One of the best books that I have read in the past five or so years, is titled Soul-Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg. I don’t know if it is just the season of life that I have come through or what, but this book more than any that I have read in years spoke volumes to me.
Ortberg was mentored for years by Christian philosopher Dallas Willard. Throughout this book, Ortberg takes many of Willard’s philosophical concepts and puts them in easy to understand language. The book is divided into three main sections: 1. What the soul is; 2. What the soul needs; 3. The soul restored.
Rather than write a synopsis of the book, I thought I would just share some of my favorite quotes from the book.
“Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life”. Attributed to Dallas Willard
“The soul is never satisfied without God.”
“The world teaches us to be more concerned with the condition of our cars and careers over the condition of our soul.”
“One of the hardest things in the world is to be right and not hurt other people with it.”
“You’re a soul made by God, made for God, and made to need God, which means you were not made to be self-sufficient.”
“Our world has replaced the word soul with the word self, and they are not the same thing. The more we focus on our selves, the more we neglect our souls.”
“The more obsessed we are with our selves, the more we neglect our souls.”
“What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become.”
“The soul is what connects all those innermost parts together, connects them with God, and was made for harmony all the way through. Notice how the psalmist writes, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me.” In other words, it is my soul that connects “all that is within me” and that cries out for integration, for wholeness, for oneness, for harmony. This can only happen when my soul — my whole life — is connected with God. This is precisely why when somebody asked Jesus once, “What is the most important of all the commandments?” he answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” It is not coincidental that all the parts of the person we have been talking about are here in the most important commandment. Your heart (that is, your will, your choices), your mind (all your thoughts and desires), your strength (all of your body), and your soul are all to be bound together and focused on love of God, and then the love of all that flows out of this.”
“Soul work is war. Spiritual war.”
“I and no one else am responsible for the condition of my soul.”
“Every day. I wrote Dallas’s words on a piece of paper, and they hang above my office door: “Arrange your days so that you experience total contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God.” They are the first words I see every morning when I come to work.”
I highly recommend Soul Keeping. Over the past few months, it has become one of the books that I make sure to always keep in stock at Hobe Sound Christian Bookstore.