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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

“You Don’t Have a Soul”

You and I see everything in life through a perspective, usually our own. From a human perspective, we are physical creatures in physical bodies, and we live in a very physical world with physical demands, comforts, and desires.

But we know we also have souls—or we wouldn’t be reading this devotional. To that end, we commit to Christ, go to church, read our Bibles, and pray with the expectation that when our earthly lives our over, our souls go to heaven.

But God does not seem to share our perspective. He sees us differently.

Throughout the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, we get a clear and repeated indication that allegiance to Yahweh is a far higher priority than human life itself. In Deuteronomy 13, God even prefers that people be dead than turn away from him. On the other end of Scripture, and echoed in between, James 4:14 states, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (NIV).” Though God blesses our earthly lives, these same earthly lives are secondary to him. He’s primarily concerned about the bigger issues of eternity and our spiritual state.

We would do well to think in the same terms. Pastors sometimes stimulate people by asking, “Are you a physical creature on a spiritual journey? Or are you a spiritual creature on a physical journey?”

Many people don’t even think about that in their pursuit of physical demands, accomplishments, and comforts. Some people indeed seek spiritual things, yet the predominant goal still seems to be: Whoever gets the most toys wins.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God “has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (NIV). We have eternity in our hearts because we are primarily eternal creatures who inhabit temporary physical bodies. But the physical can block our view of the eternal to the point that we cannot “fathom” it.

The more we grasp God’s—the Bible’s—perspective on things, the more we see that our physical lives are temporary and secondary to our spiritual lives, which are eternal. We are eternal spiritual creatures on a short physical journey.

To fully grasp this will change our perspective on life and, hopefully, how we live it.

C.S. Lewis took it one step further and said it more bluntly: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” This yanks us out of theoretical pondering down to gut identity. At first it sounds freaky.

I don’t have a soul? Oh my.

I am a soul. That’s my eternal nature, my core identity.

I have a body. It’s external, temporary, just like the world I live in.

My body is getting older and will die. My soul is getting younger, as I grow in faith, and will live forever. Knowing this, how could you and I possibly think more of our bodies than our souls?

Note to self: I-am-a-soul. I-have-a-body.

I am an eternal creature in a short-term body. I can never be a “normal” person again. Can you?

Copyright © 2017 Peter Lundell. Used by permission.

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