how is it with your soul?

“How is it with your soul today?”
I love that question. It is the accountability question that typically led off most of the class meetings in John Wesley’s day. What gets me is just how much is actually involved in trying to formulate an answer. First of all, how many of us really have a handle on how we might try to guage the condition of our soul at any given moment? I can tell you pretty clearly how my body is feeling at any given moment, and I am pretty sure I can give you a reading on the state of my mind and my emotions. Not quite as confident in that whole soul realm though.
And why not? What keeps me (or you, for that matter) from being able to accurately judge the state of our souls? Perhaps it starts with the frequency with which we actually tune in to our souls to see how they are doing. We hear stories in the Bible about people who obviously were much more adept at it than we are. They talk to their souls: “My soul, why are you downcast within me?” Or “my soul rejoices in the Lord,” (Isaiah 61:10) or “My soul thirsts for you, O God” (Psalm 63:1) or other similar sayings. These days I do not sense that the language and terrain of the soul is something many of us are very comfortable traveling. Mention the word in many circles – including church circles – and you might get associations like, “soul music,” or something that roughly translates to enthusiasm or vigor.
We had a discussion at my small group meeting last night about just what the soul is anyway and how we might pay better attention to its state. One of our group members said that the understanding he developed from an early age is that the soul is perfect, is in fact the “divine spark” that lies within each of us. And as such, the soul cannot be anything other than perfect in all impulses and activities. The trouble arises, he went on to say, when you and I distort the soul’s overtures and impulses by our flawed minds and wills and then live lives in direct opposition to the soul’s directives. Our study resource, Dallas Willard, contended that the soul can in fact be warped and broken by our sin and self-centered orientation to life. He goes on to say that we cannot act directly on our souls to repair them (the way we can directly act on our minds or feelings), but that through the application of the spiritual disciplines can bring God’s gracious healing to them.

What do you think? And while we are at it, how IS it with your soul today?

1 Response to “how is it with your soul?”

  1. 1 susan evers
    August 22, 2008 at 2:49 am

    It is well with my soul… 🙂 Another question might be…How many know their birthday?? How about our re-birth day when we accepted God as our Savior. Which is more important to know?

    When I was in college during my Freshman year at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, I was forced to take a Religion 101 class for two semesters. Best class I’ve ever participated in..Hands down. My religion professors challenged my beliefs..Until that year, I had just accepted everything ever taught in church or Sunday School without question. However, these pastors actually made us think of why we believe and what we believe. It was an awesome experience.

    Well back to my original comment. I wrote a letter to my parents on my actual re-birth day. It brings tears to my eyes even when I re-read it today, more than 25 years later.

    You are correct. I have never been asked directly regarding the condition of my soul.

    Profound thought.

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