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Publisher's Summary

Judah Smith, New York Times best-selling author of Jesus Is ______, explores what it looks like to cultivate a healthy soul in the midst of a busy life and points listeners to the soul's only true home and place of rest and fulfillment: God.

"How's your soul?" Instead of a perfunctory "how are you?", Judah Smith asks people this surprising question, because he knows that the health of the soul - the deepest part of ourselves - is overlooked in the busyness of everyday life. But the truth is, all the things people most desire in life - stability, peace, hope, love - are rooted in the health of their souls, and they need an intentional daily journey to manage it well.

In How's Your Soul?, Judah explores the various facets and needs of the inner person, showing listeners how to cultivate healthy souls and leading them to the discovery that ultimately their souls are fully home - in a state of internal wellness, fulfillment, and completeness - only when they look to God, trust God, and rest in God.

©2016 Judah Smith (P)2016 Thomas Nelson

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Couldn't stop laughing! 😂

I completed this audiobook in a day because it kept me engaged with laughter. Just what I needed to hear to uplift me and encourage me to keep walking the walk. Loved that it's read by the author. His sense of humor along with the way he used his personal story life examples to tie into biblical points made it relatable and very much enjoyable to listen to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A timely read

I had just shared with some friends that my rhythm felt off, due to many recent hardships. After reading Judah's words and the hope they represented, I have a fresh sense of purpose and direction. Life is much bigger than living for the sake of doing and having, but of being
connected to Christ.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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love it

absolutely love it!!!!! So inspirational and an eye opener! I will defenetly recommend it to every one I know!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Surrender and surround

I love Judah's thoughtfulness and transparency. I got so much out of this book, but the part I will remember is surrendering to God and surrounding yourself with the right people. I also love what he says at the end. I've heard it so many times and it continually blows my mind and grounds me. As Christians we are going to live for an eternity, we may as live like it and make decisions based off that fact!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Intriguing

This book kept me interested. I love the author's perspective and humor. Definitely recommend to anyone - not just for soul searchers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing.

This book was definitely one of the best. Nothing short of a bestseller from Judah Smith. So happy that God placed this message on his heart and I cannot wait for the next!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jo
  • 01-17-17

Life-changing

Judah opens up words that I've read in the Bible many times in a way that I've never considered. What a powerful thing to begin seeing the peace from within from the very core of my soul

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An Evaluation of the Inside

First off, Judah is a character! His humor and delivery throughout the book is awesome. He really gets you thinking about an eternal perspective, a perspective off of us and on God and others. His real world examples are easy to connect with do a great job at helping the reader understand and think about his main points in each chapter.

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So Timely

This is what I needed to hear with where I am in life right now.

I felt the last chapter fell a little flat in the end in comparison to the previous chapters, but the bonus at the end. Hilarious. 😄

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  • C. Chiu
  • Eden Prairie, MN
  • 01-17-18

A hint of prosperity thinking to young believers

I am writing this review as a way to clarify thoughts about my own faith as well as out of a desire to help readers set this book in context. Like the author, I believe that I am on a spiritual journey and this review reflects my thinking at this point in time. The review is simply an attempt to be thoughtful about this book. To give context to my perspective, I am an American living overseas among a people whose culture is quite dissimilar to that of American Christianity. I am a Christian but, unlike the author, I did not grow up in a Christian family.

Intended Audience: New believers, particularly Millenial-ish Americans as well as people who struggle with spiritual inadequacy. The author also addresses non-believers at the beginning of the book and at a couple of points later in the book, but I believe that there are too many U.S. Christian cultural assumptions and jargon in the text to appeal much to non-believers. The book might also help some long-term believers who feel “stuck” in their spiritual walk.

I don’t think this book would be of much help for: non-believers, most people who have gone through deep suffering, persons who require deep spiritual healing with others, persons from non-U.S. cultural backgrounds and persons who are already quite mature in their faith. I think the book would be awkward for persons who are in deep poverty or deprivation although there are parts that could be helpful to people in general, regardless of their background.

Delivery: Judah Smith is an appealing orator and has a gift of speaking naturally and with bright emotional sincerity. The text is basically a series of sermons. In fact, there are a couple of sermon excerpt recordings in the audiobook. Especially in the first half of the book, the author’s frequent humorous asides and digressions were off-putting for me although I can see how they might hold the attention of easily distracted listeners or a young audience. The author is frequently self-deprecating and uses many personal illustrations. On the one hand, these help listeners relate to the author; on the other hand, one comes away with the impression that listeners should do what the author says rather than what he does. Overall, the author comes across as a typical middle-class American Christian who has the usual secular interests of young men in the U.S. A flavor of the author’s Pacific Northwest and California background also come through, although not so much of his “growing up in the ‘hood”.

