Month: July 2017
possess: to win; to own; to contend; not giving way to adverse circumstances
More and more people are choosing to live a healthier lifestyle. They are going to the gym every day. They are drinking more water. Some have even decided to become vegans. I, on the other hand, am like Paul, who believed every creature of God is good and is to be received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 3-4). While I’m so glad that we’ve decided to take better care of our bodies, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if we cared for our souls the way we care for our bodies?
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (Matthew 16:26)?
There are some things that are hard to get back. We see this when Esau sells his birthright to his brother. We also see this in the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). This wasn’t her only coin. She had nine other coins, but it wasn’t until she lost one that she understood the value of what she had. She knew something was missing in her life and she wanted it back.
I’m not sure how this woman lost her coin, but what I do know is that this woman lit a candle, swept the house and searched diligently through the dust and dirt until she found it. To find it, she had to separate herself. No distractions. In fact, her friends and neighbors aren’t mentioned until after she found the coin.
There are some people and situations that you will have to walk away from. And no, that’s not being mean. That’s being wise. It means you are learning to guard your heart with all diligence. It means that you now understand how precious you are and you are pulling away from anything or anyone that will pull you back into what God pulled you out of.
One of the tricks of the enemy is to get you to join yourself to the wrong people while separating you from the right people. Sometimes our relationships look like the picture below.
The ox knows how to plow and the donkey knows how to plow, but it’s just not wise for them to plow together. It would be better for the ox to plow with an animal that has its nature or character. It should be joined with an animal that would work with it and not against it. I know we didn’t choose the families we were born into, but we can choose our friends. Choose people who will help you, not hold you back.
Another way the enemy tries to get to your soul is through sexual immorality. There is no need to boast about what foods you don’t put in your body if you commit sins that affect both your body and soul. We’ve heard it and we have read it, but I don’t think we really understand that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – that He is in us to help us. He helps us to win and to overcome temptations.
King Lemuel begins Proverbs 31 by sharing with us the words of his mother. I believe the best advice his mother gave him is found in Proverbs 31:3 – Give not your strength to women (Proverbs 31:3). Throughout the book of Proverbs, we read about the strange woman (2:16), the evil woman (6:24), the whorish woman (6:26), the foolish woman (9:13) and the adulterous woman (30:20). His mother wanted him to join himself to a wise woman who builds her house (which includes him), not a woman who is known to tear apart her house or break up other people’s houses.
Have you ever watched the movie, Fireproof? Do you remember the salt and pepper demonstration? Michael glued two salt and pepper shakers together to show Caleb what happens when two souls become one. At the end of the demonstration, Caleb started to pull the two shakers apart, but he was warned not to because he would either break one of them or even worse – the both of them.
The reason why satan tries to break up marriages or tempt people to lay with someone who is not their wife or husband (fornication as well adultery) is to destroy souls. He wants to ruin you emotionally and spiritually. He wants you to feel so used and damaged that you think it is impossible for God to ever use you. He wants to put an end to what God wants to do before it is even started.
Some of you are carrying unforgiveness, hurt, shame, fear, bitterness and anger because of who you joined yourselves to. They all weren’t bad people, but they were the wrong people simply because they weren’t right for you. But these things that you are carrying contaminate your souls. They wear you down and make you sick in your body. They hinder your prayers and they keep you from moving forward.
But most of all, these things weaken your faith in God. It will cause you to back away rather than to draw near to God. The enemy recognizes the power of one (unity). He knows the power of love and he doesn’t want you to love like you used to. He knows the power of your prayers (John 14:13-14). And he knows what your faith can do – overcome him! For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).
In Luke 21, Jesus warned the disciples of the signs that will precede his return. The first thing he mentioned was deception (vs 8). Many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ…but don’t follow them. The purpose of deception is to get you to exchange what is of value for something of little or no value. (Esau exchanged his birthright for one morsel of meat; Hebrews 12:6). After he lists all the events that will take place, he says, In your patience possess your souls (vs 19).
The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions. The enemy attacks your soul because that is the area where you think, feel emotions and make decisions. When a person is deceived, he is made to believe something that is not true. He is misled by a false appearance. Deception has caused many ‘believers’ to leave the very place where God sent them or planted them to grow. It has even caused them to leave families (spouses and children) for what they thought was better.
