As time continues to pass us by, the world around us continues to get darker. Everywhere you look things seem to be deteriorating in some way or another. Some things affect us more directly such as stress, family trouble, personal failures or work-related problems. Other things affect us more indirectly. These might be the increase of crime, political issues, war or moral decay. If we are not careful, all of these elements can cause us to react in a negative manner in the area of our soul.
God has created us as a spirit being. We were given a soul (our mind) and we live in a body. God never intended for anything or anyone else to have control of your soul. He gave it to you! And He expects you to have control of it in submission to Him. Yet many times when difficulty presents itself, we give up control of our soul and we react to the pressure negatively.
In Matthew 24:6, Jesus told us not to be troubled when hardships of the last days begin to take place. In the same account in Luke, Jesus gave us an important key to overcoming pressure. Luke 21:19 says, “In your patience, possess ye your souls.”
It is important to understand two particular words in that verse. First, the word “patience” means to endure. Then we see the word “possess” which means “to own.” Put simply, Jesus was saying, “In your endurance [of these hardships] own and be in control of your mind!” We are not to sell out to things like depression, anger and bad attitudes.
Instead, we must learn how to react in the spirit and cause our souls to be in subjection to the Word of God. Every day people are reacting to pressure through chemical additions (drugs, alcohol, caffeine), eating disorders (anorexia, gluttony, bulimia), sexual disorders (homosexuality, pornography, incest) and emotional and mental problems (hysteria, depression, phobias, personality disorders). Of course, these are just a few obvious examples. But all are manifestations and reactions of a soul that is losing the battle against demonic forces. The good news is that God has given us all we need in learning how to possess our souls.
In keeping ownership of our soul, it is important that we first understand it. Lack of understanding in an area will cause you to take a passive position regarding it, rather than an active one. The human soul is made up of five different areas: the will; emotions; intellect; imagination; and memory.
- The Will.
The will is the most dominant force of the human soul. It has the final say in any decision. Many people do not go anywhere in life because they do not know how to possess their soul in the area of their will. They do not know how to make a choice and stay with it. Because Solomon had the determination of a strong will, the temple was built (2 Chronicles 2:1) Remember, only you have power over your will. The Holy Spirit will not even violate your will. He will only guide and instruct it. The devil has no power over your will unless you yield it to him. Although he will try to use other attributes of your soul to get at your will. He weakened the will of Eve by first attempting to deceive her memory about what God actually said. Then he continued to work on other areas of her soul. A passive, lazy, lethargic will kills! Recognize when your will is under attack when you begin to lose your zeal to do anything for God and your diligence and discipline are gone.
- The Emotions.
Many Christians criticize emotions. But emotions are biblical. They simply need to be controlled according to the Word. They are God-given. They add color and personality and they enhance us. They can show (when led by the spirit) the joy of the Lord, the grievance of the Spirit of God, the anger of the Lord, etc. There are several things that emotions are not. They are not to be used in finding the will of God. They are not proof of the working of the Holy Spirit. They are not a basis for true love or the lack thereof. They are not meant to be used to control and manipulate others. You can recognize carnal emotions because they feel opposite to the Word of God. Emotional freedom comes when we force our emotions to be quiet and trust the Word of God.
- The Intellect.
Godly intelligence is designed to work along with your spirit to cause understanding and wisdom. It helps us to know God. Natural intelligence, on the other hand, has a resistance for God because it exalts itself over Him. It believes it is wiser than God and creates theories and rules to prove it. It usually needs an intellectual answer for everything. This is where religious rituals stem from. You know when your intellect is under attack because your logic begins to override your inward witness. This simple truth will help keep our intellect in the godly realm. Psalm 111:10 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments.
- The Imagination.
Godly imagination has the creative ability to do anything for God. It can build visions and dreams. True imaginations are always submitted to the plan of God. There is no self-exaltation in them. Evil imaginations get us to exalt and gratify ourselves. This is how the devil used Eve’s imagination in the garden. She saw herself able to be as God. The devil also tries to use our imagination in the area of fantasy. The world uses fantasy as a way to escape the pressures of life. All the forms of entertainment offered are filled with it. It has the ability to taint a godly imagination. The devil will encourage you to use it as a way of escape. It is fine to have fun, but we must always face reality. 2 Timothy 4:4 (Amplified) says, “And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.” Keep your imagination in check by keeping a humble heart and lining your thoughts up with the Word of God.
- The Memory.
The memory of the soul is its “archives” which serve as a point of reference in every thought we have. Your memory has the power to conduct the way you live in the present. If the devil can harass and torment your memory, he will paralyze you. He will cause similar situations that remind you of painful experiences. Rehearsing bad memories causes fear and withdrawal from certain people, situations, and opportunities. This same fear will also rob you of a good conscience. It will make you feel unworthy to do anything for God even though sin has been confessed, is under the blood and reconciliation has been made with those affected by it. Command any tormenting spirits to leave your memory. Fight for the power of your memory with the Word of God. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing.
Determine to win the battle for your soul! You can only possess it by staying full of God’s Word. With God nothing is impossible! You can do it through the power of His Spirit within you!