The life of a Christian is often a busy one. There is work to be done. There is family to care for. There are friends to help and to enjoy. There is a need for rest and relaxation. No wonder Christian meditation, or deep thought and prayer about our relationship with God seems like a luxury, or the domain of isolated monks of a certain tradition.
Reformed theologian John Calvin, however, has stated:
But as man was undoubtedly created to meditate on the heavenly life, so it is certain that the knowledge of it was engraved on the soul. Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) 1989, Book I, Chapter 15, page 167.
We were created to think about the heavenly life, and to engage in relationship to God. This brings us to the mystery of the soul. What is the soul? A partial dictionary definition is "the immortal part of man having permanent individual existence (Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 1981)." It is surprising that something so important and difficult to define is so often and so casually talked about.
Christian meditation about the nature of the soul and heavenly life is therefore very worthwhile. We will soon realize that we have the antidote to fear. Jesus tells us: "and do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (Matthew 11:28, ESV)." Our souls, protected by faith, cannot be destroyed.
The soul is therefore a rather wonderful possession to have. Our souls are to be cherished and protected. They can be put to very good use, of course, for we are reminded of Deuteronomy 6:5: "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
How do we demonstrate the love of God? There are many ways, of course, but Thessalonians 5:16 is wonderfully succinct: "rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1Thessalonians 5:16-17)." Rejoice always! I like the sound of that. By now we sinners should be reeling with joy at the great privilege of being in possession of our souls and in the hope of glory.
Paul continues on to give us a final blessing:
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24).
Leon Morris states:
In the deepest sense our sanctification is the work of God in us; it may be ascribed to the Son (Ephesians 5:26) or to the Spirit (Romans 15:16), but in any case it is divine. The Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians by Leon Morris (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) 1984, page 111.
Lest we be concerned that the care of our souls is too great a responsibility for us, we may be assured that God is with us, helping us, working with us, sanctifying us in ways we do not comprehend all the way from the beginning to the end. Praise the Lord!
In faith and fellowship,
Patrick McKitrick more...