Pastor Chris Sabbatical – Week 1 “the Retreat”

Christopher Hushaw   -  

Pastor Chris: Sabbatical Week 1

I just returned from a 3-Day mountain top retreat kicking off my “Body, Soul, Spirit” sabbatical asking, “What is the “Body Soul Spirit” in my person?”

What is the body and spirit?

According to Genesis 2:7 God did not make a body and put a spirit into it like a letter into an envelope of dust; rather he formed man’s body from the dust, then, by breathing divine breath into it, he made the body of dust come alive, God’s Spirit was breathed into us.

Therefore, THE SPIRIT is that part of us that connects, or refuses to connect, to God our creator, i.e. the dust did not embody a spirit, but it was breathed into it the very image of God. Our spirit always points toward and exists solely for God. The Greek word for spirit is pneuma and refers to the part of a person that connects and communicates with God.

We know we have a BODY, that is THE FLESH, which is fallen – Genesis 3:8 says, “God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, [Adam and Eve] hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Because of their disobedience, “God banished him from the Garden… (v. 23).” God walked with them in Spirit (John 4:24), in their fleshly presence. Adam and Eve had a body but were perfect in God’s presence until the fall of original sin in their spirit.

What is the soul?

Because we live with one foot in this worldly realm with our fleshly self. And a second foot in the heavenly realm with our spiritual self falling short of God’s image placed in us because of sin (Romans 3:23), OUR SOUL struggles as a tug-of-war rages inside us. As George MacDonald said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul that has a body. Our soul belongs to you, but your spirit belongs to God.” Your soul is that which bonds our body and spirit together – we have one foot in the world in our fleshly body, and the other foot in the spiritual world. And our soul is caught between, which is our mind, how we think, and our heart, how we feel emotions, and the decisions we make. Ultimately, God gave us free choice in our soul to follow Him or to eternally be separated.

The Bible teaches that we consist of body, soul and spirit: “Each of us are embodied in our whole spirit, soul and body to be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:23).

Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us what happens when a person dies. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.” In other words, when a person dies, his or her spirit goes back to God, the body returns to dust and the soul, with all of our decisions and actions spanning a life time called to account before a just God where we stand for eternal judgment based on the Laws of Moses (the 10 Commandments). Genesis 35: 18-19, “And it came to pass, as her soul was departing, that she called his name Benjamin. And Rachel died, and was buried in Bethlehem.” And Revelation 6:9-11 tells us “the souls of the righteous dead are in heaven at the thrown of God on the last day to be judged according to His justice and righteousness.”

The truth of scriptures teaches us that while we are perfected and justified in our spirit by the substitionary atoning death of Jesus on the cross, our soul (our heart and mind, and the decisions we make) is what saves us. If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

If it so straightforward, then WHY do we struggle so much in this life?

Paul shares the struggle of our soul when he confesses,

21 ”So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being (the soul) I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers (my spirit) through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-25).

We all understand Paul’s struggle. I call it my DEFAULT SELF when my flesh pulls my soul back (that is my thoughts and emotions) to my old self. My only hope is the salvation of my spirit that has been perfected in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Can we lose our salvation because our sinful nature?

One of the devil’s oldest tricks is to make us believe that God will turn against us and take away our salvation if we commit another sin. Or possibly a worse sin in Jesus’ words, to judge others walk and deem them unworthy of God’s grace, and miss the log in our own eye. (Matthew 7:1-3). The Bible assures us of our faith in Jesus as our Savior in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (see also 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Yes, a person can choose in their soul to walk away from faith, that is the definition of an apostate. Paul warms Timothy, “By rejecting in their conscience [or soul], some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:18-20). Paul encourages Timothy to keep the faith and to keep a good conscience (or soul).

The great hero of the faith and the first bishop of the early church in Jerusalem, Peter, denied Jesus. What might be seen as the penultimate sin. And yet Jesus forgave him after his resurrection. Jesus asks Peter to examine his soul (his thoughts and emotions) asking him, “Do you love me, unconditionally?” Two times Peter responds to Jesus, “Yes, I love you as a friend.” But the third time Peter finds forgiveness from Jesus in his penance and finally confesses from his soul, “Yes Jesus, I love you unconditionally” (John 21:15-25). Even Peter’s denial was not enough to stop Jesus from loving him.

One of the lies of the enemy of our soul is to judge ourself, or others, when Jesus commands us that we will be forgiven to the amount we forgive others, and ourselves (Luke 6:37). Forgiveness (of ourselves and others) is the conviction of God’s Spirit inside of us transforming our souls. Forgiveness is the biblical key to maturity in faith (sanctification) unlocking God’s grace and unleashing the struggle of my default sinful self to be redeemed and renewed in my soul (thoughts and emotions). Romans 12:1-2 gives us this principle to live,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (soul). Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What is the big struggle in our life, “Body, Soul, and Spirit”? It is understanding the very mission of Jesus as he revealed in John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full.” But he reveals in the same verse, “The thief has come to steal and kill and destroy.”

There is a fight for the fullness of life inside of us by three primary enemies in the Christian’s life: the world; the flesh; and the devil (Ephesians 2:2–3, 1 John 2:15–16). It’s a battle for our relationships, our marriages, and our families, and so much more… it’s a fight for our soul (our mind, heart and the decisions we make)! And if the enemy can’t destroy our spirit, then he will go battle for what is near and dear and steal our love, peace, joy, and all the fruit of the spirit in us (Galatians 5:13-26) by attacking our soul.

Our lives are like an iceberg, there’s the part people see, but there’s also all the stuff they don’t see, the stuff beneath the surface. We tend to settle for taking care of what others see – like chasing money, fame/self promotion, and success in the world’s eyes – instead of tending to our SOUL.

But if your soul is the most important part of you, how do we properly care for it? It needs to be tended like a garden. God made it and it needs a keeper – and that keeper is you. Your soul needs to be tended like a garden to thrive in the way your Maker intended, in your original design.

Your soul will be revived as you learn to live your life WITH God. 

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

In the coming days and weeks in my sabbatical I will be tending to the garden of my soul – that part of me that brings life, and to the full. As I give my thoughts and emotions, and the decisions of my life to the Counselor and Guide of my soul, my hope and prayer is to see the Fruit of the Spirit take over my soul with more “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

I want to invite you to walk with me during my sabbatical as I tend to my “Body, Soul, and Spirit.” Maybe ask yourself, “Which part of me gets most of my attention? My soul or the parts of me that people see?” Come journey with me and let’s tend to our soul.


God, You made me and You care for me. Open my mind and heart to your work in my soul. That my body and spirit would live to the fullest. In the Name of the One who defends our soul. Amen.


22 ”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control [notice all nine fruit – Who doesn’t need each of these fruit in life] . Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” -Galatians 5:22-25