By DeeDee Winter
I awoke this morning thinking of our exchange on the soul. Until the Holy Spirit gets this part of us settled in its rightness, we can never fully “be about our Father’s business”, because every time a negative emotion hits us we will either ask what is wrong with us, taking condemnation, OR confess it as sin. Imagine confessing the LIFE OF CHRIST within ourselves as sin!!!
We were created to bear Him and bring life to our ‘world’. His way of bringing mankind out of slavery to Sin was to die on the Cross, rise again, ascend into heaven and then send us His Holy Spirit. He will be the same dynamic IN US of death and resurrection and in doing so, bring those whom He gives us into light and freedom!
But we MUST first get settled about the purity of our souls…purely expressing Him!
After the Lord said to me “You are not jealous of her, but for her; it is My jealousy in you for her to know Me as you do” I began to search the Scriptures for what there was about our souls, because I knew if God spoke that word to me that it would be backed up by His Scriptures. What I found so far surpassed what I had hoped for! I began with a word search and found Matt 16:26…”What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
I was riveted and began to read back through that passage. The Spirit directed me as far as Matt 16:15. I will loosely paraphrase it all…
Matt 16:15 begins with Jesus asking His disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replies that He is the Christ and Jesus tells him flesh and blood did not tell Peter this, but it was revealed by His Father in heaven and upon this rock (of revelation and faith) He shall build His church. Jesus continues…with these ‘rock principles’ in place He says (19) He will give us the keys to the kingdom…that whatsoever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. This means that we have the power by our word to set folks free!
Jesus then says He must go to the Cross…to which Peter replies that he does not want Him to suffer (23) and Jesus calls him Satan! It is Satan that does not want the Cross…death to resurrection which is the very nature of God (giving Himself for others) and this truth will become part of every believer when we receive Christ Jesus as our Savior…which is receiving His LIFE! This LIFE is not just when we ‘go to heaven’ but also for every day we live on this earth in time and space. It is His nature, and now ours, to bear conflict in our soul and by our word, bring life to/in the object of our conflict…binding and loosing. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice…our reasonable service” as Ro 12:1 says.
Then comes the resounding climax (24 - 26) of this passage! “If any man will come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” This denying ourselves is to deny that we have ANY ability in ourselves apart from Him…NO independent self that is able to act on our own…nothing in our branch form apart from The Vine (Christ by the Holy Spirit) who IS our life! It is the clarion call to fully BE Who you are!
“For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.” I used to think the emphasis of this passage was on lose and life…but no longer.
I see the emphasis to be totally on “his”…again speaking of the illusion of an independent life apart from Christ…an independent ability to sin or do good. Lose THAT illusion!
And now to the verse that wraps up this exchange. “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Losing our soul…and ALL it is meant to be…is to be suspicious of our emotions and trying to get them under ‘control’. When we do not trust them, fear them or hate them we give up the ‘way’ the Holy Spirit is coming through us for those around us. It is Satan’s gospel that tells the Christian that his emotions are wrong and not to be trusted…and anyone telling us that is preaching Satan’s gospel!
It takes a ‘season’ for the Spirit to settle and train us in the right use of ourselves. We have been so used to fearing our anger, jealousy, hate love…yes, even love. Begin to say the truth about yourself…”Lord, here You are”. At first we will have to simply take these truths by faith, but ever so quietly the Holy Spirit will make them ours. Everything about me has been made right and God is living His life as me…for “In Him we live and move and have our being.” When we begin to see these truths about ourselves ALL of Scripture screams them at us. God will gradually expand our understanding to see that what we want is never for ourselves, but always for the other person's highest good.
The last few words of these verses “…in exchange for our soul” are vital for us to comprehend. Most of the Christian world wants their souls to be flat-lined with no ups or downs…oh maybe the ups are OK, but God help them if there is anything negative! God MEANS for us to have a fully alive and extremely active soul. It is through the activity of our soul that God calls our attention to a person or situation we “bind and lose” as we saw in v.19. We move into FAITH!
As we stated earlier…God’s nature/being is always to give His life for the other. He did this before the foundation of the world when The Lamb was slain. God chose then to be for more than Himself. He chose to be for us and His creation. He will be nothing less/do nothing less than He did before we existed. He will always lay down His life and take it up again. This is His life and is to be our life in Christ. His final commandment to us was “Love as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12).
It is imperative that these deep realities are settled in us and about us, in order that we can fully be about our Father’s business…in oneness/union with Christ redeeming those He brings to us.