In this message, Pastor Jacob talked about how it may be hard to see the purpose in “this,” but there is purpose even in your “this.”

City Lights Church is a contemporary Vineyard church located in the northwestern part of Richmond, VA. City Lights Church is a part of the Vineyard USA network and an ARC family member.

TRANSCRIPT

Hey there, and welcome to the City Lights Podcast. City Lights is a church located in the northwestern part of Richmond, Virginia. For more information about City Lights, you can visit us at wearecitylights.com. Now enjoy today’s message.

Hey, welcome to pop up Wednesday. My name is Jacob. I’m on the team here at City Lights. And I’m so glad I can pop up right on your screen right now on this Wednesday. So what we’re going to do for the next few weeks is we’re going to talk about your soul. We’re going to do a series called How’s Your Soul? Who thinks about the soul? So we want to focus on the inside of us. We want to see what’s going on in here. We’ve got so much stuff going on all around us. I think this is a good time to have some reflection and consider “how’s my soul?” How’s my soul? So for the next few weeks, like I said, we’re going to explore what does it mean to have a healthy soul.

So check this out the Apostle John, he wrote, “beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health.” But check out this last part, “as it goes well with your soul.” Your soul is so important. So we want to explore what does it mean to have a healthy and whole inside. How can our minds be alert? How can our wills, our emotions be connected to God, especially in some difficult times?

Before we begin, I think it’s helpful to define what it means by the term soul. What is it? You know, we want to keep defining this because it can kind of feel out there a little bit. David wrote in Psalm 103, he said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” In this verse, David compares his soul to his inner self, his inner life, his heart, his mind, “all that is within me..” Your soul is all that is with in you. Your soul is not your eye color. Your soul is not your height. Your soul is not your skin tone. Your soul is not your waist size. Come on. Your soul is what’s inside of you. Check this out – your soul is not your education. Your soul is not your job. Your soul is not not the size of your family. The soul is personal. It’s inside. Your soul is an invisible but incredibly significant part that is all about the way you think, you feel, and decide.

So I want to ask you this question. I want to ask you this. When is my soul at home? When is my soul at home?

So I want to look at the origin of the soul and where it kind of comes from. Where do we see this in creation and humankind. And I think when we look at this, what we will see is that God desires for our soul to be at peace, that God desires for our soul to be at rest, at ease. In the Genesis account, God makes all creation. He makes the heavens and the earth and it’s this beautiful scene of creation. And then check out what the Bible says when God created humankind. Genesis 2:7 says this, “then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed. The Spirit of God breathed into the nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” See when God created Adam, Adam was just a form. He was just a figure. He was just a body. And it wasn’t until God breathed His Spirit inside of him that he became a living, breathing soul.

So our outside – I want you to get this – our outside is not the determining factor of our worth or form. Form does not determine how worthy we are, how good we are, how great we are on the outside, that’s not what determines what makes us truly alive. It’s what’s going on on the inside that matters. See, I think God is far more interested in the conditions of our hearts than anything else going on around us. See, is it possible that you can have everything on the outside, everything can look good, you can be driving the right car, living in the right house, have the right looking spouse, your kids can be looking perfect on the outside. Is it possible to have everything look good on the outside, but on the inside, you feel empty?

See, I think God wants us to have a good in-sight to our lives, not talking about our vision of what we see but what we feel on the inside. See, I think God wants your in-sight to be connected to him.

So I think most of us, we strive and we strive to have things on the outside and we forget about the inside. And I’m gonna tell you this, with all this going on in the world right now, who knows that things on the outside are very uncertain. Things going on can change in one moment. But what’s on the inside, your soul, your heart, that’s what really matters.

