We’re breaking the rules for four weeks. Polite society likes to admonish people against allowing something / anything to be “about them.” During this early-2021 exercise, we’re making it all about us, and lining ourselves up alongside Jesus, who did just that for nearly two decades: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
He came to do important work – His work – that no one else could do. He would be Game-On for three years, intent on completing the work that His Father gave Him to do (see John 17:4). Like an athlete who prepares for years in anticipation of an Olympic performance that will only last for seconds, the investment into maximizing potential is the difference between records and regrets.
Jesus wasn’t unidimensional; neither are we. Body, mind, soul and spirit would all be operative in alignment for Him to do what He came to do: plant a church (120 remained committed between his Ascension and Pentecost, when the movement went massive), train His successors (12 men – minus Judas, plus Paul – who would take the baton from Him and take the faith global), and die on the cross (the redemptive act that would set the stage for the Resurrection and fulfillment of God’s plan from the beginning). How could a person do all of that in just three years? He was in shape on all fronts.
Two weeks ago, we made our body the issue; it will enable or compromise your lifetime potential. Last week, we elevated the continuing cultivation of knowledge and wisdom to legitimize your leadership. This week, we’re asking the question: why take any steps to be prepared for greatness… if no one wants to be with you?
The soul is a mystery to many, but God understands its invisible function well: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
We may not see the line of distinction between soul and spirit, but God does. Because of the sin we are born with – from Adam – every person is born without a spirit. That missing piece is restored at the moment of faith, when God generates an eternal spirit that will be the point of connection between the child of God and their Heavenly Father, forever.
Every human has a soul; it’s the part of who we are in which emotion and will are operative. It is the element of our existence that connects with other people; we speculate about “soul mates” and discern that facet of our existence that makes relationships happen. Relationships engage the soul…
With our spirit, we relate to God. With our soul, we relate to people. The fact that we – as followers of Jesus – have the capacity to interact with God and other people doesn’t mean that everyone is equally effective in fostering those relationships. How do we get our souls fit for friend duty?
You’ve probably read the classic on becoming a winsome winner with others: How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie). It may be time to get back into it again. Why? You are here for one reason: to influence people. What you know about God is life-or-death material for everyone you know. Will you ever be able to tell them what they need to know? Answer: No, unless you first prove your chops as a friend!
What was the biggest “loss”- for most people – from a year of mandated confinement? Answer: they’re dying for meaningful human engagement.
This is your chance to see your stock soar as a friend. The lack of community – and the toxic shouting that defined the now-past election year – have created a toxic residue in most people’s souls. What can we do?
Who’s on your list: people you’d like to see elevated as better friends in 2021. Are you ready to see your value soar among the people you want as your friends, who need to be under your influence?