Helpful parts: At the beginning of book, the author humbly explains his apprehension at tackling such a deep topic. This helps the reader see that the author himself is on a journey and his book simply relates some lessons he has learned up this point in his life. Judah Smith comes across, admirably, as someone who is excited about the Lord and is enthusiastic about sharing what the Lord has given him. This is reflected in the way he describes his sermon-creating process—they just come to him in the course of his daily activities and he doesn’t have to write them down.
A major theme of the book is how believers should prioritize their relationship with God (in their being, as opposed to by their doing) rather than get dragged down by rules and their failure to meet religious standards. The author repeatedly brings the reader back to God’s goodness and sufficiency and His promises to help us. People who feel that God holds them at arms length because of their failures would find comfort in this book. Likewise, people whose religion is based upon rules may learn a better direction. New believers who may be confused about everything said about an authentic Christian life may find a more succinct approach to true spirituality here.
I agree with the author’s definition of maturity being “when to say no” to things. I believe a more specific definition of maturity can be found in Hebrews 5:14.
I enjoy the author’s idea of aiming to have one’s soul be “at home” in Jesus. See Galatians 2:20.
As a very emotional person himself, the author does a good job of pointing out how the book of Psalms demonstrates emotional expression.
Judah Smith points out clearly that salvation is entirely from the Lord and not due to man’s efforts; in other words, no one should boast about converting anyone.
Unlike many Christian books from a U.S. perspective, the author does mention and highlight (once) the importance of relationships between brothers & sisters in Christ for one’s spiritual journey. However, I still hope for more of this in books of this kind.
At one point in the book, the author tells a poignant story of how he was faced, in the space of a few minutes, with comforting two different families who had each experienced personal tragedy. His responses to these families were sincere and sympathetic. They most likely reflect the attitude of most of his readers who would similarly respond, “what could I say?” This is a good start for people who do not know how to deal with others’ pain and is a good contrast to simple solutions and balms for such grief. However, the book does not go much deeper in addressing suffering.

