All of us understand the importance of caring for our body. Our culture reminds us of it all the time. We know that diet and exercise are important. We may not actually do anything about it, but at least we recognize that failing to care for our bodies will have consequences. But what about caring for our soul? There’s not a lot of attention given to “soul care” in our culture. In fact, to many, the very idea that we have a soul is confusing at best and nonsensical at worst. Even people who go to church have a difficult time defining what the soul actually is.
The Bible talks a lot about the soul. And it talks a lot about the consequences of ignoring our own soul. It reminds us that the “inner life” (that which is unseen by the rest of the world), is even more important than that which is seen. In his book, Soul Keeping, John Ortberg says, “The soul integrates will, mind and body.” The soul, when it is healthy, is what enables us to live integrated lives where what we believe and the choices we make and how we behave are in harmony. From the Bible’s perspective, it’s not so much that we have a soul as it is that we are a soul. The soul is the very center of who are.
Our soul doesn’t come with a gauge or a measuring stick. And no one else but God really knows the condition of our soul. That’s why it’s so important to not ignore it. So much is at stake. That’s reflected in the haunting question Jesus asked his disciples, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?”