In our neighborhood growing up, there lived a family with 4 children; two of which were twin boys. They were a few years older than me. One of the boys had a strange habit of talking to himself. He would sit on the pavement in front of their house, having a full-blown solitary conversation. The neighborhood kids used to make fun of him behind his back and we all thought that he was quite strange. I'm so sorry for that now, knowing that Yeshua deeply loves him and made him in a unique manner.
Let's zoom in on the "talking to oneself" aspect. As a mom, I often talk to my children. I've learned to gather my thoughts by speaking them out loud, not necessarily to any listening audience, but just in general. It really helps to gather those stray thoughts that have the audacity to jump out of place. Then I came to the conclusion one day, when I was alone in the grocery store, that in essence it was nothing other than talking to myself. I was standing in an aisle, audibly gathering those runaway thoughts when I came to this realisation. It was quite humbling. In a way we all talk to ourselves at times, don't we? I sure hope I'm not alone in this talking-to-myself-club.
I've spoken quite a lot about my dear friend, who lost her husband to cancer when we were all still so young. We both had gotten married in our early 20's; something that was frowned upon by many at that time. In her early stages of grieving the loss of her beloved, she grabbed hold of Psalm 103:"Bless the Lord, O MY SOUL, and all that is within me, bless His holy name." She would speak this out loud, over and over again, day in and day out.
In essence she was speaking to herself; commanding her soul to bless Yahweh. Over and over again. She taught me this valuable wisdom, when I was in the thick of grieving my parent's divorce. It was raw and my soul was stumbling within me. Dark clouds seemed to surround my being. Then I would start speaking those precious words out loud. At first it was more of a begging than a declaration:
"Hey soul within me, would you please bless Yahweh!?
Hey soul! Bless Yahweh..."
After a few minutes of prompting it would become more of a declaration. This became a habit of mine, to address myself in this form. The next part says: ALL that is within me bless His holy name. I would literally feel my entire being getting back in line when I would declare these words. There truly is life and death in the power of our tongues.
I was newly postpartum in that same season, and having a body that does not simply bounce back, so to speak, came with its own set of challenges (and even disappointments on my part). Oh, the silly things I would say to myself in the mirror (insert face palm emoji right here). They were horrible! If I would dare say any of those things to a friend, the relationship would be severely broken after that. Yet that is exactly what I did. I broke my own relationship with my soul. I spoke death instead of life. Ladies, I know you know exactly what I'm talking about. That was until one day, when I was visiting my mom. It was time for tea and Tannie (Afrikaans word for Aunt) Francis was joining us for tea time.
Now, Tannie Francis is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She's almost in her 80s. You could tell that she looked after herself well and there is just something awe inspiring about the way she carries herself. A true lady. Graceful. Kind. Compassionate. She then gave me such a pearl of wisdom, that I immediately strung and hung it around my neck. It gleams with this wisdom: Speak to yourself as you would speak to your best friend. Wow! That hit me hard. I was doing the exact opposite. I was tearing myself apart with the most absurd negative comments and the most dreadful remarks. I'm thankful that no one was able to hear all of those words audibly, but Abba knew each one of them. Yikes! And I was speaking like that in front of Him as my only audience towards His beloved daughter; myself! That is just horrible! And so, I repented immediately (even though at the point of writing this, I am reminded about some silly words I uttered about myself just a few days ago... That which I hate, I do. Praise Yah for His grace towards us!)
So what are the words that the King is speaking over you?
Aren't we supposed to align our hearts and words with that? What are the words He is speaking about the people around you? Are the words we are speaking about them in agreement with His thoughts towards them also? It all boils down to this;
Jesus said to him,
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
Do we truly love in this way? Do we love ourselves in a healthy way? Do we love Abba with our whole being? Do we love our neighbour?
