Prospering in your soul

God wants to prosper us in every area of our lives, not just our pockets.

The more that I read the Bible I realize God’s true concern for the entire person. God cares about our overall well-being, in body, spirit and soul.

For this reason, the Church has been called to holistic ministry. Not only are Christians charged with administering the word of God, but also feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and creating a place of refuge for those in need of healing and deliverance.

What better illustration do we have of this than our Chief Shepard and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ. Matthew 4:23 records, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”

Jesus cared for people’s physical needs and desired to see them healed and delivered. His message was one of hope, informing hearers of an alternative way of life through God’s heavenly kingdom.

Though Jesus’ words alone contained life (John 6:63), he still thought it necessary to feed the multitude (John 6:5-12) and found time for one-on-one counseling sessions with the likes of the Samaritan woman (John 4).

With this in mind, 3 John 2 records, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (KJV).

Here, God expresses his desire for the complete and total prosperity of his people. We know from passages like Jeremiah 29:11 that God’s desire is to prosper us, but it should be noted that this physical prosperity should also be reflexive in our souls.

To be clear, the soul is defined as “the seat of our thoughts, affections, and reasonings,” according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. This means that God wants our mental-emotional state to always have a clean bill of health.

A healthy soul, most assuredly, starts in the mind—with the mind being truly the holding cell of our thoughts and emotions. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

There are a myriad of factors at work here. First, one will not truly be able to have prosperity within the soul without undergoing mental surgery.

It is required of every believer to be “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” in order for us to “set [our] minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2).  Following Jesus requires that we operate on a whole different wavelength, in which our faith infects our thinking.

For instance, it takes a mental transformation to be able to adhere to Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 6:31-34:

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us not to run after our physical needs but to run after him; he adds that pagans (the unsaved) run after such things. The result of running after these things is worry, and worry brings about sickness within our souls.

Consequently, Romans 8:6 reads, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (KJV). The spiritual mind has in view the will of God, which Romans 12:2 refers to as “good, pleasing and perfect.”

One who has the will of God in mind will constantly seek God’s will for their lives. In “testing and approving” what God’s will is, we are to exemplify patience, submission and prayer.

Philippians 4:6-7 reads, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Through prayer, God will bestow upon us a peace that goes beyond our perceptions and even circumstances. The peace that God gives is so awesome that it actually serves as a guard for our souls! 

Jesus encourages us to come to him in prayer, saying to his disciples, “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1/KJV). In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus gives an open invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

God knows that the circumstances of life will cause us to be fatigued mentally and emotionally. For this reason, God has set up a system of relieving this stress, tension and anxiety—prayer.

It seems like a simple solution to what are to us complex problems, but it is the solution. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Never think because you have cares, concerns, stresses or the like that there is something wrong with you. That is why the system is in place. God would not tell us to cast our cares upon him if we were to never have them.

God simply wants us to come to him when we are weary and not seek an earthly vice. Unhealthy habits and ungodly outlets will never be able to accomplish what fellowship with God can.

God wants us to come to him so badly that he has actually come to us. In John 16:7, Jesus says, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (KJV).

We have an assurance of God’s comfort because we have the Holy Spirit on the inside of us. Furthermore, Romans 8:26 tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Even in our weakest state, when we do not feel like we can pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us. What more can we really ask for?

To ensure the total health of our souls, however, we must create an atmosphere of peace.

I will even go as far as to say that one cannot really have a prayer life without having a place of rest to in which to retreat. After all, Matthew 6:6a reads, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”

If your room is in a home filled with turmoil and strife, then it does not allow the freedom to truly go before God. To this effect, Proverbs 21:9 states, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

Now, one does not have to be married to understand this concept (though I’m sure it helps). The home is supposed to be a place of rest, regardless of who lives there. Proverbs 17:1 adds, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”

In Luke 10:5-7, when Jesus sent out the seventy-two, he gave them these instructions:

When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house.” 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

Jesus’ instructions implied that the disciples find a residence where peace abides. He had already told them that he was sending them as “lambs among wolves” (v. 3), implicating the adversity of the task. Surely, after a hard days work, the disciples would want to return to a place of peace. 

It is worth reiterating that Jesus says to not move from house to house. Once that place of peace has been found you should remain there until God says it’s time to go.

Conversely, Jesus says in Luke 9:4, “If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” Never try and stay in a place where there is no peace. As quickly as God says stay where there is peace, be prepared to leave where peace is devoid.

If you have not realized by now, the key to prospering in your soul is peace. My pastor always talks about being grateful for peace of mind instead of material things. Admittedly, as someone who does not have a lot, this can sometimes sound like a broken record.

As I type, however, I can hear my pastor’s words ringing in my ears. He always says, “If you have peace of mind then you’re a millionaire!”

I can honestly say that, now, I truly believe that.

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~ by christianballenger on September 5, 2011.

3 Responses to “Prospering in your soul”

  1. Well said. Sometimes we have to go through adversity to do a peace-check on ourselves. Keeping you lifted in prayer.

  2. Yes…Yes…Yes…Christian right on target. I so agree that we are spirit have a soul (mind, will and emotions) and housed in a body. The cry for believers everwhere is to be…born again in our spirit, grow up in our salvation by being transformed in our soul and to take good care of the temple (our body) that God has given us while here on earth. Amen Bro. Thx!

  3. WOW…….I felt like I was reading chapter one of the book. This blessed my life or should I say my soul. Great JOB!

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