This past week, I spoke with one of my very close friends, and they brought up a topic that sparked much consideration in my heart. One that I want to share with you over the next few moments. They began to ask me, “how do I know my soul is on the path of growth? And what are the key markers that my inner life is characterized by abundance?
I have to be honest with you in saying this stream of questions caught me off guard and awakened a deep place of contemplation.
In times past, I have spent much time praying and asking the Lord to grant me small portions of insight on how to live the abundant life that Jesus promised every one of His disciples. I believe that many Christians have a deep desire to grow and thrive in God, but because their souls are not growing, they cannot function in various areas of life.
After this phone conversation, I took some time to pray and consider what causes our soul to continue growing, how we identify the times in our life when we become stagnant in spiritual growth, and finally, how we distinguish the difference between a growing soul and one that is stunted in spiritual maturity?
The Stagnant Soul Defined
Paul says in Romans 13:11, “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11 NLT
I like to define the stagnant soul as a condition in which our spirit or inner being has not been fully awakening, which causes certain facets of our inner life to remain inactive and ineffective.
We can often see this when we have accepted Jesus and desire to progress in our walk with the Lord, but for some odd reason, we always seem to “hit a wall” or lack strength and character in certain areas of our spiritual journey.
People with stunted souls are often faith-professing, born-again, Bible-believing, church-going Christians. They can even attempt to love others and serve in ministry. But when it all boils down to it, their inner life and daily productivity do not match their spiritual position. They are known for “doing for God” but never quite really resting in the reality of “being with God.”
I like to describe the soul (inner life) of many as existing in one of two conditions. In some areas, it is a beautiful temple through which the Holy Spirit lives, and the abundance of life can be seen all around. But in other cases, it is a prison or a battleship, only ready to do one thing—fight for what little life remains onboard.
The Soul at Work
As I began to think about this more sincerely, I listed several areas that allowed me to reflect on if my soul was growing or stagnant:
The growing soul senses the presence of God in worship.
The stagnant soul can only believe God is present because they cannot feel His nearness.
2. Quiet Time
The growing soul feels the Father’s love as they spend personal time with Him.
The stagnant soul is a desert to God’s love and the water of the Word.
3. Communication with God
The growing soul communes with God regularly (dreams, insight, impressions).
The stagnant soul cannot hear Him and often believes those who do, fool themselves.
4. Personal Health & Wellness
The growing soul quickly recovers from sickness and has joy in the trials of physical illness.
The stagnant soul heals slowly and entertains despair when physical illness comes.
The growing soul is inspired to embrace their God-given creativity.
The stagnant soul is never inspired. They only mimic what they cannot create.
6. Relationship with Time
The growing soul reflects on the good times of life, hoping they will come again in the future.
The stagnant soul is confined to the pain of the moment by reliving the past.
The growing soul can discern the genuine meaning of conversation from the heart.
The stagnant soul can only connect with logic and never genuine emotion.
8. Life Direction
The growing soul listens to the direction of the Holy Spirit to prevent them from committing sin.
The stagnant soul can only be remorseful after succumbing to temptation.
Emotional Healing to the Stagnant Soul
If you have read through this list and identity with the difficulty of having a stagnant soul, I want to offer you hope! God desires that you receive emotional healing within your soul today!
Once again, Paul says in Ephesians 5:13-14 NLT, “evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Healing from a stagnant soul was made available thousands of years ago on the cross and can be applied in your life at this very moment. Movement from a stagnant soul to a growing soul happens when we:
1. Recognize the problem.
2. Set our will to forgive everyone (especially our natural father and mother) who may have influenced stagnation and the lack of spiritual development in our lives.
3. Choose to live in the fullness and abundance that our heavenly Father offers each day—Life!
Prayer for the Stagnant Soul:
I encourage you to pray the prayer below as you seek to see your soul grow and flourish today.
Father God, I confess my soul is not awake, effective, and functioning as You desire. I take this moment and confess any areas of sin that may limit an abundant relationship with You. [Take a few moments and confess any sins if known.] I ask Your forgiveness for how I have wounded and influenced stagnant souls in those around me. I repent for my partnership and inability to live life.
Heavenly Father, I ask you to awaken my soul and my spirit. Thank you for believing in me and empowering me to live for You. I choose life. I choose joy. I choose fullness in You.
Help me to see Your desire for my life and those around me. Guard my heart and soul to respond only to You as I walk with You daily. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.