Yesterday, we started thinking about the soul. We looked at how we are souls with bodies. The soul is the eternal part of us. The soul is what will be saved. We will get new bodies, but not new souls. It’s that part of you that makes you who you are, but it’s also that part of you that’s connected to and in between everything you feel, think, believe and do.
The soul cannot be separated from the rest of who we are, because it is who we are. At the same time, there is more to us than our soul, but it’s all intertwined.
But, the goal of the overflow podcast is not to merely disseminate more information. Information is important for the foundation, but my goal is to actually help you apply what you know to our lives as a community of Christ.
So then, how do we love God with all our soul. Well, I have some practical thoughts I will be sharing with you over the next several days. They aren’t in any particular order, except that I’m starting with the one that is perhaps the most tangible.
I cannot prove this, but I have come to believe that our attitude is an expression of our soul. Of course it has to do with our hearts and minds as well. But, all of those emotions of the heart and thoughts and beliefs of the mind get mixed together in our soul. And they come out as attitude.
Proverbs 17:22 says: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
While the Bible makes distinction between soul and spirit, there is a lot of overlap between the two ideas. They are not necessarily the same thing, but there is a lot of connection.
Philippians 2:14-15 says: “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”
The Love of God is meant to affect and change every aspect of who we are. God does not desire to simply change one piece, but wants total transformation. This includes our attitude.
I’ve always said that worship is an attitude and we choose our attitudes. It’s true. Both parts. Especially that second part.
We don’t like to believe that it’s true, but it is. In every situation we choose our attitude. Many of us rarely do this. Why? Because we’re simply operating how our corrupted state worked. Sin corrupted God’s code in us. Because of that we tend to react to situations with wrong attitudes without pausing to evaluate and consider how we should best respond.
We just react without thinking. We just respond without thinking. We also suffer from a victim mentality, where we think that our attitudes are dependent on our surroundings and circumstances. If everything around us is going the way we want, we have good attitudes. If things around us are falling apart, our attitude goes with it.
Instead of allowing our identity in Christ to determine and define our attitude in any and every situation, we allow any and every situation to define our attitudes and ultimately allow it to affect our identity.
Loving God with all our souls will and must have a great impact on our attitudes.
What should our attitude be? There’s actually a very clear scripture for that. Paul, in Philippians, makes an explicit statement about attitude, especially as it pertains to relationships. Relationships tend to be the biggest source of a bad attitude. And Paul actually gives us the silver bullet.
Phil. 2:5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,[a] he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b]; he took the humble position of a slave[c] and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,[d] he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
When you read that, what comes to mind about Christ? Think about it: He was God. But he didn’t use his ‘Godness” to manipulate his surroundings and situations to his own advantage and for his own benefit and ease. He could have, he certainly had the power to do so, because He was God. Instead, he gave up the privileges that were rightfully his (he gave up his rights) and took the humble position of a slave.
Even though He was Lord of all creation, he became one of His creations. He didn’t enter into creation in a way that drew attention, laud and honor to himself, but in the most humble way.
Even though He is God and we are the ones who are supposed to be obedient to Him, He actually became obedient to death, to our death. Even though His name is life, he was obedient to death. Even though he was God, who always was and always will be, he became obedient to death, an end.
Why did Jesus have this attitude towards his ministry and mission on earth? Because it was determined by who He was and what He was sent to accomplish. He didn’t even have a bad attitude while hanging on the cross. Why? Because He knew who He was, and He knew why He was sent to earth.
How about us? Do we know who we are? Do we know why we’re here?
You are a child of God. Your eternal Father is in Heaven. He has brought you into His family and saved you a seat at the table. You are royalty. Your Father is also a King and that makes you a prince or a princess. And He loves you. Man, does He love you. Do you even know how much God loves you? You are loved. That is your identity. That’s who you are, you are loved. With a real, everlasting love that cannot be rivaled in our existence.
You are here because God has a plan for your life. You aren’t an accident. You are not a mistake. God doesn’t make mistakes. You have been fashioned and formed by God. And He had something in mind when He created you. Become Love. Become the love the Father has filled your heart to overflowing with. Become true, real, eternal love. Not just for your own attitude and feelings though. Become love so that those around you might be able to taste and experience the love of the Father through your life. Become love so that those imprisoned by the facade of love this world offers can be set free into God’s true love. Become God’s persistent love, walking alongside people as they learn to become God’s love. We call it making disciples.
If we can come to know with our minds and believe in our hearts that these things are already determined, it will affect our attitudes and we will learn to love God with all our Souls. And instead of being tossed back and forth by everything that comes our way, we will stand in the midst of it all, with our attitudes determined in advance and shine like the stars in the heavens because it is God shining through us.