Fuel for the Soul—Part One
What makes humans different from all other mammals? We have a soul, that is, we are a soul with a body—a spiritual soul. We don’t live by instinct, but reason.
We have emotions connected to our thoughts, which effect our behavior. We are moral beings and are made like our Creator.
Generally speaking, we know right from wrong. We reflect on the past, imagine the future, while living in the present. And we need something more than just food, water, shelter, and other basic necessities. We need nourishment for our soul.
A need to know
The first human was created in the likeness or image of God, as are all humans. Humankind was created to rule over all other creatures on the earth, in the sea, and the air (Gen 1:26). This was the original design.
God also gave the first humans responsibility and purpose (Gen 1:28-30). He also gave us the capacity to think and reason (Gen 2:15-17), along with the need for companionship (Gen 2:18-25).
We also have the capacity to be wrong. This is made clear in Genesis 3. We have an innate need to know the truth, which spurs our curiosity and imagination. This enables us to be creative and productive.
“What is truth?”
But what truth do we need? Many claim to know and understand the truth, but all truth is not the same. This is revealed in the dialog between Jesus and Pontius Pilate, where Pilate asks, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)
I was somewhat like Pilate earlier in my life. I sought out truth from various sources including the Bible. Along with other religious and philosophical books, I read the Bible every day for about two years.
Did I understand what I was reading? No. I was like the Ethiopian reading from Isaiah whom Philip encountered (Acts 8:30-31). I needed some guidance, but where would I go and who could help me?
Fuel for my soul
Right before 1970, I was invited to a church where the Bible was taught in a simple, clear way. This church became a reference point for me.
I still wandered a while longer, but returned there, made a commitment to be a disciple of Jesus, was grounded in the truth, and began serving in God’s kingdom.
What was the key? The truth of God’s written Word. I realized it was the fuel I needed for my soul to grow in a healthy way. It was the nutrition—the food—my soul longed for and needed.
Spirit and life
As pointed out by many, when jesus was tempted by the devil, Jesus answered him with the truth of Scripture (Matt 4:1-11). The devil’s first temptation appealed to the Lord’s hunger, after a 40-day fast.
Jesus’ answer was, ”‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt 4:4). This is a reference to Deuteronomy 8:3, where God reminded His people that our spiritual need is greater than the physical.
This is what struck a chord in my heart. God’s truth is spiritual in nature and is the only thing that satisfies my soul.
Jesus made this clear to His first followers—
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63)
But not everyone either accepts or realizes this, only those with a personal commitment to Jesus. Here is Peter’s testimony about it—
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
What do you think is the best way to be nourished in the truth of God?
What role is the church to be involved with this?
We’ll look at answering these two questions in a follow-up post soon.