Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bless The Lord!

Psalm 103:1 “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

The 103rd Psalm is a well-known passage of scripture. We read it often, quote it, and even sing it. But all too often we skip ahead to verse 3, where David starts listing all the things that God does for us! But look again at the very first thing David wrote. This Psalm isn’t about God blessing us - it’s about our soul blessing Him!

If you remember, we are made up of three parts: spirit, soul, and body.  When we were born again, the real us (our spirit) was totally recreated! Before salvation, our spirit was dead in sin - but now it is alive in Jesus Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:17 shows us this: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Now that we’re born again, our spirit craves the things of God. We desperately desire God’s Word, we long to obey His commands, and there’s nothing we enjoy more than to spend time with Him and His people. This is true of every born-again believer!

So why do these desires sound foreign to so many of God’s people? It’s because they still think their soul is the real them! The soul is a person’s thoughts, desires, and emotions. Actually, let me clarify - it is a person’s natural thoughts, desires, and emotions. The Hebrew word for soul is “nephesh.” This word speaks of the natural mind. In fact, the soul is truly a part of nature - even animals themselves have souls, as limited as they may be. Animals think things through, make decisions based on their surroundings, and even possess emotions like fear and contentment. You see? What truly separates us from the rest of nature is our third part - our spirit!

When you’re born again, you are given a brand new spirit, but your soul remains the same!  All of a sudden, your godly spirit begins to desire everything that God has. This brings it into conflict with your soul, which is still thinking the same thoughts and desiring the same things. This is the fight every believer faces for the rest of their time on earth - spirit vs. soul, new vs. old, spiritual vs. carnal. When I’m teaching kids I call it, “The Battle Of The Two Mes.” It all boils down to one thing - are you going to obey God or do your own thing?

Some may say, “If being born again leads to this conflict, then why didn’t God just give us new souls too?” Trust me on this, you’re glad He didn’t! Everything you’ve ever learned. from “don’t touch a hot stove” to “now I know my ABCs”, is stored in your soul! If God replaced your soul, you would have to re-learn everything you know right now! Going even further than that, your soul holds all of your memories. Aren’t there things in your life (even before salvation) that you want to remember? Important memories - such as memories of loved ones, cherished times, and lessons learned the hard way - are also stored in your soul. God never intended to replace your soul - He intended you to renew it!

Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

How do we win the battle of the soul? By renewing your mind with God’s Word. This is what the Bible refers to as the salvation of your soul. We see this in James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” God’s plan was to help you tame your soul and bring it under the control of your recreated spirit!

So what does this have to do with Psalm 103? Listen again to what David said: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” We know that David was a worshipper. It seems as if worship just flowed out of Him! But in Psalm 103, David seems to be reminding himself to worship God. Why? He was stirring up worship from his soul!

Most believers think that real worship only happens when they get all emotional. They mix up worship from the spirit and worship from the soul. True worship always comes from the spirit. Our new nature loves to worship God - it flows out of our spirit naturally. Our spirit will worship God as a default - for Who He is! But worship out of the soul - from the mind, will and emotions - is kind of shallow. This kind of worship comes and goes based on the way we feel. So the key to true worship is remembering where it really comes from: your new nature.

Be that as it may, I do enjoy getting my soul involved in worship! We’ve already seen that David did too! I want to show you the right way to get your soul into your worship. The key isn’t going to church, sitting next to the right person, turning the lights down just right, and singing the right song. The key to having your soul agree with your spirit in worship is found in the very next verse...

Psalm 103:1,2 “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits...

This is why David began to list the blessings that God gave him; to stir up his soul! When you begin to remember all the things that God has done for you, and list them out loud, it stirs up your mind and your emotions. You begin to realize how much He deserves for what He’s done for you. Then you begin to stir up your desire - even your soulish desire - to worship your Heavenly Father.

Do you remember His benefits? If you’ll read the next few verses, David will list some of them. Meditate on what God has done for you - this will stir your soul into worship. When you’re worshipping God from your spirit, soul and body; then you can truly say, “Bless the LORD...all that is within me, bless His holy name!”

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