Not so helpful parts: Although it is clear that the author is on a journey, I would have felt better if this book explicitly encouraged readers to press on and strive for spiritual understandings that go beyond the ideas of the author. Besides the fact that the Bible says a great deal more about personal spiritual growth and depth of soul, I believe that Christians need to learn from experience—and not just reading—on their road to sanctification. One of my concerns about this book is that some people, especially new believers, may mistakenly conclude that this description of spiritual life reflects the end of their spiritual journey rather than just the first steps. I believe that this book may be helpful for some people as long as they keep these caveats in mind:
1. The book does imply a prosperity-type of message and gives an exhortation based upon a prosperity-type assumption. This is clearest towards the beginning of the book where the author agrees with a statement about God wanting all of us to thrive and prosper. The idea that God wants our souls to thrive is subsequently repeated multiple times. By itself, these are not wrong statements, depending on what is meant by “thrive” and “prosper” from God’s point of view. Unfortunately, the tone of the book suggests that having a “thriving” soul is similar to feeling “happy” or to have good self-esteem. (Fortunately, he does not propose that God wants to give us all material prosperity or freedom from all illnesses). Readers of this book will not get a sense for the trials that believers face in ordinary life and in their walk with God. In contrast, the Bible says a lot about struggle and trials: Genesis 32:24-32, Genesis 47:9, John 16:33, 1 Corinthians 4:9-13, 1 Corinthians 15:31, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-9, etc. In the same vein, godly sorrow—as opposed to happiness—is also exemplified by a number of Biblical figures: Psalm 51, Isaiah 6:5, Habakkuk 3:16-19, Daniel 9:3-19, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, 2 Corinthians 7:6-13, etc. In addition, there is even good evidence from secular psychology that high self-esteem is of less value than people purport: Upson S. “Self-Esteem is Overrated”. Scientific American, September 1, 2013.
2. The author seems to conflate salvation with sanctification. Judah Smith is correct in saying that salvation is entirely in God’s hands, but the author is less clear when he implies that sanctification similarly involves a minimum of intentionality and effort on our part. In a kind of climax to the book, Judah Smith makes the statement that “consistency” is more important than reaching specific spiritual goals. Among the components of good spiritual consistency, he includes seeing oneself grow in Christ and maintaining a habit of focusing on one’s relationship with God. He later exposits from Philippians 1:6 that humans need only rest in God and He will do the work of making us grow. Although there is some truth to these statements, it is incomplete. First of all, the Bible does not support the idea of being complacent in a “consistent” walk with God. See Revelation 3:16. The goals of spiritual maturity and right relationship with God, not just the process, are important: Matthew 7:13-14, 21-22; Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, 2 Corinthians 13:5, Hebrews 5:11-14, 1 Peter 1:13-16, 1 John 1:15, Revelation 2:1-3:22. Secondly, this point about consistency does not address situations in which people deceive themselves or others about their faith and it does not address people who are in need of deep spiritual healing with the help of others (i.e., those who cannot heal without help); see Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, John 5:7, John 9:2-3, Romans 16:18, 1 Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 5:6, 1 John 1:8, 1 John 3:7. Thirdly, I am concerned that the way that consistency is described in this book will lull some into consistent spiritual mediocrity. The author’s standard for spiritual consistency is set quite low. God does have grace for sinners (see Romans 5:8), but I believe that God also has high expectations and standards for us (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Peter 1:15). We cannot attain these without His Spirit, but the Bible does not say this is a cakewalk. The Scriptures’ exhortations to holy living in the Bible are inconsistent with the idea that God expects us to simply ride His coattails to sanctification. Relationship with God is not one way. It involves an interchange—an often violent back-and-forth—in which God pushes us to do what we do not want to do in order to help us to grow or to glorify Himself (Isaiah 58:13-14, Jonah 4:2, John 21:18, Galatians 4:6) and get to know God, our Heavenly Father, better. Striving for growth is a godly activity: Philippians 3:13-14.
3. The author does not provide a clear example from his own life of how this type of spiritual lifestyle helps to overcome serious life challenges. As mentioned above, the author uses many personal illustrations, but these often demonstrate his own lack of maturity. Like many modern preachers, he disclaims his own level of success in implementing these lessons. Beyond this, his anecdotes give the impression that the author is not personally familiar with deep tragedy. I am sure that the author has had suffering in his life, but he does not testify much to this in his book. This absence reduces the book’s utility for people who find themselves in deep waters.
4. The book suggests—but fortunately does not insist—that a change of mindset can lead to spiritual satisfaction. At various places in the book, the author acknowledges some listeners’ deep pains and suffering, but he does not offer much to them other than pointing them to Jesus and the thought that everything will eventually be better in this life because of God’s promises. For many who are persecuted or dying for their faith around the world, this message falls short. There are other books which do a better job of addressing suffering (see Tim Keller, for example) so I would not downgrade this book in regards to the problem of pain. A full discussion about how people can come together to deal with suffering and injustice, how people can find healing from counseling and fellowship, how painful experiences bring us richer lives in Christ, how suffering leads us to be satisfied in nothing but God alone, etc. is beyond the scope of this book. For a few who suffer deeply, this book might bring a bit of light and right guidance.
5. The assumptions of the book clearly come from a middle-class U.S. perspective. This is unlikely to resonate with people from other cultural backgrounds. For example, the author’s personal stories describe a lower- to upper-middle class lifestyle with references to clothing, food and activities (such as dating or parenting) that may not be familiar to most people outside the U.S. The U.S. value of individualism is represented by the book’s strong appeal to individual change and individual satisfaction (rather than collective fulfillment). I came away from this book with the idea that the main enemy of soul health is not sin, broken relationships or satan but is rather feeling badly about oneself. While this is a common idea for people from the States, it is not a priority among collective cultures or in the Bible. Dying to self is one component of sanctification and is a major theme in Christian life: Matthew 16:24, John 3:3, Romans 6:3-7, Galatians 2:20. The author commendably mentions relationships with other people in a couple of places. However, issues of honor & shame, demonic oppression, severe relationship dysfunction and social injustice do not appear here and are beyond this book. The Bible, however, DOES have things to say about each of these, and, as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, it would have been better if the author made it clear to his readers that this book is only a beginning. Christians are meant to be equipped for serving each other (see 2 Timothy 3:16) in the church (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). This equipping involves personal growth and sanctification, and all believers are called to participate. Mr. Smith’s book can be a start to this journey, but it is far from being a roadmap to completing it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia Chukwu
  • 01-17-18

So very good.

easily one of the best books I've ever read. get it. It's amazing and funny but teaches a lot.

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  • RebeccaSivers
  • 08-11-17

Excellent!

Loved this book! Great insight by a great communicator. One tip...listen beyond the credits :)