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  • Jonathan Palaci

Receive before you achieve! Part 1

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

a perspective to consider for a healthy soul.

It’s the start of a new year, and here is a perspective I want to ask you to consider with me for 2021: “Receive Before You Achieve." Why? Well, if I asked you… “What is the condition of your soul?” Would you be able to answer that question? Would you know how to answer it? Perhaps you might not even care. That’s fine, but the reality is that you and I urgently want to have a healthy soul, even if we don’t realize it. We want to be secure and confident at the soul level. We want our souls to have peace and to be at rest, as opposed to restless, no matter what circumstances are happening to us or around us.

Although we may experience and possess so many things in this world, including good things, we can simultaneously be horribly neglecting the health and sustenance of our souls. And there are serious consequences to an unhealthy, neglected soul.

What is the Soul?

Now, as I use the word “soul”, what do I mean exactly? The way I define the word “soul” isn’t the way it may be most commonly used by our culture today. I don’t simply refer to the non-physical disconnected part of our physical beings that lives on after we die. I define the soul as it is used in scripture, which does include the non-physical part of our beings, but it also includes the physical expression of our beings. Our souls make up our whole created existence, from the depth of who we are within our inner-beings to the embodiment of how we physically express or act upon who we are through our physical or external beings. We exist as living and breathing souls spiritual AND physical. In other words, we are human beings or human “souls”. A simple way of identifying our souls is by reminding ourselves that we are created human-BEINGS, rather than human-DOINGS. Therefore, in essence, what we do or what we possess in this world doesn’t define the health of our souls. Our families, our physical health, our material possessions, our responsibilities, having a good time, performing a good deed, working hard, succeeding, failing, and/or whatever else we may think is important or may make us happy, again, doesn’t define the health of our souls. Our souls thrive more on the meaning and identity of who we are rather than what we have or what we do. And with that said, let me introduce to you the power behind this perspective: “Receive Before You Achieve”.

Receive before you Achieve!

Learning to RECEIVE Before YOU Achieve is truly the only way to sustain us in a manner that will cultivate the assurance and comfort that our souls need to be healthy. This may translate and bear fruit into the other areas of our lives that we are responsible on achieving, but the moment we try to achieve in life what God has ordained to be received (as a gift), we inevitably set ourselves up in a direction of unhealthy self-sufficiency that may make us feel better about ourselves temporarily, but will ultimately lead us to a depleted and withered soul. God is our Creator and Sustainer, but most of all wants to relate with us as a Father who gives us good gifts to receive. Therefore, He wants us to receive before we achieve. Our lives are too consumed with life responsibilities that keep our souls constantly occupied and burdened. We’ve all got commitments to fulfill, deadlines to meet, exams to study for, family functions to show up to, bills to pay, and on and on. And these responsibilities will result in the natural feeling of being tired and weary, but it’s our souls that bear the true burden of it all. Therefore, if falling into an unhealthy addiction or pattern of behavior doesn’t take us off track from being healthy at the soul level, then being so wrapped up with the responsible cares of this world will. And the result of that is a malnourished soul. So what do we do? Well, we can’t ignore this and become passive about it, because that would be irresponsible and terrible for our souls. On the other hand, we can’t over-worry and become anxious, because that’s also draining for the soul. Maybe we can convince ourselves that a get-away will make things better. But we then quickly realize that our souls are just as unhealthy while we’re away as they are when we are preoccupied with our life responsibilities.

Again, and I stress this… We have been created to receive the things that are ordained by God to only be received and not achieved. Yes, there are matters in this world that are up to us to achieve, work hard, and earn. However, there are more essential and eternal gifts God has given us that can only be appreciated as they are received, not achieved. And only when we learn to receive them from God before we achieve anything in life on our own, then will we feed and nourish our souls in a way that won’t depend on what we achieve in this world. Whatever we achieve will only come after we are secure, healthy, and whole in what we have already received. So, what is it exactly that we are to receive? There are numerous gifts that God has given us to appreciate and receive, but I for PART 1 of this post, I want to simply talk about the source of them all. Allow me to use two different passages of Scripture that will make the answer plain.

First, we receive the gift of eternal salvation for the soul.

9 The true light (speaking of Jesus), which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:9-13

We also receive the gift of daily sustenance for the soul.

6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

The Gift of Jesus
God’s gift for us to receive for the security and nourishment of our souls is Jesus. Receive Jesus before you even think of achieving anything else in this world.

Why? Because Jesus has power and authority over all things and for all eternity. There is a huge difference between a soul that is confident upon the gift of Jesus and one that wants to be confident upon whatever he or she can achieve.

Jesus is not to be earned, yet He provides the greatest of rewards and inheritance. Jesus is a free gift who is accessible and available to simply be received by faith every day, all the time, and for all eternity. He is the source of what it takes to have a healthy soul. Now, if we don’t learn to RECEIVE Him within a world of achievements, we will always fall into the stressful and depleting cycles of this world, no matter how much we set out to achieve. However, if you receive Jesus Christ as your savior and your sustenance, you can live a set-apart life from the cycles of the world, and it will lead for your entire created being or soul to be filled with the assurance and acceptance that it needs to be full. After that, aim to achieve whatever you set your mind to. Go after your full potential of achievements. The difference is that your soul will be free from being defined by what your achievements will be, and as a result, your soul will be healthy for it. That is simply the way God wants it to be.

Now, I want be real. I know all this sounds counterintuitive and contrary to the way life works in the real world. In other words, I know that if you don’t put the time in first, or if you don’t work hard on “achieving” first, then you don’t deserve to “receive” the reward. And that’s correct. Work… then earn a paycheck. Study… then earn a college degree. Invest time into your spouse and kids… then have a healthy family. Exercise and eat right… and then be physically healthy. In fact, the Bible teaches that too. Scripture does teach us principles such as… You reap what you sow… or work hard to earn a living. Scripture also teaches us to pursue the virtues that will inevitably lead to success in life. So then, why am I bothering to emphasize the perspective that our achieving in this world depends on our receiving if clearly that seems contrary to the way the real world works? And I would say that’s true… EXCEPT for what is reserved by God to be the source of health for our souls by way of receiving.

HOW do we receive before we achieve?

How is it we are supposed to “receive before we achieve”? Where do we go? What do we do? These are the common questions people ask. But I’ll be answering this question on part 2 of this blog. Thanks for reading! Until then, Receive Before You Achieve!

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