I want to rest a moment on loving Abba with our soul. That is the part in us that can either be guided by the Spirit or by the flesh. I have found this interesting article, by Witness Lee, that speaks about our soul having three parts; the mind, the will and the emotion. He references Scriptures to confirm each part. (Disclaimer: I don't necessarily agree with all the author has to say, but the Scriptures referenced are well put together).
We know that the Word says that;
For if you live according to the flesh you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
That is life! Being a son or daughter of God. Made in His image. Living under His roof and authority. There is a valuable law in Numbers 30:3-5 concerning our vows and being a child within a father's house.
Or if a woman makes a vow to the Lord, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father holds his peace, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father overrules her on the day that he hears, then none of her vows nor her agreements by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will release her, because her father overruled her.
If we are children in Yah's household and He hears the vows that we make, He is able to annul it. Even more so if we realize our error and when we bring it to Him in repentance. He can atone, redeem and restore. Where have you spoken death over yourself and over those around you? Bring it to Abba. Repent of each sentence and syllable and ask Him for His perspective of yourself and of those around you. The answer lies in Him being our Rock and Refuge.When my soul is overwhelmed within me, lead me to the Rock that is higher. (Ps 61:2)Allow Him to be your refuge and your rock. He is firm and unwavering.
I'm getting quite off track here, but this is not without purpose or value. My purpose in writing this is found back in Psalm 103, where David speaks to his soul. I absolutely love this! Speaking to your soul! David did this a lot. It is almost as if the people in biblical times understood something different about their souls than we do. I'm quite intrigued by this matter. What are we missing out on? There seems to be a mystery here. The Psalms are overflowing with the word soul.
The first mentioning of soul in the Word, is in Genesis 2.
The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7 WMB
The breath (spirit) of life entered the flesh (made of dust) and BOOM; a living soul was made!
The soul area is alive but can also be found in sheol if it is not guarded well. David frequently referred to sheol. It is not just translated as hell, but also as the grave, a pit, the underworld, a place of exile or a place of no return.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
I'm still trying to figure out where the word heart fits into this whole narrative of our souls and our flesh. It might be referring to the soul. I think it does, but I'm not entirely sure. Abba will show me this in His time. Anyways, the Hebrew word for soul is nefesh (נפשׁ). It means the following:
soul, self, life,
creature, person, appetite,
mind, living being, desire,
that which breathes,
the breathing substance or being,
soul, the inner being of man
living being (with life in the blood)
the man himself, self, person or individual
seat of the appetites
seat of emotions and passions
activity of mind
activity of the will
activity of the character
This video gives us a great overview:
Isn't it interesting and wonderful that the word life and the word soul are closely related? Adam became a living soul. Life! That is what Yeshua came to give us, life and it in abundance.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance
(to the full, till it overflows).
John 10:10 AMPC
He wants it to be well with our souls even in difficulty. The psalmist exclaims; "Return to your rest, O my soul, for Yahweh has dealt bountifully with you" (Psalm 116:7). And once more in Psalm 43"Why are you cast down, O my soul? Hope in Yahweh." They spoke directly to their souls, knowing that it was called to be alive. Knowing full well that life is within our words. So they spoke it to life. Can these dry bones live? Oh yes, they can. By speaking life. Prophesying the Words that Abba spoke over us. That is why we need to seek Him within this, and as we seek Him and His words, He breathes His life into us. The Ruach; Spirit and breath of life. Our dry bones (our mere flesh) come alive, and we become a living soul, led by the spirit, not by the flesh.
Walking by the flesh leads to dry bones. Walking by the Spirit with His breath within us, brings Life!
And so, these words of Yeshua ring true:
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:35-38 NKJV
May we never be ashamed of Yeshua or His words. They bring Life. May we never exchange our souls for death. May we pursue life wholeheartedly, minding our words and guarding our hearts; for life can be found within both of these. May His words be written on our hearts and His Set-apart Spirit be poured out within our very being, causing every sinew and nerve ending to be fully alive. Breath in! And speak His life giving words. Walk within your full identity of being a true worshiper, who worships the Father in Spirit and in Truth.