The soul consists of our mind, will and emotions. That’s what makes us human. We get anxious, sad, depressed, happy, angry, stubborn, willful, obedient, compliant, we feel lonely and downhearted, all these characteristics and mannerisms are expressions of the soul. It’s the seat of our human existence. In Psalm 42 we hear the Psalmist expressing the longings of his soul for God. Then he pours out his soul, that could either be in worship or complaining. The soul feels despair and needs to be encouraged. Everything we do with our bodies is a correlation of soul and body.
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”
Psalms 42:1-2, 4-6, 11 NKJV
Whenever we encourage ourselves, it’s not the body that we’re speaking to, it’s our souls. If we’re expressing love, joy, laughter etc. it’s coming from an encouraged soul. The decisions we make flow from our soul. All our reasoning flows from the soul. It’s more aligned to the flesh. The body has no function apart from the soul. Remember Genesis 2? God breathed into man and he became a living soul(being) not a living spirit. God told Ezekiel that the soul that sins will die. Mary said, “my soul magnifies the Lord.” And her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior.
A healthy soul produces a healthy mind and body. We think more clearly when our souls are in a restful state. Our spirit on the other hand has a direct connection with God. We have a regenerated spirit. That’s why we can be wasting away physically yet be rebounding spiritually. The spirit is alive forevermore. Paul refers to our spirit as the inner man. 1 Corinthians 4. Our spirit never needs refreshing or encouragement, but our souls do. That’s why we speak to it from the renewed mind. The spirit of man is superior to the soul of man. The new spirit isn’t subject to sin and decay. The Bible teaches that we need a new body to enter heaven, it never says we need a new spirit. Philippians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5. This body and soul are still tainted with sin. That’s why we’re constantly being tripped up. The soulish realm for the rest of our living days, must be trained to conform to the new spirit controlled life. I don’t want to get into both dimensions right now, but we are indeed a triune being: Body, soul and spirit. That’s how we were created. After redemption the order was reversed. Spirit, housed in a soul and clothed in a body. We’re supposed to be operating from our born again spirit not the flesh. See Romans 8
If you are feeling down today, discouraged and disheartened, your soul may need a little boosting from the renewed mind. Have you ever said these words? “ I don’t know why I’m feeling such sadness, down or anxious inside. Everything as far as I know is going well. What’s going on inside me?” Those feelings are coming from the soul. You read that in Psalms 42. I’ve also learned that sometimes the Holy Spirit is interceding through my spirit that has touched my soul to bring awareness and bring me into agreement with what He’s doing on the inside of me. As I begin to pray in the Holy Spirit, I will feel the heaviness begin to lift. I have no idea what was averted, or who I was praying for but because spirit, soul and body became one in that moment, the Holy Spirit accomplished what He wanted through me. This takes discernment, or you’ll walk in guilt and condemnation thinking your feelings have something to do with you missing God or messing up.
I’ll share a true story. I had asked the Lord to send me someone who spoke Hindi because I needed to witness to my neighbor who was from India. One morning as I was headed to the gym, I felt as though I needed to turn back. I said to the Holy Spirit, “don’t you want me to go to the gym, is there a problem?” I just had this uneasy feeling that I couldn’t explain. So I said ok I’ll go back home. As soon as I opened my front door and got into my apartment there was a knock on my door. An evangelist from India was going through my community that day. My spirit got a message from the Holy Spirit, which was transmitted to my soul that created the feeling of unease that caused a response from my body to turn around. My neighbor was ministered to that day and given a Bible in his language. This was one of many such incidents. I used to beat myself up whenever my soul was cast down, until I learned that submission to Him meant He can intercede through me, allowing me to sense what He’s doing and participate with Him.
