You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deut 6:5 ESV
While no one seems to know who exactly first expressed the aphorism “Know thyself,” the wisdom contained within is profound. Today we complete our overview of the seven areas of spiritual formation. Perhaps we should have begun with this one…shouldn’t all spiritual formation start with ourselves?
In summary, each Saturday, I take stock of my body, soul and strength. While numerous ways to do this exist, I just look at simple things. First, evaluate physical things: are you getting adequate sleep, exercise and personal down time? Are you eating healthy? Second, move to your mind: what is your stress level? Is your mind clear and healthy or over-stimulated, perhaps burned-out? Do you have any symptoms of anxiety, depression, moodiness? Could these be signs of an unhealthy balance in something? Finally, and most importantly, yet also most difficult, consider the state of your soul: How are you in your deepest core? Do you desire the things of God? Are you resting in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ?
Often our physical symptoms result from mental concerns that stem from soul problems, so we have to work things downward to their root. We may not sleep well (physical) because we are worried (mental) about something that we aren’t entrusting to the Lord (soul). By taking time each week to consider the state of my soul, I’m opening myself to the Lord Jesus to bring conviction. This conviction leads to change and to deeper spiritual formation. If our goal is to be renewed in body, mind and soul, we must begin with a deep look at ourselves. As the weeks race by, we must seize at least one day to reflect on the the state of ourselves before we continue to consider our relationships with the rest of the world.