I spend almost half of my year in Arizona. Yes, it’s a dry heat. It doesn’t take long to realize that I need water all day long. I don’t sit down and drink 8 glasses of water and say, “OK, done for the day.” No, I drink continuously throughout the day. My body needs it; I crave it. That’s the way the soul operates. There’s a deep and hidden place in a person called the soul that gets thirsty and hungry for God.
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. (Psalms 63:1 NLT)
Just what is the soul? We have to go to the Hebrew language to define this mysterious word: nephesh. It begins with our breath of life but continues to include our heart, our desires, and even our mind. It is our total existence that is driven by our will. We know David understood the concept of the soul because he wrote that Psalm from the desert.
When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek for the Church, the word was translated psukee. This word also includes our will, emotions, personality, and our mind therefore our soul drives our behavior and attitudes. Can you see where I’m going? When the soul is not renewed every day our motivations can lead to impure behavior. Our attitudes take a fall and we don’t know why we’re depressed, hopeless, fearful… we haven’t taken care of our life, our soul.
When we spend time with God, seeking Him, we nourish our soul. The thirst is quenched and the hunger is satisfied. I can’t see it; I can’t explain it, but I do experience it. My entire person, my core, is filled: it only takes time and will.
Paul, being a Jewish religious leader, also understood the soul. The Greek language uses several words interchangeably but the heart of the words is nephesh: our life in God. He encourages us to renew our mind (part of the soul) and to have the mind (soul) of Christ. Paul desires believers to understand God through Christ, to think the way He thinks, have His attitudes, and opinions. How often does my mind lead me in the wrong direction, even into sin, because I haven’t spent that quality time with Him.
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:9 ESV)
I am praying for you, dear Reader, to respond to His calling. May your will drive you to know God better; to seek Him with your nephesh, all of your heart, your soul, and your might: your whole self. May you have the attitude of the bride in the Song of Solomon, continuously seeking the face of the One ‘whom my soul loves,’ and also of Mary who declared:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (Luke 1:46, 47 ESV)