matt 10:28 that we should not fear those who are able to kill the body because they won’t be able to touch our souls. The soul is a part of us reserved for God alone. He will be the final judge of the destiny of our souls. Our souls know about our eternal nature. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” That sense of the eternal is in our souls.
So, when we consider our soul and its condition, we must consider its relationship with God, the One who will finally assign our eternal destiny. Have I placed my trust in Him alone? With the never-ending 3-ring circus that is constantly going on in our world, am I spending my time stewing and fretting about all the potential outcomes, or is my house built on the solid rock and can withstand any storm this world can throw my way?
Can you confidently say that it is well with your soul? In his third letter to the Church, the Apostle John wrote, ” Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3Jn 1:2) The songwriter Horatio Spafford penned these words,
“When peace like a river attendeth my way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to know,
it is well, it is well with my soul.”
The Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to write these words in his letters to young churches: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Php 4:12) and speaking of an affliction that Paul longed to rid himself of, he wrote to the church in Corinth, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:8-10)
In other words, Paul had learned to say that it was well with his soul regardless of his circumstances, or what he saw going on in the world around him. Still, he acknowledged difficulty in life. If we don’t acknowledge our pain(s), how then are we to carry one another’s burdens? Paul wrote about living in plenty and in want, in weakness and persecution, and his letters to the churches were written to address issues facing these churches. But when all is said and done, if we remain in the faith (abide in Him), we have this confidence in Christ that assures us of the salvation of our souls. 1 John 2:28 tells us, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”
Our souls are the essence of who we are. Abiding in Christ gives us a healthy soul. Our perspective on life, love and our own soul health is bolstered by abiding in Christ and His love letter to us in the Scriptures. I hope and pray that you can say, it is well with my soul. But if you can’t say that, I hope and pray that God surrounds you with people who will help guide you to a path of well-being at the soul level.