‘Peace, peace’ they say, when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14b.
In a disintegrating world where people come unglued and unload on innocent bystanders. Where legal systems and social order seem to be coming apart. Where division and polarization grow in everything from politics to religion giving fodder and fuel for reactive news reporting. With all the superficial panaceas being daily plied and applied before us, is it possible for the soul to know peace?
If peace simply means self feeling “happy contentment” or “no worries” the answer is probably “No.” BUT, if peace carries with it the deeper meaning of the Hebrew word shalom (peace – wholeness, integration of the whole person), the answer could possibly be “Yes,” – IF God is in it. Indeed, as Paul confidently wrote,The peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7. The soul, if it is whole and not disintegrated, can absolutely know peace as Jesus gives it.
Has anyone asked you lately, “How’s your soul?” Would you care to give an honest answer or settle for a superficial one? Are you one who cares for souls as part of your ministry? If so, who cares for your soul? Perhaps, if you were honest, you may be asking, “What is the soul anyway?”
Soul Care is one of the 4 primary focuses at MAST Mentorship. There are plenty of resources and books on the topic of Soul to be found, but let me recommend a fairly recent work by John Ortberg Soul Keeping: Caring For The Most Important Part of You (Zondervan, 2014). He also recently released a small group study series. For a sample click on https://youtu.be/FPLChf_FK-w. Ortberg writes of what he learned as a young pastor about the soul (his own) while being wonderfully mentored by Dallas Willard. Your soul is what integrates your will…your mind…and your body…into a single life. It is the deepest part of you, and it is the whole person, he writes, (but) our world has replaced the word soul for self, and they are not the same thing. The more we focus on our selves, the more we neglect our souls.
The LORD alone knows His design for us, how we are put together with all parts integrated. We are first and foremost a soul made in the image of God to be in relationship with God. Yet so often we separate and compartmentalize our heart, mind and body, treating certain parts as if not affected by the other. We become self-centered. Sin disintegrates, soul integrates, writes Ortberg. Dallas Willard once challenged him with these words, You are not just a self; you are a soul… a soul made by God, made for God, and made to need God, which means you were not made to be self-sufficient.
Peace can only come when our souls are at rest in Him. My soul finds rest in God alone, wrote David (Psalm 62:1). Care of souls must first begin with care of your own! Have you been giving time in the rhythm of your week to insure that yours is properly integrated? Is it well with your soul?