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A phrase that I’ve heard so much recently is how is your heart? Or how is your soul1? And at the start of this New Year, the time when everything begins again; when there is a new found hope in the air, ask yourself these questions; how is your heart? How is your soul?

Is it…?

How is your soul? Is it empty? Uninterested? Discouraged? Is it longing for something… for anything… for more? Is it bored? Dissatisfied? Is it distant? Is your soul weary? Close to the end? Considering giving up? Frustrated or angry? Is it surviving or thriving in Him?

How is your heart? Is it joyful? Is it overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise? Is it fixed on Him? Is your heart lonely? Is it distracted? Is it anxious?

How are you and Jesus? Are you close to Him? Is He your friend? Are you hearing from Him… are you listening though? How important is He to you right now? Is He your priority? Do you seek Him… really seek Him? Delight in His complexity? Is each new day an opportunity to get to know more of His heart and more of His character?

What do you do when your soul is lost? What do you do when your heart is fed up?

We as people seem to try and fixate on other things. Things that seem more manageable and easier to control. Things we feel capable of dealing with. Like obsessing over cars, a TV show, our family and friends, re-doing our homes. But when it comes to our soul, how great does the task seem of drawing it closer to the Saviour? How much does it look like mountains blocking our path? [Matthew21v21] How often does it seem like a weight to carry rather than a joy to embrace? We may even admit that sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it, that we are simply okay where we are. Because a life of faith is not one of those things you pick up as a hobby, it is something to commit to.

Because when you commit to care for your soul, you commit to give it into the hands of the One who designed it. [Psalm 139v13] The hands of the One who knows it best. The hands of the One who can truly satisfy it, heal it, restore joy to it. The One who wants to give you purpose, meaning and hope.

The One who says come to Me. Come and get away with me, come and experience the unforced rhythms of grace. Come and experience freedom. [Matthew 11v28-30]

This New Year, how is your soul? Are you saying yes to His invitation to come? Are you committing day and daily to live a life laid before Him? One that you are so loved in, so wanted in, one that He calls you to?

Reflect upon these verses

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” [Luke 10v41]

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” [Psalm 37v7]

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you… my whole being longs for you… Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”  [Psalm 63v1+3]

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”    [Psalm 116v7]

As we think of the condition of our souls this New Year… as we consider the One who gives our soul such worth… May we truly consider what it is He wants for us this year, what He desires for our communities? Will we reshuffle our priorities and put Him first. Put Him in and through all things. But with that decision, comes our humanly nature thinking how can we possibly commit to Him with our all? Life is just too busy for that? Where do I even begin? We stress and worry when really we need to remember that how committed we are is not where it starts. That it is more important to remember how committed He is, and always will be to us. [Psalm 23v6]  What are souls are like is not nearly as important as what He is like and He is wonderfully merciful and gracious in all His ways. [Psalm 103v8]

Often we come into January with such hope in the New Year, of all its possibilities but this year I want to challenge you to shift your thinking to not hoping in the new year, but placing your hope in the One who created all the years. In the One who is timeless. [Hebrews 13v8]

What is your prayer for your soul in 2017?

Our souls ache for conversation with the father. They are weak without the strength of a love that equips and builds and gives and sustains. Let’s pray real life prayers, not empty prayers of holiness but real prayers to the Holy One.

Is your prayer a bold invitation to Jesus to come in all His fullness in your life? Is it simply a cry of Abba Father? [Romans 8v15] Is it a commitment to have praise to Him continually on your lips? Is the song of your heart that His glory may fill our church and that His precious name would be praised continually? That hope would arise? That freedom would come? That His kingdom may come? [Matthew 6v10] Is your heart crying to Him, ‘Do whatever it is Lord Jesus that you want to do’? Is your soul singing ‘I only have eyes for you, Lord” [Psalm 141v8-10]?

What is your soul crying out for? What is your heart screaming for? Is it belonging, to know that you are enough? A shout to the heavens to be convinced of His power, His immeasurable power to know that He can do more than we ask or imagine? [Ephesians 3v20] Is your cry simply help me? If that is the condition of your soul then scream it out because the One who created you, hears you and does not overlook or abandon you. Be honest with Jesus. He knows your heart already. Don’t hide from Him. Don’t ignore your soul. Know that you have not gone too far. Know that He is not finished with you yet. [Philippians 1v6] Know that He offers you a fresh start, today and every day.

This is your reminder, to look up again. To love Him regardless of your circumstances. To know that He is good and that you can trust Him with your frail and fragile heart. To know that He is victorious, always. That His love is wild and relentless, always. This is a reminder o give Him your soul again today, regardless of how messy it is.

How is your soul? How is your heart? Let Him change your life.

*1 The soul is the direct aftermath of God breathing (blowing) His gift of life into a person, making them an ensouled being.  A person’s distinct identity (unique personhood), i.e. individual personality. []