So, during the past month, I have begun a new practice. I've begun listening to audiobooks and faith related podcasts during my evening or nightly walks. This week, I was listening to a podcast related to biblical/spiritual counseling...and the speaker said something that made me go, "whoa, wait!" Then, I went, "Ah hah!" Some spiritual truths clicked for me...and I hope that if my writing is clear -- that it may be an "ah hah!" for some of you, too.
Most people, especially spiritual people, recognize that we have a body and a soul. But actually, the counselor on the podcast reminded me that we are three part beings. We are body, soul, and spirit. Many people just assume that the soul and the spirit are the same thing. But if you look at scripture....the soul and the spirit are two different things. From a spiritual perspective, we have "three dimensions" to our being: body, soul, and spirit.
The body of course, is our physical apparatus. This is the part that we physically take care of and the fields of health, wellness, beauty, and medicine give us advice and treatments for.
The soul is that part of us that makes up our thinking, our emotions, and what we would call our personality. The soul is the dimension in which psychological therapy, counseling therapy, or life-coaching supports us on -- helping us to become more aware of our thinking and emotions and how our invisible "soul" dimensions of thought and emotions affect our decisions, actions, and behaviors.
Finally, the spirit is the deepest part of our inner being. The spirit is the dimension within us that is able to experience the spiritual. It is the part of us that is able to "know" and to "be in touch" with God. I may write more on the spirit in another post. For this post, I will focus on the soul.
Below are a few verses about the soul. Remember, as you read these verses, that the soul is the part of our being that consists of our thoughts, our emotions, and our unique personality.
"If from there you seek the Lord, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." - Deut. 4:29 (So we will find him if we seek him with our heart and soul - our emotions and our thinking.)
"Why my soul, are you so downcast?" - Psalm 42:11 (Notice it is the soul that is downcast. Our thoughts and emotions are what bring us down. This is why it is so important to keep our thoughts and emotions - our soul - grounded by tethering our spirit to the spirit of the Lord. We do this through learning about the true character of the Lord and his promises).
"Truly my soul finds rest in the Lord." - Psalm 62:1 (Meaning our thoughts and emotions are rested in knowing the Lord, his promises, and his character and ways.)
"Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell." - Matthew 10:28 (Those were the words of Jesus, clearly indicating that our soul -- our thoughts, emotions, and unique personality -- are not killed nor do not die when the body dies its earthly death.)
And Jesus also asked this ominous question -- "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" - Matthew 16:26 Here, Jesus clearly warns not to just focus on securing physical health, beauty, and worldly things -- but to consider this question fully -- am I potentially forfeiting my soul?
Jesus clearly taught and demonstrated that our souls go on after death. This means that our thoughts, emotions, and unique personality will continue. In other words, according to Jesus, the popular new age teachings of today are not true. We will not just "melt into the energy of the universe" as a non-unique entity. We will not dissolve into some sort of unspecific consciousness among the totality of consiousness.
Jesus taught one thing about the eternity and the resting place for the soul. And you may choose to believe something else. But please do not fall for the lie that all spiritual teachings are essentially the same no matter the source. Jesus taught us that our soul -- our unique thoughts, emotions, and personality -- will continue. But it gets even better....
Even better -- Jesus didn't just tell us that our souls would go on. He showed us! He made hundreds of post-resurrection appearances -- and in those appearances - his body was different than it had been before -- it was not the same type of body he had been in before death -- because Mary and many of his disciples did not recognize him until he began to speak. They did not recognize him by his body nor by some sort of "energy" -- they recognized him because of his unique soul -- his voice! His ideas! His thoughts! His laugh! His compassion! His personality! All that encompassed His soul!
Do you know for sure where your soul will be when your body dies and your soul separates from it?
Do you believe that your soul will just dissolve into dust along with your body with nothing more at all? What did Jesus say about that? He said, no, not correct. And furthermore, he showed us that - no, that is not correct.
Do you believe that you will somehow become an nonspecific, non-unique energy field melded back into the universe? What did Jesus say about that? He said no, not correct. Then he went further and showed us that - no, that is not correct.
Jesus taught that the soul lives on. Your individual uniqueness can live on and continue to have purpose in the unseen realm, in heaven. And again, Jesus didn't just teach this -- he demonstrated it. He went above and beyond to give us a glimpse into the truth. He didn't just say "let me tell you" -- he went further to say "let me show you."
And finally, what did Jesus say about how we can know if our souls will live eternally with him in heaven? What is the test for each soul? The test of the soul is a test of belief. If we are authentically able to believe that Jesus is the son of God, and if we authentically believe that he rose from the dead and demonstrated this through the post-resurrection appearances, then we know that we are saved.
This is where so many people get hung up. They don't understand why believing a certain way would have eternal consequences one way or another. I admit -- it doesn't make sense on the surface. But God's ways are spiritual ways -- and they don't always make sense on the surface. However, consider what follows:
It does make sense that since our soul consists of our emotions and beliefs and personality -- that the test of our souls would also be based on one of those same aspects of ourselves, right? And in this case, the test for each soul is the belief of that soul. This is why, as confusing at it seems -- our physical works do not do anything to earn our right to be with Jesus in eternity. Our physical bodies as they are now don't go to be with Jesus -- only our soul goes. And our soul consists of our beliefs. So therefore, our souls are saved by Jesus, based on our belief in what he has done and taught to us.
This was kind of a spiritual "ah-hah" moment for me.
The truth of salvation doesn't make sense based on a physical/materialistic worldview. It can only be discerned from a spiritual, soul point of view.
So, what do you think will happen to your soul when you die; and what philosophy or teaching do you base that belief on?
"If you declare with your mouth that "Jesus is Lord"; and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." - Romans 10:9
With a complete amazement of His grace,
If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today
If you want to learn more deeply and fully about what Jesus taught, then you would enjoy He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ.
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Author's other books can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Elaine-Evans