I’m not aware of putting a “for sale” sign on my soul, but it seems that there are endless attempts to buy it.
Sports keeps trying to buy my soul. And far too often I slip from liking to watch my favorite teams to loving to watch them, to having my happiness determined by how well they do (or don’t do) in a particular game, to mixing up my identity in them.
Politics keeps trying to buy my soul. I have no love for either of the major parties in the United States, so that helps a lot, because party loyalists are bought people. But politics tries to buy my soul in other ways as well, framing the way I see the world and determining which issues get my attention and which get passed by. As long as politics sets the agenda, the kingdom of God doesn’t.
Money keeps trying to buy my soul. I have given up better paying jobs for the sake of work for the kingdom of God, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to the lure of money. Money keeps telling me it’s the path to freedom and control of my circumstances. It lies.
Happiness keeps trying to buy my soul. Yes, happiness is good, just as the other things trying to buy my soul are good when controlled and moderated by something bigger. But when happiness tells me to avoid hard but necessary conversations and to indulge in spiritually and physically unhealthy experiences, I hear its offer to buy my soul.
Education keeps trying to buy my soul. Education? Isn’t learning good? It is until it becomes an end to itself. It is until it gets in the way of obedience to God. It is until it puffs up the ego. It is until it becomes so clever it undermines real knowledge and wisdom through tricky argumentation.
Food and pleasure keep trying to buy my soul. Yeah. No need to say much there.
Parenting keeps trying to buy my soul. Yes, I love my kids. But too often they bend that love and I’m willing to have that love bent because I just want them to be happy. And there are times I put their feelings and my feelings for them over others, wanting others to fail so my kids can succeed.
I could go on.
But here’s the thing: My soul is not for sale. I’ve already been bought.
I’ve been bought. You’ve been bought. The question is: Who bought us? God? Or some other purchaser?
Paul wrote this two millennia ago: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
And Bob Dylan sang this several decades ago: You gotta serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody.
If I’ve been bought by our Lord, my life ought to look like it. It shouldn’t look like it’s still for sale.
I should know myself as wanted, as valued highly enough to be bought at a great price.
I should know the freedom that comes from the best kind of owner.
I should know the joy of living a life bought, redeemed to how it was intended to be in the first place.