We are told to love the Lord with all our hearts, all our soul, and all our mind. How do you love with your soul? Why is Biblical soul care so important? How do you know you are actually refreshing your soul? Today we will tackle all of this and more.
What is Biblical Soul Care?
One thing we can agree on at the beginning is that everyone has a soul. It’s actually kind of funny that we can agree about that but then have so many opinions about what happens to that soul after this life. In fact, when we talk about our soul it can feel either kind of crazy or hyper-spiritual, but that’s just because we don’t have a common language.
To understand Biblical soul care we need to all know what a soul is. So we’ll start there.
Bible Meaning of Soul and Spirit
“And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NASB)
To find the meaning of soul Biblically we have to look at the original language. In the original language of Matthew 22:37, the word used for the soul is Psyche which means:
- The seat of the feelings, desires, affections, and aversions.
This is the same word used in Genesis.
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living person.” (Genisis 2:7 NASB)
What we see here is that the soul is a part of each human life, given by God. Your soul expresses the deepest parts of who you are, what you want, and what you truly love.
Loving God with my soul is about giving up myself (the desires I want to express) in order to express the things of God. That is a huge part of Biblical soul care!
What Does The Bible Say About Taking Care of Your Soul?
- It seeks God desperately. Deuteronomy 4:29; Psalm 63:1
- The soul knows the things of God. Joshua 23:14; Psalm 139:14
- It needs to be restored. Psalm 23:3; Psalm 19:17
- Praise encourages the soul. Psalm 42:11; Psalm 71:23
- The soul waits for God. Psalm 62:1; Psalm 3:2
- The Soul blesses God. Psalm 103:1 So we see that it expresses things (good or bad).
- Waiting and God’s word helps the soul. Psalm 130:5
- Gracious words encourage the soul. Proverbs 16:24
- God has authority over the soul. Ecclesiastes 12:7; Ezekiel 18:14; Matthew 10:28
- It sins. Ezekiel 18:20
- Walking the good path helps the sold. Jeremiah 6:16
- Your soul can rest. Matthew 11:29
- We can lose our soul when pursuing the world. Mark 8:36
- It can be healthy even when our body is wasting away. 2 Corinthians 4:16
Your Soul Came From God
There is no clear picture of what the soul looks like exactly in these care for your soul Bible verses. But, we see several encouraging things here.
- The soul is connected to the Lord
- The soul longs for Him.
Of course, our soul longs for God, He breathed it into us. Your Soul literally came from God.
Today, as we think about caring for our soul well, we have to start by remembering that it is a gift from God that desires to return to Him.Loving God with my soul is about giving up myself (the desires I want to express) in order to express the things of God. That is a huge part of Biblical soul care! Click To Tweet
How To Care for Your Soul Biblically
I bet, in this space, when we begin listing ways to care for your soul, you already know what they are. But if you need some Biblical soul care resources, click the links under each.
- Regular Bible study
- Fasting to go deeper in prayer
- Stillness and solitude with Him (being alone with Him wherever you connect best with Him)
- Worship through song
- Christian Community
- Serving others
- Sharing the gospel
Practice Spiritual Disciplines to Feed Your Soul
Right? Nothing new there. You already know how to care for soul.
We can all agree that time with God, studying the Bible regularly, and deepening that intimacy is critical for your soul. As a community, we emphasize the importance of fasting to humble ourselves before Him and go deeper. You know to sit with Him and rest in Him through stillness. These are things we hear about on Sunday morning and read about as we study the Word. It is not new.
The real question is not, what is care of souls, but how do you know your soul is well cared for?
Soul Care For The Wounded and Disabled
We know what the Bible says about Spiritual self-care and soul care, but there are things in life that get us stuck, stopping us in our tracks.
I wonder if you ever feel like I do. There was a time in my life when I could do all the things I dreamed of doing for God. Serve in any area, come early, stay late, and pitch in with any need.
