Beware the barrenness of a busy life | Worship
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Jesus
Selling your soul in exchange for something is a plot trope older than the story of Johann Faust. In pop culture, it’s primarily conceived of in Christian terms – sell your soul to the devil, and you’ll never get to Heaven, but you’ll have something you want on Earth, whether that’s fame, talent, love, money, or something else.
I drink coffee with folks every week who would never admit that they have sold their soul to the devil. They imagine the devil as a cartoon character or comic book villain. In truth, he is much more beautiful and seductive than that. Don’t believe the lie. He is a wily one, ole Slew foot.
One of his favorite tactics is seduction. Part of what it means to be seduced is that the perpetrator knows our weaknesses and exploits them.
Do you feel unloved? Let me adore you. Do you feel insignificant? Let me worship you. Do you feel insecure? Let me take care of you.
When we listen to the silver tongued soul-whisperer, we find our deepest thirst quenched – for the moment.
We are like the frog who feels safe in the water because it is in the nature of an amphibian to find comfort there – all the while Mephistopheles is gradually turning up the heat on the pot and, before we know it, he has made a soup of our lives.
And the result of giving into his wiles is a vacuous soul. We may acquire lots of stuff; we may be busy, but our souls are as barren as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.
I read recently that the soul has no external gauge, so we can’t tell how full or empty, or in what condition it is in. Don’t you wish it did?
But there are some ways we can check the condition of our souls, if we can quiet the siren song of the evil one long enough to listen to what our bodies and our souls are saying.
Here are a few signs of a frazzled soul:
• Are you easily irritated?
• Are you excessively defensive when criticized?
• Are you increasingly indecisive about relatively simple decisions?
• Do you find yourself drawn to the refrigerator or cupboard when you aren’t even hungry?
• Are you thinking about shortcuts to success that on your better days you would not consider?
• Can't turn your brain off?
• Have you made a series of bad judgments?
• Is fear, anxiety and worry your constant companion?
• Do long sighs leak out of your lips like a giant balloon is being deflated? Does this happen several times a day?
• Trouble sleeping?
• When you relax, do you feel guilty?
There is a shy part of you that if you ignore it you will suffer tragic long-term effects. It is called your soul.
Many folks I know are wagering that because the soul is hidden that it is unimportant. But the valves of your heart are hidden, too, and yet if they get clogged, you are a walking time-bomb.
The good news is that Jesus is very concerned with the state of your soul.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Let those words become an earworm for your soul and go to the One who spoke them.