Who does my soul belong to? Do we take time to examine what we are putting in our souls? We typically eat what we like or is easy. Similarly, we put into our souls what we like or is easy. Have we stopped to think about the demands of our souls and who can rightfully make those demands?
It was God that made man in His image (Gen. 1:26-27). It was God that breathed life into man (Gen. 2:7). God said to Ezekiel, “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine” (Ezek. 18:4). As Jesus spoke to the Father, “Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). Peter echoes this idea and asked us to arm ourselves with this submission of the soul. “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:1-2). God made us, and it is our duty to submit our will to the will of God.
We need to make sure our soul’s desire is not misguided. It is possible in today’s culture to do whatever we feel. Feelings and fleshly desires are not a safe guide and lend themselves to guiding us down the wrong path. Paul wrote, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Gal. 5:16-18). This idea of flesh versus spirit has at its core the concept of our soul. Which will win out? Or which will we allow to dominate our souls? The battle is that we are spirit in a flesh “tent,” as Paul would say. So, if we are paying closer attention to the flesh, we have the temptations that are listed in this passage as the “deeds of the flesh.” However, if we keep ourselves in tune with what the Spirit teaches, then we are more likely to practice the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
Paul finishes his letter to the church in Thessalonica with these words, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:21-23). It is my prayer that we can maintain this focus on those things which are most important. “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).