- Cared for my home and family
- Raised my kids and homeschooled them
- Nannying other families’ kids
- Loving my special needs child
- Meal planning
- Raised my kids and homeschooled them
- I ran an online ministry to help people grow in faith and strengthen their marriage
- Serving at church
- Helped with administrative needs
- Served on the worship team and choir
- Led the middle school choir
- Helped the children’s choir
- Lead the prayer team
- Helped in the nursery when needed
- Greeted on Sundays
- Led a life group and a d-group
and the list could keep going…
But a few years ago I got sick – out of nowhere. I went from racing through life at 100 miles an hour to being stuck in a bed most days.
The change forced me to face a sort of identity crisis. I felt worthless, unable to be of value to myself, my family, or God. How could I love God well if I couldn’t do all the things?
Have you ever asked yourself that question? Do you ever feel, almost like this body is a prison, slowing you down, keeping you from doing what you feel is important in life?
Lies About Who God Loves and Uses
I started to believe some lies, that God only loves and uses certain kinds of people:
- Well educated
- Who speak well
Do you ever feel that way or believe those lies? You see, I was young and healthy once and God used me in so many areas. So when I got sick and literally had to give up everything I loved and was doing for Him, it felt like a death. As if I had displeased Him and would never be able to love Him well again.
People in The Bible Were Not Perfect
It is easy to fall into the trap of lies the enemy lays out. As I began to think them through, the Lord directed me away from my feelings and back to the facts of the Bible.
When we look at the people God used in Scripture we see a different picture, a reassuring picture of who God loves and uses.
In The Old Testament
- Adam couldn’t control his wife.
- Noah couldn’t convince any other families to join him on the ark.
- Abraham lied, acted a coward, and didn’t know better than to sleep with Hagar.
- Issac didn’t really embrace God as his own until he was older.
- Jacob picked favorites among his children.
- Joseph spent a big chunk of his life in prison and slavery.
The people God chose and loved and used were a mess. They were far from perfect, and that is just the first book of the Bible!
In The New Testament
- The disciples were not priests or students
- They were too young to be taken seriously
- Some were worse than sinners
- They hung around with sinners and worse
- None were rich or famous or anything else.
The heroes of our faith were not strong, they were not educated (some really lacked common sense at times), and they had no idea what they were doing half the time.
We would not have picked them. Yet, they had something in common that caused God to pick them. Biblical Soul Care!
5 Character Traits of a Person Who Invests in Biblical Soul Care
It seems like David talks the most about the soul, more so than any other author in Scripture. As a bonus, David is one of my favorites in the Bible. I just love how imperfect he was… and yet how mightily God used Him to change the world.
We get such a long view picture of the life of David which makes him a perfect of all the examples of soul care in the Bible for our case study today. In the life of David, we see what it should look like when we care for our souls well.
- Recognizing God’s voice
- Trusting His faithfulness
Biblical Soul Care Brings Patience
When we first meet David, Samuel is obeying God to anoint a new king. God sends him to the family of Jessie, to look over his sons and David wasn’t even considered important enough to be there for the first look.
David was the youngest of his brothers, likely the smallest, very gentle, and often left to tend the sheep. Not the prime candidate for king of Israel, but God chose Him because of what He saw in David’s heart.
We see patience in David early on because after the anointing, rather than take David to the palace, Samuel goes back to work leaving David to go back to the sheep. That is not the path I would have imagined for the next king, but David doesn’t get ahead of God or push God, he waits patiently for God’s will in God’s timing! a characteristic we see many times in David’s life!
Humility Flows from Caring for Your Soul
When next we see David, he is playing his harp for King Saul. David knew he was to be the next king, but instead of staging a coup to evict the crazy king and take his rightful place, David serves the king. David pours out praise to God to calm Saul’s soul.
We see humility in David’s life later on when this same king is chasing him through Israel for years trying to kill him so he is never king. When David has a chance to end the running and be king by killing the unsuspecting Saul, he doesn’t.
In humility, David honored God’s will, GOd’s way, and God’s timing. That only happens when your soul is filled up, well cared for from time alone with the Lord.
