My Soul Is Me

GodReflection: Is It Well with My Soul?
“Who can plumb its depths? And yet it is a faculty of my soul. Although it is part of my nature, I cannot understand all that I am.”  ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

gary-portraitThe Book of Genesis opens with a song. In this Song of Creation sung in Genesis chapter one is the overview of the beginnings of the heavens, our earth and its inhabitants.

With Genesis chapter two Moses introduces in greater detail humankind and their new home. From the first both man and woman were designed by God to live eternally.

The more literal word for word translations describe our origin in these words:

And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

me6I like the way the Amplified Bible translates God’s act:

Then the Lord God formed [that is, created the body of] man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being [an individual complete in body and spirit].

I must declare with Augustine, I cannot understand all that I am.

Here is what I think.

I don’t know to what extent I had spirit or soul while I resided in my mother’s womb. I have a tendency to think that it was after the journey through the birth canal when Dr. Pate whacked me on the back (or was it the bottom) that I took in the breath of life, cried me7out and became a living soul.

Although my DNA was God-wired over nine months there is a sense my soul and body started its experiential and formational trek called life from the moment of that first breath when I wailed in protest to all within earshot. My guess is that is when I started to be me.

My soul was in place. It was the me who God desired for eternal companionship. My soul was the me who held the power to forfeit itself (Mark 8:36) or the power to invite Jesus to move in and prepare it for eternity with the Holy. My soul was and is my essence.

me10The best I can tell my God assignment is to use my soul as a compass to navigate life. I am to submit to Father, Son and Spirit to make my soul a worthy home for their company.

From that home comes whatever motivation and resources I might have to serve those the Holy draws into my path. My soul is the me God uses to minister to those within the sphere of my world.

Is there a chance we would take better care of our soul if we saw it as our very essence—both present and eternal—rather than a nondescript “something” that resides in our body?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: My Soul is Me

Is It Well with My Soul?

GodReflection: Is It Well with My Soul?
gary-portraitI had not the foggiest notion of what I was getting into when I enrolled in Professor Lemoine Lewis’ class History of The Christian Church. I wasn’t aware of a heritage larger than the local church where I grew up. Other than the Acts of the Apostles found in my Bible, I’m not sure I realized the church even had a history.

As with all teachers Dr. Lewis had his own mannerisms. That first day like every day that soul2followed he walked into the college classroom with a stack of books as high as the length of his arms. Dangling by two or three fingers hung his worn leather bookbag used at Harvard. It was the place for what few lecture notes he used, the classroom role book and any papers for the day.

At each class session he lectured for the entire hour and twenty minutes at an animated speed so rapid that a broken pencil led or a slow turn of the spiral binder would demand extra effort to catch up. He taught the story of church history like it was an action novel.

On the first page of my College Ruled Spiral I found among Dr. Lewis’ expectations for the course: Read Augustine’s Confessions and Augustine’s City of God. Three lines later Augustine of Hippo first appeared in my notes as I attempted to transcribe my old professor’s account of the fourth century saint’s influence on the church over the centuries to follow.

Occupied with cramming for examines and to cross the finish line with a minimal grade, then with life, I’ve failed to get around to reading Augustine until last month (only fifty-years later).

Augustine was born in what we know today as Algeria on November 13, 354 to a baptized Christian mother and a father who followed the custom of the time to wait until just prior to death to receive baptism. It was thought that the longer one waited the greater the quantity of sins that would be washed away.

soul11The first nine books (chapters) of Augustine’s Confessions read like a secret journal-diary addressed to God. Written around the year 400 Confessions seems to be his attempt to understand his own soul as it related to the Creator.

Among his many observations that caught my attention was this one addressed to his Holy Maker:

“My soul is like a house, small for you to enter, but I pray you to enlarge it. It is in ruins, but I ask you to remake it. It contains much that you will not be pleased to see: this I know and do not hide. But who is to rid it of these things? There is no one but you”

Over the next several posts I envision a march around the soul. I want to look at it, examine it and inspect it. Jesus called it eternal. Sounds important. What is it? How can I feed it? Is it conflicted? Do I give it sufficient attention?

Once again, I recall the quote attributed to the author Flannery O’Connor which seems to describe my point of departure: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

So, over the next few soul7weeks I want to see what I think about my soul. I invite you to read over my shoulder. Feel free to challenge me with your own insights.

