The Beauty of a Broken Soul

Posted on October 11, 2023

A never before released blog from John Paul Jackson, The Beauty of a Broken Soul. Written in 2010.

A little over a year before Jesus was crucified he expressed to those following Him that if we love our life, we will lose it, but if we hate our life, we will gain it — and be able to keep it. Matthew 16:25. The word life in that passage is psuche, which is the same word for “soul.” So He was saying that if we love our soul in this world, we will lose it, but if we hate our soul, we will gain it. 

In the same passage, verse 24, Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.” Jesus is clearly indicating that to, “Take up your cross and follow Me” is to cast aside all that belongs to one’s soul. That means we must give up that which the soul says rightfully belongs to you. The process of yielding to the cross crucifies one’s selfish desire, and self-focused interests in order to save ones life (soul) by putting the spiritual interests of others ahead of your own. 

One year later, in the Garden, moments before they came to take Him, Jesus would be tested with His own words. In the most poignant moment in the history of mankind, Jesus would utter “My soul is exceedingly troubled.” So we find a remarkable paradox – Adam gave up his spiritual life in a “garden” to gain his soul, and Jesus freely gave up His soul in a “garden” to give us all spiritual life.

What does all this mean? As humans, we are comprised of body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Our soul (mind, will and emotions) quickly puts itself in charge of that group. We learn at infancy that if we make a fuss about what we want, it will be given to us, and we build on that understanding as we grow into adulthood. So through the natural process of life, our soul strengthens. It becomes dense and thick, like stone. The more we rely on ourselves — on our own understanding and perspective — the less we resemble God. This is why our spirit must rule instead; it is the part of us that comes alive when we meet Jesus. It is the part of us that is like Him: His seed, which makes us the children of God.

How does God uproot a soul that is hard, fast and determined to stay? How does He cut through our opinions, our thought processes, our wants and desires that may or may not be aware of their truly earthly state? 

Here in Texas, we have oil and gas wells the way some states have swimming pools. You can’t drive more than a few miles without seeing one. After an oil pocket has been drained, the oil in the surrounding ground is removed through a process called fracking. It is a little more complicated than this, but basically, they take a huge machine, hook it up to the wellhead and pump an incredible amount of pressure into the earth, which fractures the rocks and causes the oil to drain into the empty pocket. This makes the well three to five times more productive. 

When we give our life to Jesus, that outer shell is penetrated. Our spirit is made alive. We are reconceived. We become the literal children of God, blood of His blood, made alive through His seed (1 John 3:9). 

But just as a physical conception is hardly the end of the growth process, so it is with our spiritual conception. After that first puncture in the ground, the fracking begins — not because God despises who we are, but because He wants to bring the real us to the surface. He allows the pressure to come to the soul, and the soul begins to fragment. We experience things in our lives that destroy our confidence in ourselves. We find we cannot trust our mind, intellect or even desires. Our confidence in our emotions is totally obliterated. God’s process of spiritual fracking is meant to crush our soul, and it is very successful. He breaks away the stone that keeps us from Him, so what is of Him and like Him can appear. 

As this happens, our spirit begins to function as it was created to function. What does that look like? It looks like what happened in Acts, when Peter’s shadow fell across people and they were healed. As our soul becomes broken, fractured and permeable, our spirit floods though, and the Light we carry becomes more and more visible. We become like our Father. When the world looks at us, it sees Him.

As uncomfortable as it may be, the pressure of God brings us eternal life that will last. What are you facing right now that feels like it is crushing you? It feels that way because it is! And on the other side of this, if you are willing to take up your soul and follow Him, you will find Him at a level that is deeper and richer than anything you have experienced before.