Our soul is made up of three parts: our mind, our will, and our emotions. This is the part of our being that relates to other people – our horizontal nature. I want to talk about each one separately, because although they are intricately intertwined, each one builds on the one before.
The Battle of the MindEverything begins in our head. What we think about feeds our desires and plays out in our actions. Our mind can work for or against us, depending on what we feed it. Of course, reading and meditating on God’s Word is essential. This word meditate literally means to ruminate - like a cow chews, swallows, digests its food for a while, then brings it up for another round, before sending it to the second stomach, and so forth.
Listening to God-music is another way to influence our minds. Ephesians 5:19-20 and Colossians 3:16 are great reminders of this. I have actually started waking up with songs already playing in my head. I know this is His special answer to my prayers for renewed hope.
Bible reading and music can have little effect on our mind, however, if we do not squelch the competing voice of the enemy. Second Corinthians 10:5 tells us to, “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” This especially includes lies concerning our personal value. Satan wants us to constantly replay hurtful scenes from our past to beat us down. God wants us to frisk every thought for contraband and anything destructive to the truth of who we are in Christ.
My friend Gwen uses the “It is written” method that Jesus used against Satan (Matt. 4). She fights back by speaking scriptural truths out loud. We agreed that if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us!
The Battle of the WillThe second area of the soul is our will. This is where we decide whether we will do our own thing or submit to God’s leadership. Isaiah 30:15-16 in the Message paints a descriptive picture: “God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: ‘Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me—The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do. You’ve said, ‘Nothing doing!’” And Psalm 81:10-12 also, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. ‘But my people would not listen to me…would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices” (NIV).
God recently gave me a strong message from Joshua 5:7-8. It says: “They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way…after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.” Circumcision is an operation to cut away the foreskin of a man’s most private part. God instructed the Israelites to do this as a sign of their covenant (promised) relationship with Him and purity. You’re probably wondering how that applies here, aren’t you?
He said, “You have not allowed me to cut away the things that are dragging you down, Beth. I want to help you. Will you, in obedience to me, stay in camp until you are healed?” My first thought was, “But I want to do battle against the enemy, Lord! And we’re this close to the Promised Land. Can’t you just heal me quickly?
He said no.
He pointed out that trusting Him is essential. That to go into battle right now would endanger me as well as others. That His timing is perfect. So I am slowing down, being still, hanging back from the things I’m normally involved in, and resting. God has made it easier for me to obey by allowing me to experience fatigue like never before. I’m so tired, I can’t do much else!
I still have the choice to obey Him or to fight His healing work. Time after time, I bow my will in submission to His loving care, even though it is very difficult to be still.
The Battle of the EmotionsThe third part of our soul is fed by our mind and will - how we feel about our self, our life, and our relationship with God. I keep going back to a phrase coined by Pastor Rob Baker of Oasis Fellowship, “How do you deal with what you feel? You’ve got to go with what you know.” In other words, emotions are real and powerful, but they can’t be trusted. We must learn to influence our feelings by choosing to first submit our minds and wills to Christ.
In order to combat these overwhelming feelings, I have become like a terrier in my morning devotions. For the first time in my life, I usually have the freedom to spend as long as I want in the Word. So I am taking advantage of it. Like Jacob, who wrestled with the man from God and told him, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen. 32:26), I too am wrestling until the blessing comes. And it is good.
If you are currently struggling with depression, I hope my journey is helpful and encouraging. Be assured, God is with you; you are never alone. Reach out for His hand in the darkness and let Him comfort you. He is there. He will hold you.