Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” [Matthew 16:24-26 ESV]
Soul is a word that conjures up all sorts of mystical imagery.
In this passage the words 'life' and 'soul' are the same word in the original text.
The transliterated word psuché is the origin of our word psyche.
So. To me. The word is not mystical but descriptive of human essence.
In that sense the soul is not any more immortal than the flesh that it lives in.
Yet Jesus speaks of a way that a mortal soul can take on immortality.
He teaches us that those who lose their souls for him will find true life.
In denying ourselves, and our ways, for Christ, we find salvation.
A salvation that is eternal and where our souls become immortal.
To be sure, Jesus is not speaking of a life filled with fleshly works and service.
He is not teaching a works based salvation or righteousness.
In contrast he is saying that those who have been born from above act differently.
In reality, following Jesus is difficult because love is difficult.
Love causes us to deny our preeminence and put others' needs before ours.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I think that it is true. We find our essence when we lose ourselves for the sake of Christ.
Following Jesus. Denying my selfishness. Taking up his example. This is the essence of life.
Such things evidence the fact that our lives we have taken on immortality
I need you today Lord. Help me to deny myself, pick up my cross and follow you.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.