Recovery 5 of 5, Soul Maintenance

Recovery 5 of 5, Soul Maintenance

Poor Audio Track

I apologize for the poor audio track laid down in this video.  We are saving up money for a decent audio system and I trust you will not be too annoyed at the scratchy audio here.  Thank you very much for your patience with this.

Soul Maintenance, Baby

The last of five parts in our series is the engine behind the others.    Our journey together has led us along the pathway listed below.  May I recommend that you complete them in the order that they are offered?  This will ensure an harmonious flow

The Soul is comprised of our Will, our Mind and our Emotions.    Just like our physical muscles, our souls need to be maintained, strengthened and cared-for, otherwise we atrophy and weaken.   Let’s explore three areas of emphasis in this routine maintenance:

  • Repairing your connections with the Lord
  • Repairing your connections with Others
  • Repairing your connections with Self

Repairing connections with the Lord

Our study passage to address this vital link is found in Psalms 103:1-5

  • Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your [a]years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle

Let’s peal this passage back.  “Bless the Lord, O my soul”   Soul maintenance begins with our blessing the Most High God.  Stop now; and in the privacy of your own mind answer this. When is the last time you spoke a blessing upon the Most High God?   Stop now – this instant.  Calm your heart, close your eyes and speak a blessing to Him.  The verse continues “and all that is within me, bless His holy name”  Soul Maintenance toward the Lord means a whole heart; all of you.   We are instructed here to take our minds off the pot roast or the ball game waiting for you at home – to be whole-hearted for the Lord.  Now this is something we are not that good at – but the Lord promises to help us in this:

  • I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart – Jeremiah 24:7

You know what it feels like to grab your Bible with a half-heart – or to pray with a half-heart.  Is it any wonder you neglect routine reading?  The Lord wants us to come to Him with a whole heart.  But you and I are used to compromise and equivocation.  We live among half-truths and lies spoken as factual certainty – and this is bound to rub off on us.   To be competent in your soul maintenance – and if you wish to repair your connection with the Lord, then you must not be fractured and a borderline believer.   You must believe all the way – “and all that is within me.”  Our passage from Psalm 103 continues…

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits”  Now why would it say “forget none of His benefits?” unless you and I have trouble remembering?  The key to maintaining connection with the Lord is found in remembering.  How do I know this?  What was God’s major beef with the Children of Israel?

  • You neglected the Rock who begot you, and forgot the God who gave you birth – Deuteronomy 32:18

We are to remember His benefits. And just in case you forget what these might be… He lists them for us beginning with “Who pardons all your iniquities.”  This is very important to remember.  Iniquity is not simply the act of sin – it is the habit of sinning.  Even if you’ve a history of sin you’ve been trying to overcome (hence, and Addict like all of us – and all of us are in need of Recovery).   Through the Blood of the Lord Jesus, you are pardoned.  Note too, it says the word “all.”  What’s missing from the word “all”?  That’s right, nothing.  You want harmony in your life?  You want freedom from your addictions?  BLESS GOD FOR THIS SPECIFIC BENEFIT.  

“Who heals all your diseases.”  Now this might refer to literal sickness – but most certainly it refers to all DIS-EASE – those things we are ill at ease over.  Do you ever feel you’ve dropped off into a hole, into the pit of darkness and despair?  God heals that.  Not maybe.  Now He often does not act within our  timetable as He often waits until we begin in earnest to repair our relationship with Him.  But He will heal your dis-ease.  You want to walk the Jesus Path and away from your addictions. BLESS GOD FOR THIS SPECIFIC BENEFIT

Who redeems your life from the pit.”  The word redeem can be used in the sense of a ransom.  This is a picture of Christ – You got yourself into the pit with your indulgences – He pays the price to pull you out.  You might find yourself in a pit right now; today, right this moment.   Stop for just a moment.  Know then that He redeems your life from the pit, He reaches out into that inky darkness and extends His hand for you! Reach for it – grab it tightly – BLESS GOD FOR THIS SPECIFIC BENEFIT

“Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion” See that?.  Attending to your soul maintenance by repairing your connection with God will help you realize and accept that you are already wearing a two-blessed crown – His loving kindness and compassion.   However, without soul maintenance, you will come to overlook and turn blind to see these crowns;  when you are lazy in attending to relationship to God.   Loving kindness means tenderness and consideration.  Compassion means sympathy and pity for your sufferings and difficulties.  BLESS GOD FOR THIS SPECIFIC BENEFIT

“Who satisfies your years with good things”  Soul maintenance means correctly assessing what the “Good things” means in your life.  Good is not ungoverned indulgence; not doing what feels good.  Repairing connection with God will change and improve what you see as good – and will result in you becoming more accepting and content in your present circumstance.   BLESS GOD FOR THIS SPECIFIC BENEFIT