So I think this is perfectly illustrated in a story in the Gospel. We see two sisters, Mary and Martha. And they get into an argument because of the positions that both of them were at. Check this out. Luke 10 says this, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said.” Now this is very important. Okay, so here you go. Martha lets Jesus into the house that then Mary sits at Jesus feet, and she listens to His teaching. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that she had, that had to be made. “She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.'” Now, a few things I want to highlight about this story. Don’t be misguided by this story at all. Okay, so Mary wasn’t just sitting down watching Netflix and just enjoying her time while Martha was doing the dishes in the kitchen. That wasn’t what was happening here. See, in that time and that culture, it was unheard of, for a woman to be invited to sit at the feet of a rabbi and listen to his teaching. I mean, it was unheard of in that kind of personal setting where Jesus has given kind of this one-on-one almost connection with his followers for Mary, a woman, to be invited there. This was her preparing for the mission that God had on her life, so she wasn’t missing out on the mission and not doing what Martha was doing. Jesus was inviting her, as a woman, to be a part of God’s plan to save the world. This is what’s happening here. This is scandalous. This is crazy. And here is Martha running out and she sees Mary sitting there thinking, “isn’t it a woman’s place to be serving in the kitchen?” And Jesus saying, “No, no, that’s not the only place for a woman; that’s not ‘a woman’s place,’ a woman’s place is to be connected to the heart of God.” That’s what’s going on here. So Jesus is including Mary in his mission for the earth. Check it out what Jesus’ response is. He says, “‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed.'” But few things are needed, “‘or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”

What was better?

What was the better thing that Jesus was talking about in this story? The better thing is the soul, talking about her soul. Your soul is at home, your soul is at peace, your soul is positioned on the things of God.

See, I’m going to tell you this, the enemy is going to try to come and make you distracted, make you anxious, stressed out, worried, consumed with fear and anxiety and problems and what ifs and what ifs and maybe this and maybe that’s going to happen. I’m going to tell you this, you cannot get yourself worked up about things that you have no idea how it’s gonna turn out. You cannot be anxious in the kitchen worried about things that you have no control over. Instead, you have to sit at the feet of Jesus. Sit at the feet of Jesus; have a healthy soul.

How do we come out of this whole thing better than what we started is by focusing on Jesus in this moment, saying, “God, I’m gonna let you have control of my soul, of my life, of what’s going on.” See, Mary and Martha illustrated two different approaches to God. Martha was worried and troubled because of what she had to do. Her soul was unwell, but Mary, Mary did what God wants us all to do, to be at a place, sitting at his feet, consumed in his love, overwhelmed by his acceptance, and empowered with his mission to be a light to this world.

Our souls find their homes when we return to our Creator.

How do you stop that anxiety? How do you take a positive step forward? It’s returning to your Creator, saying, “God I don’t have the answers. I’m confused. I’m hurt. I’m disillusioned but I’m gonna come to you.” Jesus says this, “come to me all who are weary…all who are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

See Matthew 5:8 in The Message paraphrase puts it like this. “You’re blessed when your inside world, your mind and heart, are put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You can see God all around you.”

Pray with me right where you are. Say God, come right now. Put my soul at ease. I need your peace. I need your love.

Wherever you are, you can say this out loud or you can say it in your heart. Just say God, bring me peace.

Say God, I focus on you. You are in charge.

So God, we love you. We need you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen. Amen and amen.

Well, thank you so much for listening to Part One of how is your soul. The couple things I want you to say right now that’s popping up right on the comments is a weekly challenge, okay? So we’re going to do a weekly challenge and some things to pray about. So I encourage you to go look at those. Copy and paste them, whatever you need to do, and these are some things that I would encourage you to pray about for this next week. As we begin to tackle this thought, “Well, how do I have a healthy soul? How can I make sure that my heart and my mind is aligned to the things of God?” And then look at this weekly challenge. I think God will do a lot in your life if you go after it. Okay? So hey, I cannot wait to see or hear about all the awesome stories that God is going to do in your life. We’re here for you. I want you to know that Erin and I are in your corner. So whatever you need, don’t hesitate to reach out. God is for you and God has a plan for your life. Thank you.

Thanks for checking out the City Lights Podcast. If you’d like to partner with us financially, you can go to wearecitylights.com/give, or you can text any dollar amount to 84321. Thanks for joining us today.