Psalm 42:5-8 NIV Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.
The Psalmist in the above verses questions his soul; his mind, will and emotions as to why he is so disturbed. What is causing his depression? The soul is driven by what a person thinks, feels and the exercise of his free will. When the soul is not at peace it becomes evident that we have moved our focus from God onto what is taking place in our lives; the turmoil of a challenge that has become bigger than our picture of God. The Psalmist says the key is to praise the Lord, putting our hope in Him and trusting Him through remembering that He directs us through His love and gives us a song in the night hours. When we praise the Lord we magnify Him over the problems that we are experiencing. Anything that you magnify grows bigger as you view it and think about it. So when we magnify the Lord we are exalting Him as being the supreme One who reigns over our problems.
The things that rage in our souls may try to make us feel that God’s love has departed from us, but that is a lie from the enemy. God’s word says that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love for us. (Romans 8:38, 39) The psalmist says, “therefore I will remember you”. Remembering the Lord and how He has helped you in times past becomes a faith-builder for the future. It is always good to go back and rehearse again the miracles that God has brought into your life. Remember the times He has watched over you and protected you; how He has provided for your every need and how He has comforted you in sorrowful times. Maybe there is a particular miracle that comes to your mind as you reflect on the goodness of the Lord that you can think about that will help you to re-focus on how great He is.
As a born again believer my spirit has been re-born; I am a new creation in Christ Jesus, but my soul is being changed day by day as I renew my mind to the word of God and say “no” to the flesh when it wants to rule over my spirit. My soul wants to control me based on what I feel, think and desire, but my spirit, which belongs to God and is filled with His Spirit, wants to lead me to walk in the ways of the Lord, the higher way.
Most of the problems that we experience in our earthly life arise from our souls, which the apostle Paul calls the “flesh”, which he says “lusts against the Spirit“. (Galatians 5:16) He admonishes us to “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:14) That means a conscious turning to the Holy Spirit who lives within us when the desire comes from the soul to take control of whatever situation you are facing. It becomes a re-training of the soul and is done through yielding to the Lord and presenting our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice and then renewing the mind to think like God thinks and not like man.
Romans 12:1, 2 NIV Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This takes a conscious effort to watch for those times that we might be tempted to step out of “walking in the Spirit” to “walking in the flesh”. Sometimes it slips up on us because we are so used to living by how we think and feel. Those decisions that are made from the “flesh” are sensual and earthly, governed by what we want to do that is based on how we feel rather than walking by faith, which is depending on God and following His Spirit in walking according to His word. Two different modes of conduct, both wanting to rule over man’s body which always follows through with action. Where the mind goes, the man follows.
Father, I thank You for giving me the ability to choose which way I will walk, according to my soul, my mind, will and emotions, or according to Your Spirit, the walk of faith. Father, today I make a conscious choice to walk according to Your Spirit. I will say to my soul, “be still, my soul”, and I will listen for the still, small voice within, the voice of Your Spirit, to lead me in the right way, the way of faith. I pray for those who may be struggling with issues that arise from their emotions, or their way of thinking, Father, or who may be having difficulty choosing to walk in the way that You are directing. I pray that they, too, will be able to still that inner desire to control their own destiny instead of relying on Your Spirit within to lead them down the path that You have chosen for them. Your ways are perfect and right, Father, and in order for us to experience the abundant life that Your Son, Jesus, died to give us, we must yield to Your Spirit to lead us and guide us in the way that we should walk. Thank You, for giving us the freedom to choose. I pray that those who haven’t begun their walk with You will choose You and will ask You into their hearts today to be their own personal Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.