Do you take the time to soul search?
Last week, we started a three-part series called, “Understanding Our Three-Fold Framework.” We began with the visible gift known as our bodies and how our physical form can help us flourish. We discovered there's an incredible synergy between body, soul, and spirit. This week, we're going to look at the invisible you–your soul.
I still remember the color-coded reading cards in grade school. The SRA Reading Lab provided an independent reading session for students. As students advanced in their reading, they moved from color to color. The vibrant colors were indicative of higher reading levels.
I was stuck in the ugly color. Shy and insecure, shame overshadowed my damaged soul. I developed a negative mindset about reading which affected my education and self-esteem for decades.
A Deeper Look at Your Soul
Personal growth is an inside-out process. We are created to flourish, but often emotional weeds can hold us back unless we take the time to intentionally soul search. Have you ever wondered, what is a soul?
Our soul is unique, invisible, and eternal. Have you noticed the beautiful people around you? Your family, neighbors, and friends vary in intellect, emotions, will, personality, and more. They reflect the unique creative work of God. Your soul provides the thoughts that allow you to choose, but is it the same as the spirit?
Biblical Views May Differ, but The Goal is the Same
While deep in research, I found two major theological differences that I should mention. In the book “Systematic Theology,” Wayne Grudem a well-respected research professor offered various Christian views about soul and spirit (472-473). Here are two of the more common perspectives in our Christian world that are both supported by Scripture.
“The view that man is made of three parts (body, soul, and spirit). Man's soul includes his intellect, his emotions, and his will.”
“The view that man is made up of two parts (body and soul/spirit). The terms soul and spirit are frequently interchangeable and are in many cases synonymous.”
There are many unanswered questions in the Bible, and although answers help us feel secure, our security is in Jesus Christ. Biblical views may differ, but the goal is the same; we need to become more Christ-like day by day. One way we can do that is to find time to prayerfully soul search.
How Does Our Soul Flourish?
Our soul includes the raw emotions that create tension for holy living. Here are a few daily challenges: temptation, personal desires, insecurities, stress, depression, and lack of self-control.
Behavioral changes are not easy which explains why so many of us struggle in life. It's hard to change how we think. Our renewed thoughts influence better emotions and actions. It's an inside-out process that leads to victory.
“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23 New Living Translation
Our culture has spent money on books, personal development programs, and motivational gurus, but the answer is the same, Jesus Christ.
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:29 NLT
Time to Soul Search
It's not enough to read the Bible we have to apply it. No brainer, right? I didn't realize the amount of soul searching it would take to uncover the broken pieces of my past, but little by little, truth led to freedom.
The areas that we bury and stuff need to heal. The health of our soul creates better synergy with our body and spirit. We begin to find clarity about our purpose. We start to find fulfillment and contentment. Our contribution, no matter how large or small begins to have more meaning and value.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 2007. Print.