Control Your Soul

Within all of us is a battleground where war brews or rages between evil and good desires. Our soul was pinpointed by Christ as such a battleground and much of His teaching lovingly and urgently admonishes us to take continued decisive action in this matter.
Control Your Soul
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2016 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

It is a battle that some do not even know they are in, while for others it is almost a constant source of consternation. Many are tantalized and dependent upon things of this life yet, for a few, something within them witnesses there is more, better, and something greater than the material realm. Basic living is often about things and personal desires, however there is something greater than basic living.

In earlier messages I mentioned two words from the ancient New Testament (NT) text that are rendered life, viz., bios and zoe. Briefly, bios might be described as basic earthly life,

while zoe speaks of life with zest and purpose, and is the word for life in the term “Eternal Life." However, the passage of Holy Scripture we are about to look at the word life is “psuche” (psoo-khay’) {1}. Depending upon the context, psuche is elsewhere translated as soul.

Usage by the Holy Spirit of this word brings us to a deeper realm than what bios entails. It brings us to the inner man of a person. It is more internal than external and involves not only the needs but also the desires one might have. Like bios, psuche when meaning life is not bad in itself. What is bad is when one, for any reason, places their focus upon it and not upon the need we have to please God. We need to control our soul as the Lord indicated in Matthew 6:25-34.

I. Let Go Of The Earthly -  

Matthew 6:25-32, 34, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28  And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31  Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” 
Verse 34: “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

A number of times in His teaching ministry Christ focused upon the great contrast between earthly things and heavenly things. Just before our text He stated in verses 19 to 21 (NASB), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

In verse 11, part of what many call “The Lord’s Prayer,” we are instructed to pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” The focus there is upon the present need, and I do mean “need,” not unnecessary desires. We must carefully discern between needs and wants. Too often people do not make that distinction and over a course of time wants seem to be needs.

Some then accumulate more wealth than what they really need. When the “wants” become “must haves” then one’s wealth, whether it be monetary, material, or both, has too much pull upon them. One begins to be more concerned about their wealth than the kingdom of God. In Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 we read, “You cannot serve God and mammon."

The admonition to not worry basically occurs five times in verses 25 to 34. “Worry” / “do not worry” will occur in various ways in different versions as “take no thought,” “taking thought,” “do not worry,” “worrying,”  “do not be anxious,” “being anxious,”  etc. Worry is akin to fear which is the opposite of faith. 

When Christ asks in verse 25, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing,” in using  “psuche” which is elsewhere translated as “soul” He brings us a step above “bios,” basic everyday life, to the realization we are spiritual creatures. He signals to us our spiritual welfare is more important than our physical welfare.

Christ touches upon food again in verse 26 pointing to the fact the Father provides for the birds. The beauty of flowers is used in verses 28 to 30 in relation to our clothing. In the midst is verse 27 where Christ states that no matter how much we worry our worrying will not extend the length of our life.

At this point I feel, considering additional Holy Scripture, I need to bring out two points. The first is that though we are not to worry, we should use prudence and the wisdom of God to plan ahead for our need. Good stewardship is part of the true Christian walk.

Secondly, while physical food and clothing can be, and often is, provided by God we must keep in mind the context which should bring our mind into the realm of the spiritual and bring us to the point where we soundly realize that spiritual food and clothing is also in focus. After all, consider those suffering for Christ! Their enemies starve them and deprive them of necessities. However, as they persevere in Christ they gain spiritual food and clothing now and for eternity.

And, indeed, the spiritual aspect is the main one to focus upon. Any of us can lose our health and material goods, but we must not lose out on God. We must cling to Him no matter what. We are not of this earth {2}, but citizens of heaven if we are truly Christ’s disciples.

Verses 31 to 32 bring out that contrast when Christ tells His disciples not to be like the Gentiles. This should underscore in our mind that we should not be like the world. We are to be people of faith not of worry, not of fear. Additionally, where it reads “the Gentiles do seek,” “seek” can carry the idea of clamoring.  The truly redeemed have no need to clamor, but earnestly and consistently ask (Matthew 7:7).

Finally, in verse


34, we are admonished to deal with just the present day. One reason is that if we worry about the future we can easily lose sight of the present along with God’s directions for the present. Failing to handle present trouble the way God wants us to handle it does not prepare us for the future. We need to hear from God and follow through.

II. Go After The Eternal -

Matthew 6:33 (NASB)

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Are not God’s Kingdom and His righteousness much better than earthly things, even those things that meet our basic needs? Seek is a command in the present active tense and in this verse it is noted as a priority. Our entire being should desire the things of God first.

God’s Kingdom is mentioned first before “His righteousness.” That is, in part, because one must make God King in their life in order that His righteousness might freely be activated in their life. And God should be made King in our life not just for the need to escape hell, but also to escape self and sin.

When God is King in our life then we are part of His Kingdom. It behooves us to remain in that realm of spiritual dominion. Those that say we do not need a king do not realize that they are also in a kingdom, a kingdom of darkness ruled by the devil.

If we are in God’s Kingdom then God should be ruling us and not our sinful nature, other people, impulses, family members, the world system, and many more things. We learn what God wants us to do from His written Word and His Word spoken to our heart. When we let God rule us through Christ we have His peace despite adverse circumstances.

Immediately when one makes God their King through Christ they are declared righteous in the eyes of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yet, we are commanded in this verse to seek His righteousness. That is because we must spiritually grow and we can do so by the life of Christ within and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Righteousness here means the “state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.” James Strong then adds, “integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting,” which, of course, would be pleasing to God.

Righteousness before God through Christ places one in the position whereby fellowship between God and them is established. That was something that was lost when Adam transgressed and this loss is passed on to his descendants. God tries to reestablish that fellowship, but most people shrug off His voice, doing so in various ways.

As you see, there is a promise of blessing if we consistently seek His Kingdom and His righteousness: “. . . all these things shall be added unto you.” Those that promote “the prosperity gospel” really enjoy that part of the verse. In so doing they ignore the point that Christ is pointing us to non-material eternal values, and that there are millions of true Christians that are not physically well fed and are not well clothed.

Every time I hear someone promote the prosperity gospel I must think of true Christians in very poor countries along with those that are persecuted. Each night I have a great place to sleep, but I am no more righteous than my brother or sister in Christ that sleeps on the ground or at a dump. More likely they are more rich than I am in their spiritual composition.

Whether or not we have material blessings we must be deeply rooted in the love of God through Christ our Lord. We must remain there, despite what our soul says. We need to discriminate between our needs and desires. We need to shake off the call of materialism. We must embrace inconvenience if it means we must choose Christ instead of the ways of the world.

We need to control our soul and align it with the soul of God, thinking like God, feeling like God, loving what God loves and hating what God hates. We need to develop a loyal love for God for what He has done for us through Christ. Either we control our soul or it will control us. We can control it through Christ within if He does indeed dwell within. If He does not, we must forsake self and sin and invite Him within us.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{2} Please read, Not Of This Earth, located at http://holybibletreasures.expertscolumn.com/article/not-earth .

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by February 28, 2016 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M391 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 22-07-2016 89 1

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    God does not expect works on the part of human beings but calls them to faith. Be rid of all that hampers you, of all that prevents you from seeing and believe. Believe that it is he, and he alone who is able to save you.
    reply 0
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