Mark Ryan, Senior minister at Kensington Temple/London City Church, answers your questions.
If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
We all have many concerns, and in the Bible we see different people coming to Jesus with various types of questions.
One of the key things we notice is that Jesus would discern which questions were a smoke screen and which were important to answer head-on.
We, too, have to pursue the questions that will progress us rather than just satisfy idle curiosity. Our questions should be key to our spiritual life.
The teacher of the law asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Great question.
The woman at the well asked, “Which mountain shall we worship on?” but this was a distraction from her real issue.
Nicodemus asked, “How can someone be born when they are old?” He was someone who was genuinely seeking.
The point for all of us is to identify the issue that lies behind our questions. Do they come from a desire for progress or are they merely a detour to save us from having to face up to our real issues?
I’ve recently come across the term ‘soul-care’. What is it, and how can I make sure my soul is cared for?
Soul care is taking care of the real you, the inner you and your deepest motivations.
When you take care of who you really are then you give the Lord the opportunity to create the most potential for fruitfulness in your life.
Soul care is the art and science of managing and stewarding your life in such a way that there is something of what can be called an overflow or margin. That way you do not become depleted so that you have nothing in reserve.
Soul care demands that you give an honest assessment of both your strengths and weaknesses. Most of us downplay our strengths and overplay our weaknesses, but this is false humility.
We need to play to our strengths and be honest and seek help in our weaknesses. People who never make intentional plans to manage their lives find they come unstuck in situations that require the best of them.
To care for our soul, we need to build rhythms into our life. This will involve processing our emotions with others properly and honestly, caring for ourselves physically, keeping healthy relationships and finding the intimacy with God that our soul craves.
As we care for our own soul, we value ourselves in a way that honours God and his investment into our lives.
Is it always right to follow our conscience?
To ignore the impressions of our conscience is a very foolish thing. Whether you call it the ‘small voice within’ or ‘what you know is right’, it is an important life skill to keep true to yourself and the things that God has placed in your life.
When we feel pressured to fit in and go against our conscience it is dangerous; we become detached from what we are meant to be. When we do things in haste instead of taking time to consider the outcomes our conscience is warning us of, it will often cause regret later.
Our conscience helps us see when we want something from an unhealthy desire, and thus purifies us.
However, Proverbs 14:12 tells us there is a way that can seem right to us, but it will end in death.
So we cannot base our faith purely on how we feel. As we allow the Holy Spirit and Scripture to refine us, our conscience comes more into line with God’s heart.
We learn to strike a balance between ignoring what is going on inside us and becoming so sensitive about making mistakes that we live in fear.
Being yielded to the Holy Spirit and obeying Scripture will help us avoid acting rashly.
A car may be luxurious, but without any brakes it’s just plain dangerous. In the same way, our conscience will often put the brakes on, and on other occasions release you to act because it is giving you a green light of peace.
Becoming a Christian
Do you want to know more about God? We suggest you find your local Elim church and book an appointment with someone on the pastoral team. Tell them your story and they’ll be able to tell you exactly how to accept Jesus into your life. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetim. You can find your nearest Elim church at elim.org.uk/churches
First published in the October 2021 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered to your home.
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