“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. (NIV)
His soul was troubled, yet He glorified the Father. Yesterday, we talked about how times of suffering are great opportunities for us to glorify God. But how can we glorify God when we are overwhelmed. First, it is important to understand the nature of our soul. We are souls. Our physical bodies contain our souls. Our souls are eternal and they will live forever either in the presence of God or Hell. But we are not spirits. We have spirits. My spirit is the part of me that is capable of communing with God. I connect with Him in my spirit. Let’s look at David’s psalm:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. (NIV)
David is downcast, but then he personifies his soul and then speaks to it saying, ‘Put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him.’ This is David gathering from his spirit the relationship and faith He has in God and calling upon his soul, his being, to join with his spirit where he praises God. Jesus was troubled in his soul, but still glorified God by accessing the strength of God in His spirit. The Holy Spirit communing with His spirit gave Him the strength and power to glorify God even as He suffered. If we are going to glorify God in times of suffering, we must discipline ourselves to operate from a spiritual posture. Thinking spiritual thoughts, singing spiritual truths, and conversing about spiritual matters help move us into our spirit where we experience the power of the Holy Spirit to glorify God.
My soul is corrupted by sin. It is my sinful nature. In my natural being, I oppose those things that are spiritual. When we are in an unspiritual mindset, we cannot glorify God because we are focused on self. As Christians, the Holy Spirit resides in our spirit, but as sinful people, we are quite capable of ignoring the Holy Spirit. We must will ourselves to be spiritual so that we can hear the words of the Spirit, receive the love of the Spirit, be sustained by the Spirit. When we do this, the mind of Christ will overpower the sinful nature in us. His thoughts will become our thoughts. Not that we can somehow wrap our brain around the fullness of God. But the Holy Spirit will give us the power to grasp the wisdom of God to some degree so that we can see God’s plan for our suffering.
What we feed our soul make a huge difference in our ability to give glory to God. If I feed my soul things unspiritual, I will operate outside of my spirit and without the Holy Spirit. But when I feed my soul that which is spiritual, I will myself to be spiritual connecting and conjoining with the Holy Spirit. The books I read, the conversations I have, the music I listen to, the places I go, and the friends I keep then play a major role in my ability to give glory to my Father in Heaven.
These are things we can control. It is our choice. We are never outside and separated from the Holy Spirit living in us except by choice. This is not to say that we ‘live in the clouds’ as they say. My grandmother used to say that Christians can be so spiritual that they are of no earthly good. We don’t ignore our soul nor the souls of others. Willing ourselves to operate out of our spirit is not the same as ignoring our soul. We force our soul to commune with the Holy Spirit in our spirit. If we ignore pain; if we pretend that nothing bothers us, then we are only creating a façade that will not last.
As Jesus and David acknowledged the state of their soul, but then turned their soul back to their spirit, God is glorified. The miracle of joy in our spirit though our soul mourns glorifies God. The miracle of hope in our spirit from the Holy Spirit even as our soul struggles with depression glorifies God. The contrast between what I experience as a sinful man compared to what I experience as a child of God communing with the Holy Spirit reveals the greatness of our God.
One of my favorite Scriptures is “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” -Phil 4:13. But if I can do all things, why do I struggle. If I can be joyful, why does depression dominate me? If I can be bold in my faith, why does fear choke my testimony? If I can be the spiritual leader of my home, why am I still selfish? The answer is that I haven’t yet disciplined myself to operate out of my spirit. I try to do too many things without the Spirit. To be more than an overcomer, I have to force my body language, my words, my facial expressions, the use of my hands and feet to operate out of my spirit where the power of the Holy Spirit becomes my power. It is where the joy of the Holy Spirit becomes my joy. It is where the hope of God becomes my hope. It is where I access the viewpoint of God in all things and find all I need to glorify God no matter how bad things seem.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NIV)