How to Prosper the Soul

 As followers of Christ our goal is to grow deeper in our spiritual walk. Pastor John explains that this walk is hindered by  both cultural impediments and our consumer enhancement syndrome. Pastor John brings to a conclusion a series on the soul and he explains how overcoming both of these will enable our souls to prosper.

Hardship, suffering, and pain will enable us to grow spiritually if we handle it correctly. Our culture teaches us to avoid pain, yet the Apostle Paul tells us that through pain, Christ, is glorified. This cultural impediment can be overcome if we believe and trust in a God that is faithful.

 There are also personal impediments that Pastor John calls our  “Consumer Enhancement Syndrome”. When the driving force of our lives is our looks, finances, possessions or anything else that blurs our focus on Christ, it will leave us unsatisfied.

So if we are able to take our hardships, our burdens, and our consumer enhancement syndrome, and turn them over to the Lord our souls will prosper and Christ will be glorified.

 

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Value the Soul Above the Body

Pastor John delivers the fourth message in a series on the human soul. In this message, drawn from Matthew 10:16-19, we learn to value the soul above the body. The text shows Jesus giving His disciples instructions and warnings about the ministry they will undertake. He promises them persecution, discomfort, and even death. But they were not to fear these things. Rather, they were to “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28).

Jesus is often quoted telling His followers to “fear not.” Here he gives different counsel, echoing the Proverbs that tell us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When we lean on God’s word to make sense of this world and our journey through it, we gain the perspective that frees us from all other fear. The human soul was designed for communion with God. Sin breaks that communion. The soul still yearns for closeness with God, creating a yearning that animates the mind and body. That yearning, uninformed by the revelation of God through scripture, drives the soul to seek satisfaction through pursuit of pleasure, multiplying the sin that further alienates the soul from God. So the cycle continues, driving the individual further away from knowledge of God and further away from a fulfillment sought with all the more desperation.

Through revelation we understand how our souls were framed. We know that the soul is our animating life force, linking the body, mind, and will. We know it can be satisfied only through ever-closer communion with our creator. How thankful we should be that our creator reached out to us even while we still sought fulfillment everywhere but in Him. By His grace we are saved, and by that same grace we can adopt God’s perspective and subdue the appetites and anxieties of the body while we pursue the fellowship with God our souls crave.

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Caring for the Soul

Pastor John delivers the third message in a series on the human soul. God created the human soul to need, trust, and relate to God. Our souls will always retain that fundamental neediness. A dependent connection with God is the healthy, natural condition of the soul. The enemy of the soul is sin, disconnecting us from God and deceiving the soul into trusting something, anything, other than God.

The word psychology derives from a Greek word usually translated soul, but ironically the focus of most modern psychology is self–the antithesis of soul-health. We are familiar with the selfish directives of popular psychology, sacrosanct in culture and commerce today: fill yourself, express yourself, believe in yourself, love yourself, be yourself. Fulfilling all these commands will starve the soul, exalting self above others, above community, above God.

The soul thrives when trusting God. It withers when self becomes the focus of living. Is it well with your soul?

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An Anchor for the Soul

Pastor John delivers the second message in a series on the soul. This message comes from Hebrews 6:18-20, a passage that speaks of God’s plans for our salvation as “an anchor of the soul.”

God made our souls to seek safety and assurance in Him. Scripture records the many ways God provides for us, so that our souls may have no lack and rest peacefully in Him. But when Adam sinned, the human perspective became warped. We tend by nature to see what we lack rather than what we have. Acting on our insecurity, we attempt to make arrangements for our own satisfaction. Our own efforts may deceive our minds and comfort our bodies for a season, but our souls are never long satisfied with substitutes: God must be the anchor. To seek peace and comfort by our own devices rather than to pursue God is not merely futile, but damaging to our souls.

Jesus could sleep soundly in the hold of a small, storm-tossed ship because His soul was at peace. By faith we can always have peace and refuge in God, even when circumstances are dire.

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Pursuing a Satisfied Soul

Today Pastor John begins a study of the soul by asking, “How is your soul?” In order to properly answer this question we need to study and understand our souls.
As Pastor John explains, the Soul seems to be self-contradictory because not only is it incapable of satisfying itself but it is also incapable of living without satisfaction. As we try to pursue a satisfied soul, we need to understand that our souls are not satisfied by our achievement. Instead, our souls crave after God and are only satisfied by pleasing Him.

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