OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            Each human being has been given a soul by God.  The prophet Zechariah taught that it is the Lord that “formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1).  Jesus stressed the importance of the soul during His earthly ministry with these words:  “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24).

            Many in the world never consider the state of their soul.  They live without restraint.  They live for the here and now.  What lies beyond the vale seldom, if ever, crosses their mind.  They are much like the rich farmer who said:  “…Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19).

            The Christian, however, is supposed to be different from the world.  His reason for obeying the gospel was to purify his soul from sin (I Pet. 1:22).  He knows that this world has no guarantee of tomorrow (Luke 12:20; James 4:14).  He is also aware that the hereafter contains two alternatives.  One of these involves the destruction of the soul (Matt. 10:28).  With these thoughts in mind, the Christian is continually cognizant of his soul’s relationship with God, or, at least he should be.

            Sadly, however, some Christians seem to forget that they have a soul.  There are many things that lull them into such a state of forgetfulness.  The cares of this world can cause the Christian to forget about his soul.  They present themselves in such a way that they are deemed to be very important.  Work, sporting events, and educational pursuits fall into this category.  Individuals, young and old, spend countless hours in these endeavors.  The kingdom of God and His righteousness are put second or third on their list of “to do’s.”  The individuals who engage in these worldly cares have numerous rationalizations for their behavior.  Their earnestness for that which is worldly manifests the fact that they have forgotten about their soul.  Jesus spoke of these individuals in His parable of the sower.  “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19).

            Another reason some forget their soul is because they become entangled in the practice of sin.  The sin in which they engage is enjoyable.  It has immediate benefits to them.  It often seems to be a harmless practice.  Over time, however, sin begins to take control of one’s heart.  It becomes the master that one serves.  The soul is no longer important.  Sin hardens the heart to such an extent that one’s conscience is no longer operative.  If the person is not exhorted and admonished, his soul may never return to God.  Thus, the Hebrew penman writes:  “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13).

            Another cause of one’s forgetting his soul involves conflicts between brethren.  Conflicts center on an issue.  Both parties express their ideas as to how the issue needs to be resolved.  These solutions usually involved the satisfaction of a need the person or party has.  In the conflict both people will fight to the death to satisfy their need through their solution.  Emotions usually run high.  Inappropriate language springs from their lips.  Behaviors unbecoming of a Christian are often displayed.  Somewhere in the heat of the battle, their souls have been forgotten.  The fight takes priority.  It is victory at all costs.  James wrote about these conflicts in his brief epistle.  “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.  This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:14-16).

            It seems impossible to think that any child of God could forget his soul, but it happens.  The cares of the world, sin, and conflicts with brethren can cause this to happen.  Satan rejoices when the soul ceases to be of grave concern to the Christian.  Let each of us resolve to deliberate about the state of our soul often.  Paul challenged the Corinthians to do this in II Corinthians 13:5.  “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobate?”  If we forget we have a soul, we can rest assured that in the hereafter we will always be reminded of its importance (Luke 16:22-24; Matt. 10:28).