After the food and fuss of the holidays have wound down and normality has returned, many Americans step on the scales and decide it’s time either to start reducing calories or to start making plans for a new wardrobe!
It’s important to take care of our bodies. After all, the follower of Christ recognizes that his body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
We are, of course, more than our physical bodies. We also have souls, and our souls should likewise receive our attention. The believer who examines himself is a wise believer. William Gurnall [1616-1679] observed: “The Christian’s armour decays two ways; either by violent battery, when the Christian is overcome by temptation to sin, or else by neglecting to furbish and scour it with the use of those means which are as oil to keep it clean and bright” (William Gurnall and John Campbell, The Christian in Complete Armour [London: Thomas Tegg, 1845], 169).
God has given us wonderful means to deepen and strengthen our souls. Reading and meditating upon the Scriptures are primary and must not be neglected. The psalmist writes, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:1–3).
Dedicate yourself to understand the Word of God even better this year. You’ve wanted to understand the Scriptures, but perhaps you’ve never given the study of the Scriptures the sustained diligence the task deserves. Set aside a time daily to read the Bible and think about what you’ve read. Write down lessons that you learn. Meditate upon the attributes of God which you see. Observe the grace of God which is displayed throughout the Bible. Use a good study Bible, such as the Reformation Study Bible or the ESV Study Bible. Know what you believe, why you believe it, and live accordingly.
Seek to commune more with God in prayer. The Bible commands us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer was of such importance to our Lord Jesus that he spent much time in the worthy activity. While we should always be in an attitude of prayer and offer spontaneous prayers, finding a quiet, undisturbed place where you can be alone with the God will strengthen your soul.
Purpose to be more consistent in Bible study and worship attendance. Hebrews 10:25 instructs us not to neglect our meeting together, as the habit of some is. Consider the importance of Bible instruction for your children. Outside of sickness or something else beyond our control, we should be in Bible study and worship each Lord’s Day. Someone who views worship attendance and Bible study as optional is someone not really serious about following Christ, his protests to the contrary notwithstanding.
Seek opportunities to serve the Lord, whether in the church or in your own slice of the world. Seek opportunities to influence those without Christ to hear and obey the gospel. Build relationships with those who know not Christ so that you may share point them to the God who is eternal life (John 17:3).
Whatever we do, may we not be satisfied with the current health of our souls. We can never be “more saved” by how we live because salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We can, however, glorify God more by giving due diligence to the health of our souls.