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.
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 our pop up service Wednesday. My name is Jacob and I’m on the team here at City Lights and I’m so glad I can pop up into your living room or wherever you are right now. So last week we started a series called “How’s Your Soul” where we’ve been looking at what it means to have a healthy sould and what is the soul. And is it weird? Or is it not weird? See, last week, we discovered that the soul needs to be at home; it needs to find a place of peace and rest. And the best way for our soul to be at home is when we return to Jesus, when we return to our Creator and find peace in him.
Now, the second topic for this series we’re going to talk about how is it to have a healthy, happy, and successful inside. How can everything all around you be falling apart, things going crazy – uncertainty, fear, all this stuff happening – all around you but on the inside you have joy, you have peace, and you have success in the way that God sees it. So like I said our souls need to find rest at home. But today we’re going to explore this question: what makes my soul healthy? What makes your soul healthy? And I want to give you some practical ways that you can invest in the health of your soul.
Okay, so check this out. This is a pretty cool thing. See when God created Adam and Eve he placed them in, like, the best living situation possible. I mean you can’t beat this. The weather was always good. You know, the food was delicious, you know, watermelon all the time. Come on somebody. Like he put them in the best spot possible. He put them in the perfect setting for a human soul to thrive, to succeed. But when we look at the original context of the human soul we see four things that God gave Adam and Eve that I believe he gives us now.
Okay, so check this out. This is how you can have a healthy soul. The first one is this: it’s rest. God gave them rest. The second thing is: God gave them restrictions. The third thing is: God gave them responsibility. And then the fourth thing: God gave them relationships. So these four things is what we see in the Garden of Eden. And these four things we still have access now, okay? So I want to look at these four things a little bit more in detail.
So check this out. Genesis 2 describes the original environment God created for the human soul, but a big but came around and like these big old buts, man, they keep messing things up. Sin entered the world. Okay, so when sin entered the world, that separated us from God, that separated humankind from God. Now this is a problem. This is a problem because God made a perfect spot for the soul but sin came in and disrupted that. And here’s the truth. That’s why we have Jesus. That’s why Jesus came. You know, God so loved the world, God so loves you that he did whatever it took to get you close to him. That separation from him to you was not alright with God. And so He sent Jesus who lived the life we couldn’t, he died a death we deserved, but three days later, he rose from the grave, he covered our sin, and now he bridges that gap between us and God and we can have full relationship with our Creator God and that’s why we can have rest for our souls. And that’s why we can have healthy souls because of what Jesus did. So with all that in mind, I do want to look at the Garden of Eden and see what they had that we can do in order to have a healthy soul now with the grace and the love and the power of Jesus on our side, okay?
So like I said the Garden of Eden was beautiful, it was flawless. It was sinless. It was this perfect utopia. It was pleasing to the senses, restful for the soul. This is the best way you can get and this also illustrates the first element of having a healthy soul, it’s rest. You’ve got to have rest. Now, your quarantine house right now probably doesn’t look like a sinless, flawless utopia. Like you just try not to strangle someone, you’re too close to them, right? But you can still have rest for your soul. You can still have rest for your soul. So your environment may not be the most restful place, but your soul can be full of rest in that chaos. Now, rest isn’t always a nap, even though sometimes. you need that, get that nap in when you can. Jesus says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is the rest. We can find rest by taking moments to rethink and refocus, re-energize to lean in on the heart of God and focus on him. That’s another reason why we encourage small groups. We’re doing these online groups right now. So you can jump in and have a time to have some rest. Talk to some people, hang out with some people, just dialogue a little bit, and get some community; you have to make rest a priority. Don’t let anxiety be the priority in your life right now let rest be.
The second thing is this: in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could eat from all the trees except one tree. Besides showing us how gracious God is, this also shows us the second element of how to have a healthy soul and that is restriction. Now, a lot of times we don’t think of restriction as something good. We think of restriction as, “they don’t tell me what to do. I can do what I want to do,” but the word “no,” is one of the most powerful words that you can use in your life. I mean, it truly is. Jesus even says, “let your yes be yes or no be no anything besides that [comes from an evil heart,] comes from the evil one.” Whatever you say “yes” to – this is what I want you to see – whatever you’re saying “yes” to, you are saying “no” to something else. So what are you saying “yes” to and what are you saying “no” to? And is the thing you say “yes” to healthy for your soul? Or is the thing you’re saying “no” to the thing that you actually need to have a healthy soul. So restrictions are great. And that’s the reason why we can live a life in victory. Even though we still face sin, we still face bad habits, we still have different problems that come at us, we can now have victory over the things that try to get us down. Because of Jesus, we have access to Jesus, and we can place healthy restrictions on our lives in order to live the life that God has for us.
