"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."
// Psalm 43:5
This is not the first or only instance in the Bible of David questioning his own soul and its emotional disposition. A quick glance back to Psalm 42, or more broadly over all the psalms, reads like a playbook of the psalmist’s endeavors to pep-talk himself out of one state and into another. However, the Book of Psalms is no self-help book, but rather a book of humanity’s heartfelt cries to the Lord for God-sourced help.
Isn’t it interesting that David basically asks his soul, “What’s up man? What’s your problem?” Isn’t it even more interesting that he talks to his soul and redirects its focus? Do we stay in depression, anxiety, loneliness and despair, not because God is refusing to help us, but because we refuse to open our mouths and readjust our soul’s disposition? What if telling our souls what to do — “to praise Him” — is our means into the help of God?
The Holy Spirit indwells our spirits and empowers us to respond to Him. We lead our souls and bodies in holiness. You are a spirit that has a soul (mind, will, and emotions) and inhabits a body (see 1 Thess. 5:23). When we suffer negative emotions, these do not come from Above, where Christ is seated, but from this realm on earth that is still plagued with negativity and self-focused ideas.
When we give our souls a pep-talk and redirect their focus, we are saying, “Soul, its not ‘self-time’ — its time to look at Jesus and tell Him how wonderful He is!” You and I get to choose our emotional dispositions, one choice at a time, by governing ourselves with mouths full of praise.
If you don’t enjoy your emotional makeup at any given moment in the day, try telling your soul what to do. Allow your spirit to step forward and lead you into the help of God, by offering Him rejoicing and gratitude.
// Samuel Nicolosi