Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Conversation With A Soul

The following devotional thoughts come from a conversation that an individual had with himself sometime in the 16th or 17th century. This is a conversation that every believer needs to have with him or herself regularly, if not daily. This man is talking to his soul. As he speaks with his soul, he is giving his soul specific advice and he is asking his soul very pointed questions. As you follow this conversation, my comments or questions will be in italics. This conversation is offered for your benefit and God’s glory.

Puritan: “Now, Soul of mine, I want you to remember what your duty is!

Soul: “Sir, what then is my duty?”

Puritan: “Soul, your duty, and this duty is a privilege, is to rejoice in God.

Soul: “Why, Sir, is it my duty to rejoice in God?”

Puritan: “Soul, God requires that I rejoice in Him due to all his favors of Grace that He bestows on you. Listen soul, rejoice in God as the giver of all grace and goodness, be happy in God, O my Soul, and be happy in God and in nothing but God.”

Soul: “Again, kind Sir, I ask, why should I be happy in God and in God alone, notwithstanding that God is the source of all goodness and has poured out grace unlimited upon me?”

Puritan: “I will tell you Soul listen close, do not miss what I say or you shall miss a truth that will lead you to seek happiness in so many useless places. Soul, whatever you trust in, whatever any man trusts in, from that a man expects happiness.”

Gregg: The question that must be asked at this point is what do you trust in? Search your heart carefully, for what you are trusting in you are seeking happiness from.

Is it profit? Is it power? Is it possessions? Is it position? Is it progeny? If you are looking to any or all of these things for happiness then you will be sadly disappointed because at one time or another each one of these things will disappoint you.

Puritan: “Soul, let me ask you, why are you unhappy at times? Why do you feel such dejection, such frustration, such unhappiness? How can you be so unhappy or depressed when God through His Spirit sown joy in you? How can you be unhappy when joy has been promised by the Father? Soul, are you seeking joy in yourself? Do you seek joy in evil motives of your heart that is fueled with pride and self-reputation?

Soul, do you not know that you having nothing in your except sin? That your heart is deceitful and desperately wicked? Soul, do you not know that there is nothing in you to cause God to be gracious to you or even to continue giving His grace to you? Oh, Soul, if you forget these things you will lose your joy!”

Soul: “At times I seem to have lost my joy! Is it because of these things you ask me? Alas, it is because of these things that I lose my joy. Good and kind Sir, what can I do? What must I do to restore the joy sown in me and promised to me by a kind and gracious God?”

Puritan: “Grieve under the sense of indwelling sin. Let godly sorrow work a work of repentance in your heart. This is what God’s Spirit desires to do and it is what creates the fullest of joy in you. Have sorrow for your sin of seeking joy apart from God and in vain things. Have a contrite heart O Soul, for this is what God delights in.

Gregg: Happiness comes from favorable circumstances. Joy comes from the Lord. The joy of the Lord is described as indescribable and unassailable. Joy is based upon God’s character which He revealed in both Christ Jesus and His Word.

Puritan: “Soul, I must ask you, have you sought happiness in some creature comfort? Be honest now. Stop, do not look for to the things of this earth and do not look below God for happiness. Soul, do not sleep in the lap of Delilah. Soul my God’s grace and through the enabling of His Holy Spirit, let God be everything to you. Let God fill your fountain continually with the joy that He gives from and due to His glorious character. What do you say, Soul?”

Soul: “O yes, kind sir, I will heed this wisdom. I will cease looking below God, apart from God for the joy that He has wrought in me through the working of His Holy Spirit. I want the joy that emanates from His character, not the temporary happiness of a favorable circumstance from family, friends, or foe. Thank you kind sir, and thank you gracious God.”

Gregg: What about you? Where do you trust for happiness? Remember, whatever a man trusts in, from that he expects happiness? Do you need to have a conversation with your soul?

[This conversation is based on “A Colloquy on Rejoicing", The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, page 153]


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Most interesting post Gregg, I hate to think what my soul would say to me if I questioned it.
I think I live a decent sort of life and are kind to those around me but what my sould thinks I honestly don't know.


Brad said...

Great post, Gregg. We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves like this every day.

And the Valley of Vision is also an excellent resource, that will challenge you on every page just like this entry. You can also order it in CD and .mp3 formats as well.

Scott said...

Great post. However, as I read the comments, I was distressed to see the promo for CD/mp3 versions. Don't do it. Puritan books, especially devotionals like this, are meant to be READ, and experienced. But they leather bound edition and savor the touch and feel as you take the time to read and reflect. Don't let technology win! (OK, so I'm just kidding, sort of...no..buy the book!)

Gregg said...

Yvonne - your soul is your greatest gift and asset. You need to know what it says to you. Let me encourage you to, based on your comments, acknowledge your own personal sin, turn from it and turn to Jesus Christ and His offering and sacrifice on the cross, forsaking anything else, such as works, self-effort, sacraments, and trust Christ's and ask for His forgivenss and to redeem your soul based on the sacrifice of Christ which God has fully accepted.

Brad - Yes we do need to preach this message of the gospel to ourselves everyday - it is the means by which God efficaciously saves us. As Scott said, don't do it - refuse the MP3 buy the book.

Scott - you are 100% right. I don't have ebooks - books are meant to be held, savored, smelled, cherished, written in, underlined, carressed, and ...

I just have he paper back version, maybe God will bless me one day with the leatherbound version real preachers have.

Kansas Bob said...

Reminds me of these passages from one of my favorite songs:

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name


What a thought provoking post!

I have conversations with my soul and God through out the day about right and wrong thoughts that are constantly popping in and out of my mind. True joy only comes when my thought process is filtered through the Holy Spirit and pleases God.

The Puritan writers insights into the things of God is amazing! Maybe it's because they didn't have all the distraction we have today?

Gregg said...

KB - Great song with great words.

OG - It is a thought provoking post. We need to think of these things often.

Anonymous said...

love it!