Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
January 15, 2017
How is it with your soul?
I have watched many people die. Some were at peace. Some were not.
What is the difference? The difference is peace with God. The only way to “be at peace” is to have peace with God.
Peace with God cannot be achieved; it can only be received since it is a gift, and God alone is the giver. He gives the gift of peace to those who desire, above all else, to live in harmony with God.
This is where the soul comes in. Harmony comes through getting the soul grounded in God. Harmony with God never comes until we decide that pleasing God is more important than pleasing ourselves with the things of this world.
In one of his books Dallas Willard explains it this way: “Our soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and his kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. Therefore we are in harmony with God, reality, and the rest of human nature and nature at large.”
Harmony happens when attitudes change. I have little harmony with God when I am focused on being recognized and applauded for my achievements. Harmony comes when I choose to put other people first and give up seeking the applause of others.
Dallas Willard explains how this works: “If you want to really experience the flow of love as never before, the next time you are in a competitive situation (around work or relationship or whose kids are the highest achieving or looks or whatever), pray that the others around you will be more outstanding, more praised, and more used of God than yourself. Really pull for them and rejoice in their success. If Christians were universally to do this for each other, the earth would soon be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God.”
Think about the options we have. If I get passed over for a promotion, I can moan and groan about how I was mistreated. Or I can thank God for what I do have and help celebrate the good fortune of the person who got the promotion. I have no peace as long as what matters is my own achievements and material wealth.
Horatio Spafford lost everything in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. He lost his money, his home and had no insurance. A short time after that his four daughters were drowned in a shipwreck. Despite his losses, Spafford had harmony with God. Else he could not have written this testimony of faith in the hymn he composed that contained these inspiring words:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
In the New Testament the Apostle Peter says that the salvation of our souls is “the end result” of our faith. Dallas Willard reminds us that “The salvation of your soul is not just about where you go when you die. The word salvation means healing or deliverance at the deepest level of who we are in the care of God through the presence of Jesus. Sooner or later, your world will fall apart. What will matter then is the soul you have constructed.”
And that brings me to this important question, how is it with your soul? + + +