How many times have I sung that wonderful hymn, It is Well with My Soul? Dozens? Hundreds? And to know the story behind adds even more meaning and depth to it. (Check out the story here.)
Many of those times I sang because I knew that it was true mentally but I was not “feeling” it. I was following the advice of one of my favorite motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, “You can never feel you way into acting but you can act your way into feeling.”
So, by faith I just sang it and most of the time the feelings did follow and it was well with my soul. My soul. My mind, my will, my emotions were all rightly aligned with God and there was peace and even joy.
Other times I sang and life was going great. All the ducks I wanted/owned/loved were in a row. My soul was at peace because my circumstances were right.
However, lately, through the amazing work of the Never Changing God Who is ever changing me (thank you, Jennifer K. Dean), I can sing that song with truth and clarity despite my circumstances and not in a “fake it until you make it mode.” But, deeply knowing that all is well with my soul not because of “good” circumstances or despite “bad” circumstances. It is well because God is on the throne and He calls me His own.
Are there people close to me that are not walking in the abundancy Christ died on the cross to give them? Yes, they are but it is still well with my soul.
Is my dad struggling after the loss of his wife of almost 30 years? Yes, he is but it is still well with my soul.
Is my schedule still full and sometimes overwhelming? Yes, it is but it is still well with my soul.
Is God continuing to reveal to me my deep need for a Savior? Yes, He is but it is still well with my soul.
Am I still walking in singleness? Yes, I am but it is still well with my soul.
What about you? Do your circumstances control your soul? Does bad stuff cause you to make poor choices in your thought life, your eating, your relationships, etc.? Do challenges cause you to worry and fret and not trust? How are things with your soul?
As I have asked before, do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?
For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:
So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)
We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness, wickedness, humble, receive, implant and save. Today we will look at the last concept of souls.
In my last blog, I referenced the fact that our soul is made up of three parts…mind, will and emotions. The process of transforming our soul to be more like Christ is called sanctification. As new believers in Christ – as one who has accepted the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, I believe my spirit is saved and I am going to heaven no matter what I do between that day and my death. (Side note: however, if I continue to live an ungodly life and do not change from year to year to be more like Christ and do not suffer from conviction of the Holy Spirit, I would question whether I have been truly justified in Christ.)
However, if my soul is not being sanctified, I will live a miserable life with much conviction, discontentment and no peace. I will do what I don’t want to do and not do the things that I want to do. Christine Caine talks about Christ followers having tormented minds, broken hearts (I refer to this as will) and wounded souls (I refer to this as emotions.)
Because we live in a fallen world, our minds are tormented by lies, our wills are broken because of disappointments and our emotions are a mess because of unforgiveness. So the sanctification process works by replacing the lies with Truth, the disappointments with reliance on Christ and the unforgiveness with forgiveness. As I go through life and I respond inappropriately to a situation (i.e. get flustered while waiting in line, get angry when corrected, get depressed when plans are cancelled), I need to look deeply within me to see if that has been caused because of lies I am believing, false expectations I have set up or forgiveness that I have withheld.
A quick example is when I get flustered while waiting in line at the grocery store. This usually comes about because I am having several thoughts that are lies:
- My time is valuable. (Lie: I am more important than others.)
- That cashier is bad. (Lie: I do not ever need grace extended to me.)
- I am the boss. (Lie: If they did things my way, they would be faster.)
To change from being flustered to being at peace and even grace filled all I need to do is replace those lies with Truth. The Truth is that I am to think more highly of others than myself because I have needed and been given much grace. Another Truth is that I have not been called to be the manager of this store and aren’t I glad? In a moment, I am back to living the fulfilled life that I so desire.
How about you? How are you doing with lies, false expectations or unforgiveness? Please be in touch if there is any way I can help you live a more fulfilling life!