Now all of this has a purpose: “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle”   Who doesn’t want this?  You want to fly again – to soar over those bad habits, those obstacles, those addictive behaviors? Then you must begin by repairing your connections with the Lord.  Study this passage from Psalm 103

Repairing connections with Others

Let’s examine this aspect of Soul Maintenance.  Our passage is found in 2 Corinthians, chapter 5.  The first part speaks to our preparations to serve others (v14-15).  The second part offers our instructions about doing so (v16-17)

  • For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

The beginning point for effective soul maintenance in repairing your connections with others begins with the controlling power of the love of Christ.  Now notice the words that follow. “having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died”  So first we should ask “who has concluded this?”  The answer clearly is those under the control of Christ’s love.  If you have not accepted that you are in the control of the love of Christ – then quite simply, you are not.  Notice too that control can only come with death to self – this is the precursor to repairing our connections with others.  He died for all, so that – (so that why, why did He die?) – so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.  We must repair our connections with others and the only way to do this is to no longer live for yourself – but for Jesus.

Now to get at the meat of this part of our soul maintenance:

  •   Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

From now on – (from this point forward – from today, all who read this – from now on we WHAT?) Recognize no one according to the flesh.  We are instructed to quit seeing people without the aide of the spirit.  If there are people you are at odds with – or people you hate – you must knock it off.  You must remember they are deceived, just like you were.  Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer – He brings this in as a perfect example as to how we are to view each other.   Maintenance of your Soul includes repair of your connections with others – and our instruction here is to treat others as we know Christ – with faith, with belief, with patience, with honor.

  • “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves – Philippians 2:3

Once again to live from our addictive behaviors, to come to the place of Recovery, we must repair our connections with others.  The Word fine tunes that here and instructs us to regard the other person as more important – as someone to be served.  Christ came as a Servant – and so should we.   And now for the real power of this passage, verse 17

  •  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Now we use this verse to mean we are cleansed and recreated in Jesus – and this is most certainly true.  But let’s not neglect the context which is (1) not living for yourself and (2) recognizing no one according to the flesh.   You are new – you are not the same; you are a new creature with new sensors, new capacities, new understandings about those around you – and understanding that – when submitted to your WIll Power – promotes healing and connection with those about you.

Repairing connections with Self

You’ve heard me say this before – yet you go on without it.  All of us need

  • Intentional times for Bible Study
    • For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, – Hebrews 4:12
      • You need to Bible Study because the Word is alive and seeks to inform and strengthen you – can help you judge your own thoughts and intentions – revealing false thinking and turning you back to the Jesus Path
    • All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16
      • At times we all need some or all of these things.  Training means training. Do you want Recovery?  Have intentional times in personal Bible Study
  • Intentional times for Prayer
    • The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer – 1 Peter 4:7
      • What ever you got going on – it’s going to end.  Your indulgences, the selfish practices and habits – all done – gone.  
    • Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. – James 5:16
  • Intentional times to Gather Together
    • For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst Matthew 18:20
      • When you are spending time with other Believers, make no mistake where Christ is.
    • Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near  Hebrews 10:24-5
      • Purpose (1) love (2) good deeds and (3) encouragement.  Do you want Recovery?  Have intentional times in hanging out with others on the Jesus Path – join in when stuff is going on – make a priority of being part
  • Intentional times to Serve Others
    • And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased Hebrews 13:16
    • You were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another – Galatians 5:13
      • We have freedom – but don’t choose freedom to do your own thing and forget others about the needs of others.  Do you want Recovery?  Have intentional times when you do for other people besides yourself.

So there they are.  Do you have issues with addition?  Is there recurring sin; things you presume to do that are wrong, and you know it, but do it anyway? Or are wrong and you hate yourself for doing it – and wish you would never do it again?   Take a look at this picture.   Be honest; how are you at doing these four things?  Not one of them, or two (God bless you for those) – but all of them? We must work at keeping our souls

  • Intentional times for Bible Study
  • Intentional times for Prayer
  • Intentional times to Gather Together
  • Intentional times to Serve Others

Soul Maintenance means becoming serious about your relationship with God, with others and with tending your own soul.  We want to be set free – but we fail again and again

  • Repairing your connections with the Lord
  • Repairing your connections with Others
  • Repairing your connections with Self

Here then are five things we must intentionally address if we are to have victory over our addictions; if we are to see Recovery from those things which hinder us – the sin that so easily entangles us.

  • The four realms
  • How change happens
  • Moral inventory
  • True transparency
  • Soul maintenance

You are not alone.  I invite (I most humbly and circumspectly invite) you to contact me.  Recovery ministry is what the Jesus Path is all about.  Don’t get too busy that you neglect help and support. 

 

 

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