Soul Healthy

Last week we noted how being in the Word every day is a foundational influence for us to have the right mindset of “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:12). As we fill our hearts and minds with the good things from above (Col. 3:1-2), we can have joy and peace that the lost/world doesn’t know. However, understand that the good spiritual influences are not the same as the dopamine and adrenaline-jazzed thrills the world offers and to which the flesh easily becomes addicted. You have to decide in advance if your life will be filled with influences pleasing to the Lord or the flesh. (Hint: the more we are in the Word and love it, the less we will want the cheap thrills of this life.)

Nutritious food does not provide the tastebud-exploding sensation that foods like ice cream and Doritos do, but it produces a healthy body. In a similar way, spiritual influences don’t excite the flesh, but they do nourish the soul. There is a choice each of us must make. Will we be slaves to pleasing our flesh or desirous of the joy that comes from pleasing our Lord?

“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:13-14).

Oh my brothers, may we make no opportunity for the flesh. 

It Is So Good

We ended our last Seriously with the question: Does that mean we really can’t enjoy life? That question was based on Satan’s enticement to us that enjoyment in life is bound up with feeding/thrilling our flesh. I propose that the Christian’s best enjoyment of life will come through his relationship with Christ and serving Him, rather than doing entertaining, exciting, and fun things. Our relationship with Christ grows through edifying influences.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 tells us to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”According to the Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary “Prove” means: to test, examine, and scrutinize to see whether a thing is genuine or not, and deemed as worthy. “Good” means: excellent in its nature and characteristics, and genuine, therefore well adapted to its ends. These are great benchmarks for the influences we should want in our lives.

The foundational good influence in our lives will be the Word. Do you have daily time set aside to read and meditate on your Bible and pray? Are you leading your family in a nourishing time in the Word each day? Are you listening to Scripture, sermons, and doctrinally sound Christian books when you are commuting or at other times you are alone? 

What about spending time with people who are good influences – ones who demonstrate the good influences we are talking about? Frankly, this one is extremely difficult, and just because they go to your church, don’t automatically assume they will be good for you to spend time with. 

When a Christian’s mind is set on things above, he enjoys life on earth. Let’s look at a few more good influences next week. 

The Outcome of The Bad Influence

It seems too good to be true, yet the popular Christian today insists it is. “You can be an effective believer for the Lord and have what the world offers (as long as it isn’t sinful).” Might that idea be a major reason why our country is now “post-Christian?” Let’s consider where that propaganda originated by looking at Matthew 16:23 when Jesus said to Peter. “… Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Notice Satan was credited with what Peter said. 

What were the circumstances surrounding what might have been the strongest rebuke delivered by the Lord to Peter, one of His apostles, who would be commanded to go unto all the world making disciples of men? Jesus had just told them (in verse 21) He was going to “suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed.” Then He said in verse 24, “ … If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Suffering was not part of the apostles’ plan. Their hearts were not set on denial of self. Don’t many Christians share a similar mindset? 

Maybe Satan has continued influencing Christians by convincing them that they can have the good life with all the entertainment, sports, music, and movies they want as long as those aren’t outright sinful.

Might we have come under the influence of the propaganda being spewed forth that the believer can have both the Lord and the world? Is Satan whispering in our ears: “Sure, spend your time on all these things. Enjoy life while still being a good Christian. Jesus never really meant for you to deny yourself, and take up your cross, and follow Him. Paul really didn’t mean for you to ‘… seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth’ (Col 3:1). You can love the things of this earth and heaven and still be a good Christian.” Satan’s subtle influence continues to proclaim, “Don’t be a narrow-minded Christian. Enjoy life!”

Does that mean we really can’t enjoy life? Continued. 

Influence 3

Over thirty years ago, before we quit team sports, one of my sons remarked how he had been wondering how he would look with his hair spiked. I was shocked and couldn’t imagine where he got that idea. It turned out that several of his baseball team members wore their hair spiked. Spiked hair is nothing these days compared to wild, unnatural, ungodly fluorescent-colored hair. You scratch your head and wonder: Where do Christians get the desire to look so odd and of the world? “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). 

The answer is simple—rock stars, sports heroes, and lots of screen time. They want to be cool and accepted, so they look and act like their screen idols. They spend a lot of time following them. Didn’t Jesus say, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)? Brothers, how aware are you of what you and your family are being influenced by?“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Give Your Family a Stress-Free Mother 

While most of us love the Christmas season, sometimes the activities and things to be done weigh our mama-hearts down. Stress rises, and instead of a joyful season of worshipping Christ, we become frazzled  women running to and fro, impatient, and frustrated. How can we take the stress out of the Christmas season?


Perhaps the greatest stress reliever is to remember the words of Christ Himself. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). For Jesus to give us rest, we must spend time with Him. During the weeks before Christmas, are we truly coming to Him? Are we continuing in our daily time to worship Him through reading His Word and praying? Are we casting our cares on Him? “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). 2. 


Write down what you will be doing and want to do during the Christmas season. Often stress overwhelms us when our minds are trying to track, manage, remember, and juggle all that needs to be done. Computers crash when they overload their memory, and so do we. When you free up space in your mind by writing it down, there is relief. It is all in a safe place to be retrieved and referred to as needed.


The third thing you can do to relieve holiday stress is to eliminate. Once you have that list, determine if there are activities or duties that are no longer your priority. Just because you have always done it, doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it.

What Christmas activities draw your heart to Jesus? Which ones share Him with others? Which ones teach your children to love, teach them that it is better to give than to receive, or teach them to worship Him? Have criteria in mind to help you determine what your Christmas time usage priorities should be.

I would rather have a peaceful heart and do half as many Christ-related traditions and activities than to do the full measure of them feeling and acting stressed. 


Next take the prioritized list of Christmas activities and duties, and for complex tasks, write out needed steps to accomplish them. Now they are easier to achieve. With your available time, look at the lists and choose what you will tackle during that particular time frame.


You can have the best-prioritized list of Christmas activities, but if you don’t allocate the time to do them, you I will probably feel stressed. Try taking one hour per day in the month of December for Christmas preparations—a specific hour that you know you can consistently be committed to keeping. If you are a homeschool mom, you could shorten your school day by one hour for the month of December. Likely you will be quite pleasantly surprised with the progress you make on things like Christmas cards, online gift shopping, gift wrapping, meal planning, and make-ahead baking in just that one hour.

As you get closer to Christmas, you will know what one hour a day has done for you and increase or decrease the time according to where you are in relation to what remains of your goals.

I doubt that you like to feel stressed, or like the person you become when you are stressed. This Christmas season will you choose to give your family the gift of a stress-free mama?

Posted in: Mom's Corner