In his book, Soul Keeping, John Ortberg personifies the soul when he writes,
“I have been waiting. I am shy–terribly shy–even in the most boisterous person. I can only whisper, never shout. You may never even notice me. But I am here, waiting. I do not lie on the surface. If you look and listen, patiently, you will know.
I speak through your confusion, through your wanting, through your hurt. When you stammer, when you say what you did not mean to say, it was I. When you watch a sunset, or hear a child laugh, or listen to a piece of music that causes you to suddenly become choked up, it is I that causes your eye to fill. When you are addicted, it is is that is chained.
When the sun burns up and the universe melts away, I will be here. I will not be ignored. I can be wounded, lost, repulsed, or redeemed. Your circumstances actually matter far less to your happiness than you think. It is my health that makes your life heaven or hell.
I am your soul. I am here.”
The soul is the deepest part of who we are. Multiple times in the Bible God is referred to as having a soul. The reference almost always refers to the who God is in the deepest part of His being. It is who God is in his soul that provides order to the rest of his qualities. To say that God is perfect means that God never experiences disunity or that he is never incongrugent with himself. His will, his thoughts, his actions, his words are always in congruence with God’s soul, with the deepest part of himself.
Interestingly, when speaking of God creating Adam in the book of Genesis, it says that God breathed the breath of life into Adam and he became a living soul. In other words, we are created and fashioned like God in that we have a soul just like he does. Our soul is that deepest part of us that seeks to order our lives to a place of integrity. It’s that part of us that seeks to bring unity and harmony to our will and our mind and our bodies. It seeks to help us live lives of integrity where we are living from a healthy center and where each part of who we are lives in line with that health.
However, here is the reality that John Ortberg speaks about in his book. Our souls are sick. Our souls are not healthy. They are broken. They have been infected and wounded in many different ways and as a result we do not experience the connection with God and with the peaceful, joy-filled, satisfying, happy, abundant lives that God created us for.
And so, because we are aware of the sickness that expresses itself in so many different forms, we search for a cure. However, we almost invariably focus on things outside of ourselves. We focus on careers and money and fame and human relationships. We take vacations and turn to substances and images, all in an attempt to find some relief, to find some meaning, to find a cure. But, the mistake we make is that we are working on the outside rather than the inside.
Specifically, what we need to learn to care for and invest in the most in our lives is the care of our soul. We need to turn to God to redeem, to heal, to cure our soul. In fact, that is what Ortberg reminds us that salvation is ultimately all about. It’s not just about where I will spend eternity. It is about that. But it’s also about inner healing. It’s about the restoration of the deepest part of who we are. It’s about allowing God to heal us from the inside so that we can become who we were meant to be rather than just focus on what we are meant to do.
Are you happy in life? Are things well with you? Do you have joy and peace and integrity of life? It will never come from focusing on the outside. We have to allow God to save our souls, heal our souls, restore our souls.
Is that possible? Well, whether your soul is hardened, shallow or cluttered (Those are the names the Bible gives the diseases of the soul) God has the medicine that can start bringing health and life to your soul. To begin accessing the cure I encourage you to spend some time with Jesus allowing him to speak to you through two resources. First, I encourage you to read the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15. I also encourage you to join me in reading Soul Keeping by John Ortberg.
As we do those two things we will be focusing in what really matters. We will be allowing God to save us on the inside so we can live abundantly for Him on the outside.