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Seeds of the Kingdom

Comfort for the Soul

by Denise Cross

Why my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God. For I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God.
Psalm 42:5, NIV

In Ellel Ministries courses we often teach about the human spirit and the soul and how they relate to each other. God’s design is that every part of us would work in harmony under His Lordship, which means that our whole being would be yielded and surrendered to Him. But so often our soul seems to display strong feelings and desires, which can lead us, because of our fallen nature, into ungodly behaviours rather than the Christ-like response we would like to make.

Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences. Something happens which seems to knock you from your normal equilibrium. It might be something big, but it can also be something quite small; the loss of something precious to you, a rejection by a friend, or totally unexpected aggression at work. I’m sure you know the kind of thing I mean. It hurts, and you feel suddenly disturbed.

I’ve had a few difficult situations like this during my life, but I’ve learned one thing that is essential - don’t react in haste! It seems to me that my soulish feelings could so easily lead me into knee-jerk reactions, which would nearly always make things worse. The reality is that the email I would like to write immediately would definitely not be helpful, so even if I did start to write the email I know I must never press ‘send’!

In today’s verse King David shows us how we can manage our own difficult situations in a godly way. He starts speaking to himself. His human spirit is taking command of the situation by speaking into his feelings and thoughts. He’s saying “Honestly, I feel miserable just now, but God is still the same, and He’s my place of comfort and strength in this moment. So, soul, I want you to recognise His sovereignty and be comforted”.

King David’s a wise man. He knows he mustn’t let his feelings be the governing factor for his future behaviour, because, if they do, he’s very likely to start reacting out of his carnality; behaviours and attitudes that will ultimately increase his misery.

Apostle Paul encourages us by being real about his own internal battle with his carnal nature in Romans 7. Sometimes he does what he doesn’t want to do, and sometimes he doesn’t do what he knows he should do. We also need to be real about our own lives. It isn’t easy in very challenging moments to respond in a godly way, instead of what comes much more naturally, which is reacting out of our carnality.

But, perhaps we can learn from King David and seek to form a new habit for such moments. Instead of making a knee-jerk reaction, we could rise up in our human spirit, speak to ourselves with honesty and compassion, but then look to our God of grace for all we need to bring comfort, and to restore our sense of peace.

Prayer: Father God, my safe refuge and strong tower in every situation, help me to rise up in my spirit when I feel disquieted in my soul for whatever reason. I pray that I can increasingly learn how to receive Your full and freely-given restorative love, so that Your care and comfort can flow through my spirit to my soul, and bring Your touch to my hurting emotions, negative thoughts and ungodly choices, which so easily rise up when I am distressed. Thank You for Your never-ending grace and loving-kindness towards me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Denise Cross is married to David Cross and they have three grown up children and eight grandchildren. Denise was previously a Maths teacher and now delights to teach the Lord’s wonderfully logical truth. Her passion is to stir the hearts of passive believers to appropriate all the benefits of abundant life that our Heavenly Father freely offers to each of His children. Her book Rescue from Rejection has been appreciated by many people, in bringing clear answers to this challenging and widespread issue.


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