Obedience Is Proof of Soul Care
Throughout the life of David, we see obedience. He loved the Lord and David was willing to obey and take the next step no matter what it was.
In 1 Samuel 17, we find Israel at war with the Philistines. David’s brothers have gone to fight but he was left behind. Too young, too small, not ready or trained for battle, he obediently cared for his sheep and home.
We see an obedient heart when his father tells David to take food to his brothers on the battleline. Imagine the humiliation of not being chosen to fight but being an errand boy. But we see no complaint from David, just obedience. It is beautiful!
Recognizing God’s voice
When David arrived and heard Goliath’s tirade, we also see great and deep love for God in his indignation that anyone would defy God and that no one stepped up to defend God.
Then we see David follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to step out and fight Goliath. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
We know for a fact the Spirit influenced him because no one else was stepping up to fight Goliath and it made zero sense for the young ruddy shepherd to do so. But David wins the battle.
- Nothing about David screamed giant-slaying hero.
- He wasn’t the right age.
- David wasn’t the right size or strength – the armor fell off of him.
- He had no combat training, he didn’t even bring the right weapon to the battleline.
What David had was a heart that loved God, a heart that trusted God and was willing to obey whatever God said. David had a soul completely filled up from being in the presence of God regularly!
Trusting His faithfulness
How was David able to serve God in such an amazing way when he was far from what we would say fit the job description?
David’s soul was full and cared for BEFORE he volunteered to fight the battle.
David spent time with God, meeting with God many times each day (Psalm 1:2). In this story, when he should have been scared to death to face a giant, we see trust!
“And David said, “The Lord who saved me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”” (1 Samuel 17:34-37 NASB)
David had already been in battle with the Lord, many times and had seen God win! This allowed David to push through the fear and press into the trust to be that man after God’s own heart.
Why Is Soul Care Important?
Let’s pause a moment and be real. Each of us has faced giants, battles, and wars that seem to rage in life. Think back on the last one. Was there time, in the face of danger to get into the Word and feed your soul? Nope. So it stands to reason that we have to take care of our soul BEFORE.
Care Is Critical
Think about it as you would think about your newborn baby. That baby is so sweet and precious to you. It needs to be fed, changed, washed, and rested. You know you’ve waited too long to feed the baby when they are wailing and you learn to get on a schedule and feed her before she is starving.
The baby will need to learn to walk, so you bounce her on her feet and put her in a walker, and praise every small milestone she makes until one day she is standing up. You get shoes and socks to protect her feet and you make sure she is rested and fed well so she is strong enough to take those first steps.
You love your baby so you do what you need to do, regularly, to help her grow and thrive. Your soul is like that. It needs food, rest, exercise, and praise. If you care well for your soul it will shine God’s love and light out when the battles rage. If you don’t you sort of fall apart when giants face you.
David’s Soul Care Plan
David had cared well for his soul the before the battle came. That is the only way he was able to be chosen, used, and victorious.
What was his soul care plan to be ready for war? What does the Bible say about protecting your soul? This is it!
- David’s soul waited for God. Psalm 62:1; Psalm 3:2
- His soul blessed God. Psalm 103:1
- David’s soul sought God desperately. Psalm 63:1
- He knew his soul needed to be restored and did that. Psalm 23:3; Psalm 19:17
- He let his soul praise the Lord. Psalm 42:11; Psalm 71:23
- David meditated on God’s word to help his soul. Psalm 130:5
Available For God
David took care of his soul routinely. And when someone needed to do something crazy, God called him.
Because he was familiar with God’s voice he obeyed.
And God won the victory by working through David, not because of David’s qualifications, but because of God’s strength and faithfulness.
You know how to care for your soul. You know about waiting for God, blessing God, seeking God, praising God, and meditating on His word.
But what do you do when it seems God has slowed you down or stopped you in your tracks?
God Is Not Done With You!
