Psalm 103. Body and Soul.


Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 103 (MsgB)

O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy name!
O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!


Do you ever wonder about yourself?

Question who you really are?

Oh yeah, that person you see staring back at you in the mirror is really you. No doubt about that.

But is it really you? And maybe, more importantly, is it all of you?

Our world we live in is obsessively and relentlessly consumed with that body we see in the mirror. We build our lives around the reflection that comes back at us. We enjoy the good we see. Friendly eyes. Nice complexion. Petite nose.

But here’s the gut-honest truth. You and I tend to focus exclusively on, and truly hate, the bad we see.

Flabby chin. Crooked teeth. Unmanageable hair. Big ears.

And that’s just the beginning.

Find one of those full-length mirrors and we go bananas.

As a long-time fat guy, I’ve always hated those full-length mirrors where you see how obese you really are. You know the kind I mean?

You can be having a good day. Feeling pretty good about yourself, and wham-o. You walk by a storefront and catch a glance of yourself eating that ice cream cone. Wait. That can’t be me reflecting back from that glass. Wow. It is me! Gosh. I didn’t realize how wide my hips were, did you? Ruins the whole damn day, doesn’t it?

Imagine, for a moment, folks, if the world we lived in had no mirrors. No storefront reflecting glass. No smooth, glassy reflecting lakes. No earthly way at all of allowing us imperfect human beings to see ourselves and our imperfect bodies.

Would we live life differently?

Gosh, I sure hope that we might.

Could be that a world without reflecting mirrors might allow us to pay much more attention to the other part of who we actually are?

Our souls.

The psalmist who wrote Psalm 103 seems to have a pretty healthy handle on his or her true identity. Within the first few lines of this song, we find the author talking to both his body (from head to toe) and his soul. Commanding himself, both body and soul, to get on the stick and bless God.

Most psychologists would suggest that this psalmist has a pretty healthy view of himself. Well-rounded and well-balanced. Oh yeah, he might be as big as a truck in his bodily form, but the psalmist has a healthy ability to look beyond his physical appearance and embrace the soul on his inside.

Of course, the fact that he’s talking to himself might be another problem. But let’s not go there today.

The fact is, it’s really hard for most people living in our body-conscious world to take our minds off our earthly flesh for a moment or two and focus on our souls.

I mean they don’t call it Facebook for nothing!

Just imagine how few people would befriend others on an on-line website called Soulbook?

Why?

As I see it, we human beings are being hideously trapped by both Satan and our self-consumed flesh to focus nearly exclusively on the part of us that will never make it past the age of 100. In truth, the national average is only 72 years.

But our souls?

Scripture teaches us that our souls will live forever.

Yet isn’t it sad that most Americans can tell you how to successfully exercise that roll of flab off your belly; how to whiten your teeth in two weeks or less; and how to look sexy by dressing for success; but we know absolutely zilch about the true condition of our souls?

Hmm.

Maybe it’s time for a body and soul revolution.

Maybe it’s time to go back to the days of John Wesley and George Whitefield?

In the midst of what historians today call the Wesleyan Revival or the First Great Awakening, the Wesley brothers (John and Charles) suggested that people begin taking their eyes off their earthly flesh and begin asking this question of themselves and of others…

“How is your soul?”

As folks began to forsake outward mirrors for inner reflections, God’s Spirit began to move across the land, stirring hearts to Him.

So, my friends, regardless of what the mirror says about your physical condition…how’s your soul today?

My prayer: Father, forgive me when I spend so much valuable earth-time consumed with my outward physical appearance. In fact, Lord, in the flesh, I’m a wayward sinner in great need of a Savior. But on the inside lies my soul. A piece of forever that dwells inside me. My true self, created in the image of God, that needs my attention on a daily basis. Holy Spirit, empower me to spend more time nurturing and caring for my soul. For Your Name’s sake.

My questions to ponder: As I see it, my soul is where the real tests of life are occurring. While the Bible teaches us to not ignore our physical bodies, what might it look like to become more concerned about the condition of my soul? What fleshly-driven activity can I give up in my daily regiment of life in order to spend more quality time caring for my soul?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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