Sometimes it is difficult to sort out who we are and what makes us tick. A common way of considering what God did when he made us in His image is to think in terms of humans as triune beings; that is, we live in a body, have a soul, and we are a spirit. It is easy to understand the body component: the “shell” we, the individual, present to the world around us. We are unique corporeal entities easily recognizable to one another; but what about the soul and the spirit.
In Genesis we read that after God formed man of the dust of the earth (the body), He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Since the formation of the body and the process of man becoming a living soul are described, it seems that “the breath of life” must refer to man’s spirit. Theorizing that man can be described as three distinct parts combined to produce a living, breathing soul inhabiting a recognizable body allows us to discuss who we are and what makes us the unique individuals we are forever becoming.
So what is this soul – this distinct component of humanity that develops over our lifetime? You may have heard it described as the mind, the will, the intellect, the emotions, and that place in each of us that learns, develops values, and becomes the center of our character; but where is it? How do we get in touch with the “who” we are now? Perhaps the soul can be better understood when visualized as a garden. A garden produces exactly what is sown; and reflects most precisely the amount of work that has gone into it. Its health and productivity requires weeding and tilling, feeding and watering, time and much care. A good crop demands the removal of rocks that block the seed as it is sown. Stubborn old roots must be pulled out to make way for new, healthy growth. Carefully chosen seed is required for the prepared soil; and the gardener must be on the alert ready to protect all that has been planted. The well-tended garden provides food for the gardener with enough left over for others who are hungry or are in need of the encouragement a perfect bloom can provide.
Have you checked your garden lately? Have weeds grown up to choke out your choice flowers or vegetables? Is tilling in order? Has an insignificant plant overrun what could be a prizewinner? Have pests entered and destroyed the harvest? Perhaps it is time to go to your garden – alone and while the dew is still on the roses. Talk to the Master Gardener there and discover who you are now and what He would have you do to prepare the garden of your soul for the coming harvest.