Keep loving the Lord. Spend time with Him. Be ready because He’s not done with you. He’s not done with the local church either! Biblical soul care for the local church begins with us and is critical for the revival we are praying in.
There’s a song we sing on Sundays that says, “If I’m not dead, then He’s not done. Greater things are still to come.”
God’s greatest works have almost always been done by those who are willing to do whatever He asks, regardless of what they think they have to offer.
So maybe you can’t do all the things you once could, don’t let that make you think you can’t do anything.
Stillness: An Unexpected Gift From God
When the prison walls of my failing health began to close in on me and I couldn’t do all the big things I thought were so important, I felt worthless, useless, hopeless… like I would never be able to show Him my love or be valuable to Him again.
Over the course of these past few years, the Lord has been teaching me the greatest lesson so far in my faith walk.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NASB)
He was saying to me, “I am still God even if you can’t do all the things. Be still. Trust ME not your strength.”
Of all the lessons combined in that one lesson, He revealed to me that I had been doing all the things to try to earn His love and prove my worth to Him and others around me. Which explains why I felt so defeated and hopeless when I couldn’t do that anymore, huh?!
Time Is A Gift From God
Something beautiful about being confined to a prison of health or loss is time.
God convicted me quickly that I was still to love Him with all my strength, all my soul, and all my mind. Well, my strength was gone, so I had to fix my mind on Him and determine to give that time to Him rather than complaining and giving too much time to entertainment! What is soul care for a Christian? Time with the Lord!
The beautiful was this:
Time with God restores a soul.
In that resting and consuming the Word and prayer and fasting for answers I began to realize that God still loved me, even though I couldn’t do anything for Him.
Then He began to show me ways I could actually serve Him. They are not like they were before, but they are so much dearer to me now because I know how much He loves me. And they are so important but I had missed seeing them before because I was too busy!
- I can serve Him by sitting on the porch and talking with a neighborhood who feels lonely.
- He lets me serve Him by pressing a button to work the lights in the sanctuary.
- I serve Him by being more intentional with my time and testimony with my children.
- Listening to my husband talk about his day without multitasking is a way to serve Him.
- I can write out the lessons He is teaching me to help others grow to serve Him.
He Calls The Filled and Willing
Then Earlier this year, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I heard God’s voice saying I would help care for her. It felt impossible because of my health, but He gave me the strength. He kept me calm and filled with peace for 3 beautiful and terrible months as I washed her feet and drove her to doctors and convinced her to eat…
God didn’t call me because of any strength or experience I had. He had strategically positioned me and intentionally taught me how to be full in preparation for just this moment in life. God gets all the glory!
Even now, as the grief is so fresh and I feel almost like I am drowning in feelings… it’s not like the griefs of my past that were sorrowful. Instead, it feels like the wellsprings of God’s grace are what is pouring out as He holds us together in the midst of this battle.
Are you feeling stuck, slowed down, confined by physical limitations, financial limitations, anxiety, or some other prison?
Today I want to challenge you to see them as an opportunity. See this as a blessing, instead of a prison that stops you from being who you were or that keeps you from doing all the things you wish you could do. See this season as a time to sit in God’s presence and care well preparing for what He has next for you.
There is still so much work to be done. Work you can’t always see until you are slowed down. Work only you can do because of the life you’ve lived, the experience you have, and your testimony.
Will You Embrace Biblical Self Care Today?
Are you caring well for your soul? Use the 5 Character traits of a person using Biblical soul care as a test to see where you need to work harder at this discipline.
- Are you patient?
- Is humility how you face delays and challenges?
- Are you obedient in action and attitude?
- Do you recognize the voice of God and obey no matter how crazy it is?
- Are you trusting God or letting fear guide you?
You see, the world needs you, filled up and willing to serve God wherever He calls. It may seem small but it is important! Or it may seem huge and radical, but He will do it through you!
Who knows what giants are waiting to be defeated, how many souls will be won, what kind of legacy you will pass on in your family because you chose today to take such good care of your soul!
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