Who is talking to your soul?

While this might sound like a sound byte from an online dating service, it’s a serious question.

In reading a transcript of a sermon by C.J. Mahaney, I found this insightful quote from Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones:

I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us! Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self…The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’—what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself,…exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God.

This maxim is clearly illustrated in the 103rd Psalm. This great Psalm outlines the many benefits of faith in God: He forgives our sins, redeems our souls, satisfies our deepest needs, and crowns us with His loving kindness so that our strength is renewed.

This powerful list climaxes with the realization that God is sovereign over all we see, “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19).” This provides an interesting contrast with the final verse wherein the Psalmist continues to preach to himself, “Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul! ” (Psalm 103:22) Like the Psalmist, we are to bring our soul, our affections, emotions, and loyalties under the Lordship of Christ.

We dominate our soul by telling it that it is already under the dominion of the Sovereign Creator. Then we can know God as our “exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4), and find that he “satisfies us with good” (Psalm 103:5) because we have tasted and seen that He is good (Psalm 34:8). As the 18th century pastor and hymnist Robert Robinson penned, God is the “Fount of every blessing.”

We have no good apart from Him. As the New Testament writer tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). Until our souls understand this they will be restless, confused and discontented. As Augustine said, “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”

Your soul will only know real freedom when surrendered to the care of a loving God.