Your soul is precious and valuable. You are precious and valuable to God. Don’t exchange what you have for something that you don’t need. It is important that you take good care of your body, but also guard your soul. Choose your thoughts and be careful with your words. Don’t be impatient like Esau who acted like he would have fainted had he not eaten right away. Wait on God. And don’t be deceived like Eve. One of the reasons why she ate of the tree was because it was pleasant to the eyes (Genesis 3:6). Let us make sure that whatever we do is pleasing to God, and not just to our eyes.
Possess your souls.
walk: the way you conduct yourself; to live in obedience; to move; to go through
Throughout his ministry, Jesus walked a lot. There was this one time that he needed to travel through Samaria. When he arrived to Sychar, a city of Samaria, he was tired (John 4:4). What I love about this passage of scripture is that when Jesus got tired, he didn’t quit. He didn’t give up. He stopped and rested.
Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well (John 4:6, KJV).
So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down [to rest] by the well (John 4:6, AMPC).
As believing Christians, we walk a lot too. Well, we are supposed to.
Let us walk honestly (Romans 13:13).
For we walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16).
And walk in love (Ephesians 5:2).
Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).
That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing (Colossians 1:10).
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments (2 John 1:6).
Throughout the bible, we are told how we should walk. I know we don’t always walk how we were taught to walk. I know you’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I want to encourage every person who is reading this.
Do you remember when Paul was in a ship with some other prisoners? While they were sailing, Paul perceived that they would suffer hurt and much damage (Acts 27:10). He wasn’t just talking about the ship, but he was talking about their lives being in danger. But the centurion wouldn’t listen. He believed the master and owner of the ship more than the words spoken by Paul.
Sometimes we believe the words of people more than the word of God.
When a violent wind came, they were tossed about on the ship. To save themselves, they had to throw things off the ship to reduce the weight. They experienced seasickness, stress and they were without food for a long time. Have you ever thought back to some decisions you made and said, If I had only listened? Paul told them that they should have listened to him, but he knew they were already feeling bad so he didn’t make them feel worse. He didn’t condemn them. He told them to cheer up. There will be no loss of life among you, but only loss of the ship (Acts 27:22, AMP).
Maybe you didn’t listen when God warned you, but don’t dwell over it. Don’t beat yourself over it. Cheer up. The enemy wants you to feel like you’re a failure. He wants you to think that you can’t do anything right. You’re always messing up. You do good for a little while, but then you do something foolish just before the breakthrough or before the promise can be fulfilled in your life. For some of you, there are people who have blamed you for the choices they made. They made you think it was your fault. They made you feel like you were a bad person. Yes, you have made some bad choices, but that doesn’t make you a bad person. Everything wasn’t your fault.
I don’t care what people have said about you. You won’t miss it this time. You have been the tail for too long, but things are about to turn around for you. No, God hasn’t changed His mind about you. He wants to bless you. If you will obey His voice and do all that He has commanded you to do, God will make you the head (Deuteronomy 28:1, 13). You don’t have to force it. HE will do it.
So don’t look back. I don’t want you to regret anything. I don’t want you to worry about it anymore. I don’t want you to sit too long. Get up and ‘walk’. Don’t stop doing what works just because it seems like it’s not working. I know you wish you could have done some things differently, but guess what? You still can. It’s not too late for you. Every day that God gives you is another chance and another opportunity to do things differently.
I told you earlier that Jesus needed to go through Samaria. When Jesus sat down to rest, he ministered to a woman who was ‘tired’ too – tired of going from man to man, tired of the hurt, tired of the disappointment – looking, searching and hoping. Is he the one? Will this one love me the way I deserve to be loved? This woman was so busy looking for someone to love her that she never learned to love herself. But she met Jesus – and he spoke to her like no other man had ever spoken to her before. What this MAN did for her made her forget about what all the other men did to her.
You need to go through what you’re going through. It’s going to help somebody. Someone has lost hope, but you’re about to give someone hope again. I know you get weary at times along the way. Sometimes you want to give up, but keep walking in what God told you to do.
And when you get tired, rest.
Rest in the promise God made to you. Become like Paul who believed God and believed that it would be as it was told to him (Acts 27:25). Be at peace with what God said and as you place your hope in Him, He will renew your strength and you will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
Rest, but don’t quit.