LOSING YOUR SOUL
BY: JOHN R. GAVAZZONI
For years I've waited on the Spirit of Truth for clarity and depth of meaning in Jesus' teaching that one must lose his soul to find it, and that seeking to save one's soul results in losing it, but losing (the Greek word has the force of "destroy") one's soul for Christ's sake is to find it. Pondering this in-your-face imperative of the Lord using natural logic leaves one's head spinning. But I had one of those epiphany moments just a few days before sitting down to write this article in which---as per the Spirit's prerogative---a time had come for at least just a bit of clarity to be given me simply by hearing from my spirit an emphasis upon one word: "his." This losing of the soul is about the "his" factor. At the heart of the issue of the losing of the soul, or life, or self, for Christ's sake, is the issue of the perception and claim that our soul is OUR soul, that we are self-owners, that we are masters of our fate, and captains of our souls.
As long as we conceive of, live and relate to others as if our soul belongs to us, it must be lost. It, as such, must be destroyed. We can, I believe, set aside for the moment the fact that various translators choose to render the Greek, "psuche/psyche" as soul or life or self, and that often in devotional literature the choice is soul-life, because Jesus' sense can come through in any of those choices. Our soul, as the individualized uniqueness of our spirit-essence in this earthly life, does not belong to us. "Ye are the Lord's..." "Ye are not your own, you are bought with a price..." Our existence, our very personhood, lies within a greater Existence, a Greater Personhood, to which we belong. The member that we are is part of that One Body exclaimed by Paul. That One Body is the Body of the only One who can claim I AM as Primal Being. Turning to a natural analogy, my index finger belongs to me. It doesn't belong to itself. For it to think of itself as independent and autonomous would be ridiculous in the extreme.
It has taken nothing less than a string of soul-crushing crises for me to begin to grasp that obvious application of Jesus' lordship. God does arrange circumstances to expose in us whatever remains of our sense that folks have no right to treat us the way they do. Well, our Lord has the right to arrange humiliating circumstances, to bring you face to face with His right to break in pieces your self, AS YOUR self. You ARE because the Lord Jesus Christ IS. You were created IN Him, and you have no destiny outside of Him. It is at least somewhat understandable, in the living out of our natural lives, that a young man or woman, coming of age, might decide that his or her parent's plans for their lives is not acceptable to them, and that confrontation between child and parent occurs with the young man or young woman saying, "It's my life, and I'll live it the way I want to." That attitude, carried over into a believer's relationship to the Lord, is a no-no, to be sure. In the kingdom of God, God may allow such infamy for a season, but the time will certainly come when He will lay claim completely to what is His, and to treat what is His as He deems best.
For one to lose his soul AS "his" soul, is to find it. To become convinced that we are not our own, is to find ourselves at home in the embrace of God. There we find: "Oh, Lord, I see now. In belonging to You, I receive all that You are. I yield my right to myself. To think of myself as my own is to find that I have, as such, nothing to give to myself after all. It is because I am Yours that You give yourself unreservedly to me. How could it be that You, who delivered up your own Son for us, will not - with Him - give us all things?"