Get Down to Get Up
On some Mondays the soul awakens and feels worn down, and it’s only the start of the work week. Some weeks the soul feels tied down, some months shot down and some years absolutely run down. Any further down and the soul will end up on the other side of the planet. It’s hard to get up when the soul is down.
There’s a lot of types of down, but let’s suffice our inquire with two types:
The first type is when the soul is in a low place. The Bible often calls this ‘despair’. When we pay attention to the psychological reality of our neighborhoods, we become aware that a lot of people are down in despair. According to a 2020 study, the World Health Organization concluded that depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association reported in 2018 that adolescents aged 12 to 17 had the highest rates of depressive episodes per age group, followed closely by young adults aged 18 to 25 years old. A soul that stays in a low place concludes all is futile and exclaims King Solomon’s sentiment: “so I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world” (Ecclesiastes 2:20, NLT).
The second type of down is when the soul is in a humble place. This is primarily different from despair for it’s a state of being that acquires wisdom and has hope for the future. Paul exhorts the Colossians to cloth themselves with “ tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). If humility is to be caught it must first be sought. The soul can intentionally move from despair to humility by first slowing down. Like Jacob, we too can awake and say, “surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it” (Genesis 28:16). Slow down. Don’t just be busy. Don’t sleepwalk through life.
After a slow down, the soul then needs to quiet down. It is both noisy outside and inside the soul. There are near an infinite amount of distractions, vying for attention that is rightly deserved by God. Each distraction claims to be the most important or the best or the grandest, and so on. The Old Testament prophet Elijah witnessed God’s power first hand but still struggled with despair. While his soul struggled, God directed Elijah to a mountain and came to him in this way:
“And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 9:11-12).
The Holy Spirit often speaks to the soul in a gentle way. Quiet down to hear Him.
Once the soul is focused again on Jesus, a lay down needs to happen. All day the soul is used to picking up different burdens, causes, responsibilities, pains, and desires. Weighed down by existence, the soul can tire and give into despair, drifting from the Author of life, God. Jesus gives us a daily alternative: “if you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Luke 9:24). Laying down the life of the soul for Jesus means eternal life. And how light then are the things of this world to the soul who lives for Jesus. How much better and easier then to get up after the soul’s been down.
Get down to get up. Practice humility rather than despair. Slow down, quiet down and lay down the life of the soul to Jesus and the soul will rejoice:
“The Lord is King! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad” (Psalm 97:1).
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