SOUL 101: The Basics


SOUL is one of those words.
We throw it around all over the place thinking we know what it means.  It is the subject of books, the material of songs, the text of Bible studies, and the topic of sermons.
The question is, “Do we really know anything about it?”
Christian psychiatrist and researcher, Jeffrey Boyd, found that most people believe they know what SOUL means, but when asked to explain it, can’t.



According to Dallas Willard, author, professor, and soul expert, “[We’re] a soul made by God, made for God, and made to need God.  ….What is running [our] life at any given moment is [our] soul.  Not external circumstances, not [our] thoughts, not [our] intentions, not even [our] feeling, but [our] soul.”
The SOUL is that aspect of our whole being that pulls everything together.  It is the life center of human beings.  In other words, the human SOUL seeks to integrate our will (our capacity to choose) and our mind (our thoughts and feelings) and our body (our little “power packs” filled with appetites and habits) into an integral person.  And beyond that, it is the SOUL that seeks to connect us with other people, with creation, and with God himself.


The SOUL’s Needs

It is the very nature of the SOUL to need. 
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
Psalm 42:2a
The SOUL, in fact, has an infinite capacity to desire.  Consider for a moment its myriad of needs.  The SOUL needs to be with God.  It needs a center and a future.  The SOUL needs rest, freedom, blessing, satisfaction, and gratitude… and it needs a keeper.
Of all the aspects of us:  will, mind, body, and soul, the SOUL is OUR ULTIMATE CONCERN for it is the SOUL that we will take into eternity.


Our Responsibility to our SOUL

Our ultimate concern, yet the one part of us that is the most often unattended.
  • The world around us, our current culture does not teach us to pay attention to our soul.
  • Our SOUL resides in our inner life where no other person can see it or has direct access to it. In its unseen abode, it wins no outward applause.
We are the keepers.  The care of our SOUL rests with us.  The task requires intention.  And it requires knowledge.  Anytime we assume care for something, we need to understand it, whether it’s a poodle or a silver tea set.
Over the next few weeks, we will look more closely at some of the needs of our SOUL, and we’ll consider some ways to meet those needs.