AND GOD BREATHED LIFE

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I can remember times growing up where “getting by from day to day” was hard.  I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and our family relied on family.  Back then, gathering together with family was very important.  The love we shared was precious and held great value to us.  We got together as often was we could.  Typically, we would meet and share food, have great fellowship, and enjoy fun on a weekly basis.  We enjoyed it so much that when we couldn’t get together, there was disappointment.  We met for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, new babies, graduations, and also for no apparent reason.  We just loved being together.  Again, we placed a very high value on gathering together with family.

My family, including all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins, was part of my core identity.  I remember thinking, “what would life be without family?”  Of course, mom and dad were always number one to me, but I often thought of my cousins.  I loved being with my cousins.  Some of them were older than me, but we never looked at age differences.  We just got along.  There were arguments of course, but we just set them aside and got along.  As I look back, family was like gold to me. It was my most valuable possession.

So now I think about that and wonder.  Was I placing too high a value on this?  I am not ashamed of my family and how important they were to me growing up.  I think most people would agree with me that family has value.  Family is important! But how much value should we place on things like this?  When I grew older, I began to work and had less and less time with my family. My increasing responsibilities made not having that weekly time with them not so important to me anymore.  I was now my own boss, earning a living, being responsible.  I didn’t give my cousins too much thought anymore.  Mom and Dad remained very important, but thinking about what my relatives were doing never really crossed my mind.  I fell into thinking that I was now the one that was important.  I was all grown up.  I had to be an adult now. Playtime was over.

So what is really important?  To be living for myself and driving myself to be the best in everything was what I thought was important.  It led me to times of great despair and heartache.  I felt valueless.  How could that be?  I couldn’t understand.  I began to lose everything that I once held dear.  I felt like a failure.  I’m just being transparent.  How could I feel like such a failure when growing up it seemed I had everything?

The Bible asks a very important question.  It says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”  (Matt 16:26 NIV)  I never thought of my soul much.  I wanted to gain everything.  I gave and gave and gave to attain the most for my “self”… or in some cases, for “my family”.  Sometimes I tried to earn love and respect by giving and taking and giving and taking.  More often than not, no matter how hard I worked at gaining love and respect, the return on the investment was lacking.  My thought process was flawed.  I fell to the deepest of lows. Something inside of me was crying out.  On the outside, I had gone deaf to the inside cries.

My soul was aching.  It hurt so badly and I couldn’t ease the heartache on my own.  I got caught up in “things” that eased the pain but never got to the root of the pain.  I often think of the nights where I felt alone and I just wanted to break free!  I just couldn’t go on like this.  I know now by the grace of God that things didn’t have to be that way.  By God’s grace, through faith, I am free.  My soul has value in the sight of God.  God breathed His life into me.  Understanding this now, I realize my soul defines my entire person.  Inside and out.  I would not exchange anything for my soul.  My soul integrates with God and His eternal purpose for me.  Yes, family remains important to me.  That will never change.  But my soul was given to me by God.  He breathed HIS life into it.  It flows through every part of me.  Battles and desires are won and lost in my soul and it is eternal. It’s no longer, “The devil made me do it.” All sin originates in the soul (Check out James 1).

Friend, what is valuable to you?  Is it outside influences or is it your soul?  Your soul has great value and you should never exchange it for anything.  Before time began, God knew you and was ready to breathe life into your soul.  Do you need to connect or reconnect with God?  Think about it. A healthy soul begins with a healthy relationship with God. Have you been neglecting the care of your soul?

By clicking on the link, Soul Care: Guarding Your Most Valuable Possession,” you will be able to hear a powerful message from Pastor Aaron Taylor on the value of your soul.

I pray that your week is filled with the knowledge that God loves you and that your soul is of great value to God and to you.  God bless you and have a great rest of the week! See you Sunday!

George Leonhardt

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