Have you ever had the experience of getting a new car and as a result suddenly noticing how many of them are on the road? They were there all the time but you didn’t see them until you were driving one.
Strangely enough that is kind of what I feel like when it comes to how often the Bible talks about the human soul. I started reading a new book by John Ortberg called Soul Keeping and now it seems like every time I read my Bible the author mentions the soul. For example, this morning, during my dedicated time with God, in 1 Peter 2:25, the Apostle Peter says,
“For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
As God spoke to me through that verse I came to a very quick conclusion. My soul needs a Shepherd and an Overseer and the only one that is qualified to shepherd it and lead it is God. Without his shepherding and leading my soul drifts. It wonders around like a lost sheep just like Peter says.
To have a lost soul is not just referring to a destination. It’s referring to a condition that if it doesn’t get cured will lead to a destination. But, it start’s as a condition. A lost soul is the one whose condition is having become disconnected from God and from the life God created it to live. If that condition is not cured in this life, it will become a permanent destination in the next. That soul will be separated from God forever.
So, how do we return to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls? How does our soul reconnect with God. That is where Jesus comes in! The reason a soul loses its connection with God is sin. Sin separates a person from God. It’s like a child who is walking in a by shopping center with their parents yet gets separated from them when they wonder away to look at a shiny toy. They were separated because they wandered away from their parents because they were enticed by something else. That is what each of us has done. We have wondered away from God because we were enticed by sin. And just like is often true of a child that has wondered away, we are not able to get back to God on our own. In our case, sin has created a wall between us and God that we are not able to break through or see through on our own.
So, Jesus came looking for lost souls! Isn’t that great news! God himself, when he saw that we couldn’t find our own way home, entered this world as a man to help us through the barrier and help us return to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. He came to secure our final destination so that if a person has received his forgiveness for sin they are assured that there soul will not be eternally lost.
However, here’s what I’ve noticed about myself. I can be assured of the eternal destination of my soul and still be struggling with the present condition of my soul. To secure your souls eternal destination you only have to return to Jesus once. However, to experience the healing of your souls unhealthy condition you have to return to him over and over again.
How do you do that? How does the lost condition of the soul get healed over time. How so we experience a whole life? That will be the topic of my next post but to begin to prepare for the answer I invite you to meditate on these two verses:
“I have set the Lord always before me.” Psalm 16:8
“…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5