Just maybe we can grow together as we attempt to understand our soul and how to care for this eternal treasure entrusted to each one of us by our Heavenly Father.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Is It Well with My Soul?

My Identity Transcends Resurrection

GodReflection: Power Words

garyguarujaI don’t recall God precisely speaking to this in Scripture.

Maybe it is so obvious there is no need.

It could be every page in my Bible speaks it between the lines.

I’ve known it all along but have never attempted to express it.

Perhaps with age the contrast increases.

identity12I am me.

I am who I was as a child. I am soul.

Sure, as a kid I was a more immature version. Yes, through the years I acquired maturity and a certain set of skills. However, I feel great continuity to the “me” on the playground of Hillcrest Elementary School.

identity3I think what bothers me with age is the attempt to correlate my eternal soul—that feels as young as “me” did when I played childhood tag with a heart that has matured, a body in massive decline, and a mind that has lost some of its quickness.

Here is what I think.

My body will continue its decline as I increase in years. As a body part, the brain that allows my mind to function while on earth will likewise decline with age. Both body and brain became terminal with the Eden exit.

identity1My soul will not grow old. It will pass intact from this life to the next. I will continue to be who I am.

What will change is my heart. I suppose my heart started its transformation when the Holy Spirit entered in.  I wish my heart-growth could be further along. However, it is what it is. I suspect that is my fault rather than the fault of the Spirit.

My expectation is to see additional heart/spirit progress. A limitation of life and my Eden heart means my God-turned heart will not reach its greatest potential this side of the grave.

identity15Here is how I see it. Both body and mind will decline with age. My heart (spirit) will increase in its capacity to beat more like the heart of Jesus. And, I will still be the me I have known all of my life.

Now, finally the best news:

identity19After the resurrection, my heart will reach its full capacity to beat in precise rhythm with Jesus’ heart—and my mind and body will be sharp and eternal. And—I will still be me.

All of that combined makes identity a personal word of power to guide my walk.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on the Power Word Identity.

I’m Soul

GodReflection: Power Words

garyguarujaCompared to time spent on body maintenance I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my soul.

I spend huge amounts of time housing my body, transporting it, keeping it warm, groomed, rested, clothed, well, and fed.  My body needs maintenance and other than exercise, I use a large portion of each day taking care of it.

soul7We tend to think of the soul as invisible. It is not. It is the real me. My thoughts and my speech originate in my soul. The breath of God breathed it into me and I became a living soul. More important for me, my soul is the place where the Holy Spirit of God abides.

Jesus counseled not to fear a person who might harm my life because no one can touch my soul. It is only in danger if I hand it over to Satan.

I stood by the bed of a son and my dad at the exact moment their souls departed. In both cases, it was a struggle to escape bodies diseased by Satan’s garden deception. After the exit of the spirit, a holy calm lay over the bodies. Each body had served its purpose while the soul lives on.

My body is not the real me. It is only my temporary dwelling. The real me is my eternal soul.

On one occasion Jesus told His disciples, he ate bread they knew nothing about. They were confused. Did Jesus have a stash of bagels under the boat seat? Another time Jesus told a woman, He had living water that cured thrust. His water provides eternal hydration.

Jesus provides soul food.

soul2Question—do I spend sufficient time with Jesus to care for my soul or do I spend more days than I should focused only on the needs of my body? It is a strange economy of time to care for the temporal and neglect the eternal.

Daily my soul needs the spinach of God’s Word. I must consume the protein that comes from meditating on God’s Grace. I want to refresh my soul from the milk of Jesus love. I readily take in deep breaths of eternal hope. My chocolate dessert is time spent in prayer. Being attentive to the needs of others builds the spirit of goodness in my soul.

My soul must look constantly into the mirror of Jesus to take on the reflection of His image.

soul5God’s desire is for my soul to live clothed within a new heavenly body. He wants you there too. Let’s arrive with a healthy soul.

Each day when I awake I want to remember that Jesus came to save my soul—the real me. To remember I am soul is a powerful word to orient my daily walk.

What do you do to tune your soul?

Stay Tuned.

Dr. Gary J Sorrells – A GodReflection on Soul as a Power Word.