My soul and body are subject to my born again spirit, that is now under the authority of the Holy Spirit. Am I making sense or have I lost you? This is meat not milk today. Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit is more than a gut feeling. It’s an intense feeling that we cannot shake or ignore. The more we try to ignore it (Him) the worse it gets. Not until we stop and acknowledge what’s happening in us, do we get relief. Has the Holy Spirit ever told you to confess a particular sin to someone and you try to ignore Him? You can sing louder, pray harder, eat ice cream, watch a funny movie, and you still feel lousy. The pressure is so great that you feel like David after his sin with Bathsheba. (Psalms 32 & 51) He will keep that pressure on our souls until we do what He’s said. Then peace returns to our souls. Our spirit is just fine, it's been made perfect. The part of us that dies is agonizing until He brings peace through obedience. We’re trained by constantly being obedient to His nudges. How do we become proficient in spiritual or natural things? Practice, training, not some of the time but all of the time. If we constantly ignore the Holy Spirit we’ll never be able to separate feelings from discerning or knowing confidently that it’s His voice and not ours.
“But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters. And they have been adequately trained by what they’ve experienced to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.”
Hebrews 5:14 TPT
Another translation reads:
“Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” Hebrews 5:14 NLT
I like that word training because it lets us know that it is more than a one time deal. Faith comes not by having heard, but by hearing constantly the Word of God. Discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit is achieved in the same way. Young Samuel heard the voice of God not once but three times. After he was instructed to say “speak Lord” he never stopped hearing and he never mistook the voice of God for Eli’s voice again. Our souls receive messages constantly, but we must always discern who’s speaking. Correction comes by the Holy Spirit to our souls. That’s why we feel guilty when we’ve sinned. Our spirit doesn’t sin, it's been made perfect through our redemption, it’s connected to God in Jesus Christ once and for all. The soul or flesh wasn’t born anew. It sins and must repent, so out of our innermost being we confess our wrongs with our mouths, receive forgiveness and continue our fellowship and communion with Jesus by His Spirit.
Our soulish realm needs to catch up to our new man. The spirit is renewed day by day as we spend time with the living Word. The outward man is perishing day by day. We cannot stop the decaying of something that is not made to last. So we should instead focus on what is: The spirit. It’s from the Spirit that we can encourage our souls. It’s the only eternal part of us.
“I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!” Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.”Psalms 116:1-4, 7-8 NKJV
The anguish and pain the writer was experiencing affected his soul and body. When Jesus groaned at the tomb of Lazarus it wasn’t His soul that groaned, because He never shared the pangs of sin until the cross, it was His Spirit due to the unbelief of those around Him. He was feeling what His Father was feeling at that moment. He felt the sorrow of Mary, these were His close friends. When we read that God was grieved with Israel it wasn’t soulish it was spiritual. God is Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings. We have no idea what things we’ve been spared from, we couldn’t handle it if we did. God alone knows the mind of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is praying the will of God for us. My mind is reeling at the thought of what’s happening in the Spirit realm right now. This wasn’t where I thought I’d be going with this message. Wow!
“Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”
John 11:33 NKJV
“And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.”
John 11:37-38 NKJV
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Romans 8:26-27 NKJV
I thought I was going to teach on encouraging the soul. But we can’t do that successfully without understanding the work of the Holy Spirit in all of it. Encouraging our souls is the work of the Spirit. It’s through hearing and understanding the Word of God that we can speak to ourselves. Our souls are encouraged not by nice words, not by positive words, not by self help books but by the Word of God by His Spirit. What did the Psalmist write?
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:”Psalms 103:1-2 NKJV
Remember what constitutes the soulish realm. So why did he tell his soul to bless the Lord and forget not the benefits it received? Because the benefits met the needs of his body, emotionally and physically.
“Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalms 103:3-5 NKJV
So when the sons of Korah asked their soul the question of why it was cast down, he reminded himself of why it shouldn’t be through remembrance.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me— A prayer to the God of my life. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”Psalms 42:5-8, 11 NKJV
If you’re given to selective amnesia, Forgetting what God has done for you, You’ll always have a disquieted soul. A soul without hope. If you’ve tuned in your soul to the frequency of the Holy Spirit, you’ll know and recognize His nudges as well as His correction. You’ll know when to repent and when to encourage your soul. Remember what Hebrews 5:14 says. You need to have your natural senses trained by the Holy Spirit to discern what is God and what is fleshy. You’ll never misunderstand His unction nor will you ignore them.
So speak to your soul today. Remind it to hope in God. Praise and bless Him! Because He is our help, He puts the smile back on our faces And peace in our hearts.
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.”
Psalms 33:20-21 NKJV
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
October 20, 2021