The third thing is: God gave Adam a job to tend and to keep the garden. This shows us the third element to having a healthy soul. And that is responsibility. Responsibility will give you a healthy soul. Work is a gift from God. And God wants us to enjoy our labors and our jobs. Now, I want to speak to a couple people with this. You may be listening right now you actually lost your job. You may be dealing with some stress that’s coming from finances and wondering “how am I going to get paid? Do I get a job back when all this is over?” or whatever the case may be, this is a reality for you right now. And it is hard and it’s discouraging. And your soul is not at ease because of it. Now I’m going to encourage you right now that God is in control, even though it doesn’t feel like it. God is in control. He’s for you, he’s with you, and He will not leave you. So in this season of maybe having lost a job or a suspended job, I’m going to encourage you with this: Your family, your friends, your kids, your health. That’s your job. That’s your job. Start making some goals for yourself. What are some things that you wanted to do that you haven’t been able to do that you can do now? How can you work on yourself and for those who are at home. You’re working from home, you got your kids running all around you.
It’s so funny. My almost two year old daughter, she’s at home with us as Erin and I are working and she just wants all the attention all the time, and my wife is just so amazing. She balances continuing to work from home while still loving her and then we trade off, make a schedule. See, take responsibility, take responsibility. And you can make the most of this, I’m telling you, because you’ve really only got two options. Let’s be honest, you’ve really only got two options. You can complain and be upset and angry, and that’s fine. And we understand that. Or you can take the cards that have been dealt, and you can make it the best thing possible. I mean, it’s your only two decisions. I vote for making it the best thing possible. See what God can do in this time in your life. Do everything you do with excellence.
And then the fourth thing, the most important element of a healthy soul is seen in God’s creation. We see that God made Adam and Eve to be in a relationship. Relationships are important for a healthy soul. God said it was not good for a man to be alone. So he was intentional about giving Adam the perfect companion. Now this is not just a picture for marriage, but it’s also the importance of having healthy friendships. See, I believe life change happens in the context of healthy relationships. So I think if you want to see real life change, who are the people around you? One of my favorite things to say is, “Show me your five best friends and I’ll show you where you’ll be in five years.” So I challenge you dig deeper with friendships, get to know someone a little bit more. Hey, maybe you’re a parent, you’re kind of trapped with your kids for a while. Start conversations; start family conversations, share a little bit about yourself to them. Maybe they have some questions that they’ve been wondering about you. Maybe you got some friendships that you’ve been kind of having some issues with, make those right. Talk to people; dig deeper in these friendships. One thing that I would say all this is teaching us is how important community really is. We need to be in community.
Last week, I put a weekly challenge on the feed of the video. But today I’m actually going to talk about this weekly challenge now because I think it’s so important for you. Weekly challenge: rest. I want you to take a minute to evaluate your sleep patterns, your stress levels, and I want you to take one practical thing you do this week, and really find true rest. I want you to find true rest. The second thing is restriction. What is one thing you can decide to say “no” to this week that isn’t really necessary for you. What is just one thing? Maybe it’s that sin problem. Maybe it’s the habit that you have that you don’t want to do anymore. Say “no” to it, and watch all the things you’re going to be saying “yes” to that are way better. Responsibility. Maybe you’re balancing a lot of things right now. Hey, I want you to write down – I give you permission (if you need my permission on anything you do) – I give you permission to write down two things that you hate about the responsibilities that you have right now. Two things that are driving you crazy, like “why am I the one in charge of this?” And then I want you to write down two things that you absolutely love that you’re doing. Then the two things that you hate, I want you to be intentional about seeing improvement and giving those to God, and the two things that you love, I want to see you increase in those and thrive on the things that you’re good at. And then the last thing: relationships. Now this one’s important: who are the people that have the most influence on your life, and who are the people that you need to stop listening to because they’re actually hurting your soul? Take this time to lean into the people who are uplifting you and making you a better version of you. And those people that are there that are bringing you down, hey, let’s take some time to move away from that. So that’s my weekly challenge for you on how to have a healthy soul. So I’m going to encourage you right now that God is for you, he’s with you, and you can have a healthy soul. You can be in a tough season but be filled with complete joy.
Pray with me. God we thank you. We thank you that we can have a healthy soul; that our inside life can be made right. We can see all that you’re doing on the outside. So God, I pray for people right now who are having a hard time finding rest, give them rest. I pray for people that don’t know how to set up proper restrictions. They keep caving in to things that they know they shouldn’t be caving into, and saying “yes” to things even though they’re tired and worn out. God give people the ability to say “yes” to the right things and “no” to the things they don’t need.
God I pray for the people who have lost jobs or people who aren’t sure how finances are going to work and their responsibility. They’re feeling less than, feeling like they don’t have purpose, God bring purpose in this season. Bring purpose. Give them something even right now that they can say, “I’ve got purpose in this.” And then finally, Lord, I pray you bless relationships, bless relationships. Lord, do something that only you can do.
God, we love you and we need you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen, amen, and amen. Like I said, I’m so glad I can pop up on your screen right now and encourage you. Hey, you got this. You got this, you are going to make it out of this better than how you started. So, hey, look at the comments. We got some things you can pray about this week. Pray these things over your life. The weekly challenge will also be there. Make that something that you do this week and watch what God will do. The best is still yet to come. Thank you so much.
Thanks for checking out the City Lights Podcast. If you’d like to partner with us financially, you can go to wearecitylights.com, or you can text any dollar amount to 84321. Thanks for joining us today.